December 28, 2006 in City

Doug Clark: Gregoire doles out pork in re-election down payment

Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review
 
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Background and the latest updates

Unlike my willpower and work ethic, the news did not lapse into hibernation during my holiday hiatus.

And so I return to find myself faced with a few observational catch-ups to perform.

Catch-up Item 1– Chris (the Washington governor formerly known as Christine) Gregoire proposes a nearly $30 billion budget with tens of millions pouring into Spokane.

Let me be the first to congratulate Gov. Gregoire for having the foresight to start buying her re-election early.

Most officeholders wait until the last second to start doling out the barrels of pork and bundles of graft.

But Gregoire is scarred by the memories of her recount-laden seesaw squeaker over Republican Dino Rossi.

Fortunately for Gregoire, the Democrats were able to muster just enough dead voters to clinch her victory.

Plus, it didn’t hurt at all that Rossi exudes the charisma of a Sears mannequin.

Gregoire can’t put herself through that kind of turmoil again. Now a savvy incumbent, she knows it is much easier to win an election via good-natured legal bribery.

But the bigger issue is not how much Spokane will cash in on the governor’s proposed spending spree. The bigger issue is …

Where the hell is my cut?

In all those tens of millions targeted for the Lilac City there’s not one dime earmarked for Doug.

Chris, sweetie, I’ll make it simple for you.

You want a positive column mention? That’ll cost you 50 bucks.

You want an entire rah-rah fluff piece? That’ll cost you a grand.

You want my late father to vote Gregoire?

Two words: Cabinet appointment.

Catch-up Item 2 – Spokane Deputy Police Chief Al Odenthal resigns after secret negotiations regarding his future (har!) with the department.

Question: What do we call the Odenthal ouster?

Answer: A good start.

Sorry. We’re not here to belittle Al’s long-festering tenure with the SPD. I want to celebrate the Odenthal law enforcement legacy like how he …

“Helped botch the firehouse sex scandal investigation.

“Helped cloud the details on Otto Zehm – the mentally ill and quite innocent janitor who died after a brutal encounter with officers in a Spokane convenience store.

“Helped hoodwink the media on so many occasions.

Oh, Al, don’t go away mad.

Just go away.

Odenthal’s a pro. He’ll land on his flat feet.

In fact, there’s apparently a huge need for officers of Al’s caliber in the exciting new world of providing warehouse store toilet security.

Which brings us to …

Catch-up Item 3 – A 59-year-old man drops and discharges his new .357-caliber handgun while pulling up his pants in a men’s room stall at the North Division Costco. Shoppers naturally flee for their lives at the sound of the gunshot. Fortunately for all, the bullet lodges safely in a wall.

This is hardly the first shopper who had to unload in a Costco crapper.

But I always thought something like this would happen in one of those long, crowded and tense free food sample lines.

I know. A few days before Christmas my lovely wife, Sherry, sent me to a Costco to buy bags of rolls. But as I maneuvered my cart into the meat department, I saw they were giving away toothpick-speared chunks of juicy lamb and prime rib at separate locations.

Oh, baby. Oh, baby.

I started to drool. Suddenly I grew hair and fangs. I transformed into one of those greed-driven Costco free food Wolf People.

Sure, I’m ashamed of my behavior. But I was helpless. This uncontrollable gluttonous force started guiding my shopping cart: Grab a piece of lamb. Grab of piece of prime. Grab a cracker with crab spread.

Repeat the process …

I feel lucky somebody didn’t pull a gun on me.

After about 327 revolutions I finally came to my senses. Thoroughly embarrassed, I hurried away from the meat department.

On a quest for free dessert.

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