Arrow-right Camera


Jail sell might go over better if commissioners tap The Truth

Thu., May 6, 2010, midnight

So I’m reading the newspaper and I pause when I see what those geniuses on the Spokane County Commission have been up to lately.

All three voted Tuesday to give a public relations firm $62K to “craft” a message designed to sell us dopey voters on building a new jail and upping the sales tax to pay for running it.

Now I get real nervous whenever politicians feel the need to hire PR firms. Man, I hear that and I just instinctively bend over and grab my ankles.

Everybody knows what a PR campaign is. It’s a big batch of (#$%&!!) whipped up by suit-clad hucksters who then toss handfuls of it onto walls in hopes something will stick.

So my goal today is to persuade Commissioners Mark Richard, Todd Mielke and Bonnie Mager to reconsider this nonsense.

You don’t need to give $62,000 of our money to a public relations firm.

Not when you have me, for free.

I am more than happy to “craft” that message for you. And I believe I’ve come up with one winner of a spiel.

I call it …

The Truth.

I know. I know. This sounds like an alien concept to politicians.

But trust me on this. The Truth is really going to resonate with the voters.

The following is a message from your Spokane County Commission:

We don’t know what the hell we’re doing on this jail thing.

We’ve held lots of meetings. We’ve talked and talked. We took some jail tours …

But we’re still fumbling in the dark.

We’re like three blind mice tapping their white canes down Doomsday Hill.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

OK. We know we need a new jail, probably. And we know it’s going to be expensive, maybe.

After that, things get sort of, well, fuzzy.

Maybe we should just put up a bunch of tents inside a fence like that sheriff down in Arizona.

But quite frankly, we’d rather build a jail with more creature comforts in the event one or all of us wind up doing time for larceny.

Anyway, the point is that spending your money is what we do best.

That’s why you shouldn’t trust us.

After all, we didn’t get on the County Commission because of merit. We’re here thanks to partisan popularity contests.

If you hired county commissioners the way big corporations hire executives, well, let’s be honest.

Not one of us would get called to a first interview.

We don’t have the qualifications to manage an IHOP, let alone a big county.

You think some exec with a fancy business degree would have bought that racetrack in Airway Heights on a whim the way two of us did? (You know which two.)

You think a high-level CEO would have helped get rid of the county’s top public health professional because he didn’t like her casual “California” attire?

Of course not.

Unfortunately, however, you’re stuck with us. Until the next popularity contest, that is.

Until then, it’s up to you – the taxpaying, voting public – to beware.

If we say up, it’s probably down.

I’m glad we had this chat. And that’s The Truth from your Spokane County Commission.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

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

There are five comments on this story »