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Burning dollars, not rubber

Wouldn’t it be great to have your own time machine and be able to prevent some of our biggest blunders from happening?

For example, I’d set my Wayback Machine to April 2008.

Then I’d travel back and lock Todd Mielke and Mark Richard in a Spokane County Courthouse broom closet.

Hopefully that would keep these county commissioner nincompoops from blowing $4.5 million on an IDIOTIC RACETRACK!!!

Hmm. Now what do we call that boondoggle out in Airway Heights?

Oh, yeah. I remember.

Spokane Wasteway Park.

You know, I’m still confounded at why these two twits got the county involved in the racing business.

They probably could have made more money investing in a chain of Saturn dealerships.

Do Mark and Todd own stock in a tire company?

If they wanted to invest in a dubious enterprise, they could have picked up the depleted editorial department of The Spokesman-Review for the price of a used Yugo.

What do Mielke and Richard know about racing besides bobbing in and out of traffic on Division and giving the finger to other drivers like all the rest of us?

This racetrack purchase has been a big steaming bowl of bad news.

The first setback happened not long after the sale. Environmental tests showed that Todd and Mark might have bought into a 315-acre hazardous waste site.

True, there is a side benefit. Racers no longer have to fill up the old-fashioned way. Just pour a little solvent-laced well water into the gas tank and –Vrrrooom!

The latest development made the front page Friday.

Commissioners gave the heave-ho to Bucky Austin and Co., whom they hired less than a year ago to run the park.

Some racing crowds turned up last summer, sure. But now we learn that there is reportedly more than a million owed in outstanding construction debt.

And get this: Commissioners say “the county’s insurance may be needed to pay contractors that performed work ordered by Austin Motorsports Management but never approved by the county,” our story reported.

Gentlemen, start your tort claims.

Far be it from me to be the sort of guy who would gloat, but …

Told ya so!

I pegged this raceway rip-off as a flaming fiasco from the beginning. That got me a flood of angry calls and e-mails from local motorheads.

For the record, I’m not against racetracks or auto sports.

I just know the truth about government. It’ll screw up just about everything it gets its hands on.

But now we’re stuck.

And Mielke, according to our news coverage, is trolling for a new stooge to run the wastetrack in 2010.

This time, however, he vowed in our story that the commission would keep a “closer watchful eye” on Bucky’s replacement.

A closer watchful eye?

Fasten your seat belts, taxpayers. This ride is heading into a brick wall.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or at


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