Denver Mayor Michael Hancock insisted that his city's occupation name a leader in order "to deal with City and State officials." And he got his wish! Occupy Denver has elected Shelby, a border collie, as its leader. Long live Shelby!
Shelby, on whose noble visage you can gaze here, was elected in a "landslide vote" on Sunday night. One of Occupy Denver's organizers, Al Nesby, was inspired to nominate Shelby to the position after the director Michael Moore showed up one day and rubbed him the wrong way by refusing to follow general assembly rules; with Shelby, who's three and a half, the occupation should have no such problems. Her bodyguard and closest confidante is a filmmaker named Peter John Jentsch:
"Are you the new leader?" Peter John Jentsch quizzed her in a voice usually reserved for children. "Are you, girl? Are you?"
Her bodyguard, as the 27-year-old filmmaker prefers to be called, has accompanied her to Denver from their Boulder home every other day for a month now, and Shelby maintains a strict protest against leashes. ("She has yet to come by herself, so she's only as passionate as I am," Jentsch says.) The black-and-white dog walks freely and without prejudice throughout Civic Center Park unless a threat of police interaction relegates her to the car.
"She spent a few weeks getting to know everybody here, so when Al nominated her, everybody knew who she was and liked her," Jentsch says. "She's the youngest leader of a revolution in history and the first of any occupation so far, but she's smart, so people know she won't make any situations. We just have to make sure she doesn't get arrested."
Protesters have already made an official request for Shelby to meet with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.