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Young mayor needs a town

By
BARBARA CANETTI

CRABB, Texas -- Being mayor is just a part-time job for Brian Zimmerman now, but when school lets out for the summer he plans to devote more time to the task.

Zimmerman, an 11-year-old junior high school student and probably the nation's youngest mayor, said he takes his job seriously by representing the wishes of the 75 residents of Crabb.

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Presently, the seventh grader devotes two to three hours a day to his elected post -- unless he has a baseball game, he says.

The main goal of Zimmerman's administration is to get his town incorporated by the state so that when the next election is held in the little community south of Houston in 1985, it will be recognized.

He was elected by secret ballot several months ago, but he considers his status as that of the community's leader.

'I was interested in being mayor because the work around here needed to be done, and no one could ever get the organization to do it,' he said. 'No one could decide who should make decisions or lead the community. I thought I would be a good leader.'

Last October's election was called by citizens at the local general store. Two adults, James Sparks and Bill Peterson, and the young Zimmerman said they would run and the three campaigned for a week.

A ballot box was set up at Gonya's Grocery and 30 votes were cast.

'I got 23 of them. You can say I pretty well swept it up,' Zimmerman said.

His first official action was to get a volunteer to donate time and a tractor to grade a dirt road that runs through the middle of Crabb. 'I had the street fixed and will have it fixed again every two months,' he said.

He said he also helps some handicapped people in his area and 'patrols' the roads in his go-cart, asking people to slow down and not drive so fast.

His great-great-grandfather once had a general store in the center of Crabb, where the young mayor lives with his father, Calvin, and mother, Marsha.

In the early 1900s, residents abolished the post of mayor 'because they couldn't stabilize the elections,' he said.'

Calvin Zimmerman said he is proud of his 'level headed and talented' son.

'We turned him loose and don't dictate to him. We let him be his own individual. He can make up his own mind a lot easier that way,' Zimmerman said.

Brian has not appointed any of his friends or neighbors to positions because there are no city jobs, and he has yet to hold any meetings. 'We don't have a meeting hall,' he said.

Brian's politicial aspirations run high and he said he hopes to be re-elected next year.

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