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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane Mayor Nelson S. Pratt ripped off the gloves and started whaling on his critics, calling them “dirty slanderers,” “gray wolves” and “the bad element.”

“Character assassins have been careless in branding each Spokane city official as a robber and a thief,” said Pratt.

He was responding to charges of graft and corruption among city officials.

Pratt said it was time for critics in “the newspapers and the lawless element” to, essentially, put up or shut up. He said he would welcome a grand jury investigation, in which the critics would “have to prove their statements or be discredited.”

Who were these critics?

Pratt said “the dissatisfied liquor and gambling interests” were behind a lot of the sniping. He said they were upset because they were no longer getting “the favors that they received in the past.” He said he had cleaned the city up and it “will not go backward.”

Other critics included “selfish contractors who are not getting the public boodle.”

“They want the good old times when they could get lots of money and no one objected if their pavements fell to pieces as soon as they were completed,” said the irate mayor.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1933: Prohibition came to an end with the repeal of the 18th Amendment.