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Pothole At City Hall

Sat., March 28, 1998

John Talbott, mayor of Spokane, wants a car. A car paid for by taxpayers, even though he once criticized government spending on such things as cars.

We took Talbott’s request for a car as a positive sign. Maybe he realizes things look different once you are on the “inside.” No matter how much Talbott tries to behave as the outsider, he’s working from the inside now. He’s the mayor. He needs the car.

We were optimistic, too, that the taxpayer-supported car would become the symbol of Talbott compromising on other issues now that he’s an inside man.

The optimism, however, was tempered by some recent actions. The same week Talbott requested the taxpayer-supported car, he announced he might hire his own “outside” attorney to advise him on city issues. Not a great sign that he’s listening, adjusting or even trying to get along with other council members. Every week, a new internal squabble seems to surface.

It reminds us, with foreboding, of how Spokane County commissioners broke into factions a few years ago. The feuds and pettiness plunged county workers into the pits. Employees called the media almost every day back then with stories of ridiculous actions and debilitating morale.

It took two new commissioners, and lots of precious time, for the county to get back its equilibrium. Council members should heed the important lesson.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

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