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Bosco, the Mayor of Sunol, California
Bosco was voted mayor of  Sunol, California when he received more votes than the two human candidates. Bartender Kathleen Anderson stands behind him. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
Bosco was voted mayor of Sunol, California when he received more votes than the two human candidates. Bartender Kathleen Anderson stands behind him. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS

Humans aren't the only ones who can become elected officials, at least in Sunol, California, a town of 828 residents, located just a little north of San Jose. In 1981, two residents signed up to run for the position of honorary mayor, which would allow them to represent Sunol's interests at Alameda County meetings. As the election drew near, the race grew increasingly bitter. Partly in jest, resident Brad Leber said his black Labrador retriever mix, Boss "Bosco" Ramos, would win the election if his (Bosco's) name appeared on the ballot [sources: Thomas, Sperling's Best Places, Smith].

People took Leber's words to heart and, since most of them knew and liked Bosco, wrote in Bosco's name on the ballot. Running as a "Re-pup-lican," Bosco won the election in a landslide, resulting in international news coverage. The China People's Daily cited the election as proof of the failure of American democracy. For the next 13 years, Mayor Bosco wandered the town during the day, often stopping in at the taverns for some food. When ill health caused him to be put down in 1994, the locals did not forget their unique elected official. They erected a bronze statue of the former mayor in front of the post office in 2008, where it still stands today. Also, the tavern Bosco's Bones & Brew opened in 1999 and features Bosco's Brew suds [source: Thomas].


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