Friday, May 13, 2011

"Baby, I was born this way"

Last week I had the privilege of being asked to profile Encinitas councilwoman and former mayor, Maggie Houlihan for The Coast News.

I remember meeting Maggie around 1990 at the Olivenhain Meeting Hall for a small gathering of people concerned about the high euthanasia rate at county shelters brought on by pet overpopulation. That meeting was part of Maggie's effort to establish what is now known as SNAP (Spay Neuter Action Project). A few years later she founded Wee Companions, another rescue group for hamsters, guinea pigs and rats. Maggie has also been very active in the House Rabbit Society and turtle rescue. In fact, when she won a libel suit against a political opponent who posted a sign reading "Houlihan is a whore" along Interstate 5 during the 2006 election, she used her $6,000 judgment (after paying the attorneys) for a new enclosure for rescued turtles who live on her property. She told me, "I couldn't in good conscience spend the money on myself."

What some people may not know is that Maggie has fought just as valiantly for the disabled, seniors and other underserved members of our community. I remember during our interview her explaining: "I grew up always sensitive to suffering and injustice. I didn’t like eating meat or people making fun of kids in class who were heavy.”

While Maggie battles endometrial cancer, she continues to fight the good fight by inspiring young people to get involved in politics through lectures she gives on local government at San Dieguito Academy and MiraCosta College.

Maggie is one of those rare and beautiful people you meet in life who marches to her own drum, inspiring others to follow their hearts and minds to also do the right thing. As the expression goes, "When God made Maggie Houlihan, He broke the mold."

1 comment:

  1. I had the pleasure of knowning dear Maggie for years. The first time I came to her house I almost stepped on that iguana. She hadn't warned me so it was quite a shock. Maggie's zoo is wonderful as is she.

    Paul Harris
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas