September 14, 2008 in City

Sometimes, protesting is just whining

By The Spokesman-Review

Far be it from me to start siding with any weasels who want to erect more condos in this burg.

(Frankly, Spokane needs more condominiums like it needs more potholes.)

But the petulant protest that Jim Mahoney has been making headlines with lately has me rooting for the developers.

The South Hill resident has his knickers in a knot over an upscale, four-story condo being built across the street from his home.


The building blocks his view of Spokane’s landmark St. John’s Cathedral.

Allow me to articulate Mahoney’s position:

“Waaaaaaah …”

You’d think a grownup would be able to rise above such inconvenience.

Not this guy. He decided to teach the big bad builders a lesson by turning his front yard at 1220 S. Division into a scene that could have crawled out of the mind of a hallucinating glue huffer.

I drove down South Division Friday morning to get a gander at Mahoney’s Theater of the Weird.

A pregnant mannequin, her bare belly poking out at me, was the first thing to catch my eye.

Another mannequin was perched on top of a truck, supposedly spying on the high-priced condos through a telescope.

What a cluttered mess. Mahoney, 56, has filled his front yard with a stuffed dog, miscellaneous junk, crudely written signs, gauzy fabric and more mannequins.

Mahoney told a reporter for The Spokesman-Review that he was “looking for blight for blight.”

In reality, all Mahoney has done is expose himself as thin-skinned and self-centered.

There are plenty of important issues in life worth protesting, like the Iraq war, the high cost of gasoline or the shoddy health care system.

If you want to “think globally and act locally,” you could always protest the lack of justice for Otto Zehm, the mentally impaired man who died after a violent and unnecessary encounter with Spokane cops.

But to throw a tantrum over a spoiled view?

That’s not a protest. That’s just pettiness.

The emotion Mahoney has stirred up in me is sympathy for his neighbors.

I can’t imagine having to look at his nonsense day after day.

Earlier in the week, a Spokane County District Court commissioner ruled that Mahoney could continue his antics so long as he didn’t specifically target a Realtor via signs or phone calls.

The Realtor, Marianne Guenther, and the developer, Jeremy Tangen, had tried to get the system to shut down the Mahoney Show.

The court made the correct call.

This is America. A citizen has the freedom to be an ass.

But enough is enough. It’s time for Mahoney to dismantle the freak show and come to his senses.

(I’m sure he won’t mind me butting in. After all, we’re both into free expression.)

To help him out, I’ve come up with the following five-step plan:

Snap photograph of St. John’s Cathedral.

Get photograph blown up.

Tape photograph to living room window, facing inward.

Grow up.

Get a life.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email