McKinleyville’s horses should check their privilege

WHAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT? The non-city of McKinleyville’s iconic-ironic welcome sign. Adad Kryptokonkide | Union

Zelda Zamboni
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE, APRIL 1 – When a 6-year-old Apalloosa named Azalea won a federal lawsuit earlier this year demanding that the town live up to its motto “Where the horses have the right of way,” townsfolk cheered. The unincorporated community’s motto had gone from being words on a sign to an enforceable law.

But now, four months later, residents are questioning the wisdom of the legal decision. The problem, they say,  is that Azalea and her equestrian colleagues are abusing their right-of-way rights.

For example, just last week Azalea, along with her friends Trigger and Skip, decided to laze around on southbound Central Avenue near Hiller Road, blocking traffic, which backed up all the way to Murray Road. When the horses were asked to leave, they refused. “We have the right of way,” Azalea declared.

The weekend before, several other horses converged at the Hiller Sports Complex and took over a baseball diamond just before opening day for McKinleyville Little League. Coaches and players begged the horses to leave, but they refused. 

“We have the right of way,” the horses said.

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Business owners say they’ve also taken a hit since the court’s decision.

Subway Sandwich employee Elmer G. Breadfart said that Azalea routinely saunters into the store, places her head over the sneeze guard and grazes on the fresh spinach and grated carrots. Sometimes she opens the bread oven and gorges on gluten.

Residents are circulating a petition asking that the the horses be stripped of their right-of-way rights.

However, horses appear to have powerful allies in the swampy McKinleyville Deep State.

McKinleyville Community Services Director Dennis Mayo signaled his disinterest in limiting any equine liberties, describing their behavior as species-appropriate.

“A horse is a horse,” he opined from somewhere underneath his 25-gallon Walgreen’s cowboy hat. 

“Of course, of course,” conceded Director Mary Burke.




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