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Clark: Let’s commission a monument to runaway spending

How about that Spokane County Raceway, huh?

Ho, hum. Another day. Another $850,000 blown out the ol’ exhaust pipe.

Just put it on our tab, commissioners. Just put it on our tab.

It’s always something, isn’t it?

This time we suckers – oops, I mean we taxpayers – get to settle a couple of lawsuits instigated by the first bozo the County Commission hired to mishandle their track.

Bucky Austin.

What an oil stain.

The Buckster, as you may recall, apparently stiffed a bunch of contractors on some of the unapproved work he ordered done out at the raceway.

So the commissioners have decided to make like Santa Claus and settle the suits. But don’t you worry. They say they intend to eventually squeeze the money out of Bucky.

Sure they will.

And I’m opening for Liza Minnelli.

It could take years to untangle that legal spider web, presuming it actually happens.

By then the two Republican lug nuts responsible for buying the $4.3 million boondoggle in 2008 will be as long gone as a couple of bank robbers speeding away in a supercharged getaway car.

And I think that’s unfair.

Every time we turn around the raceway park winds up costing us more and more money. Meanwhile, the new track operator is only guaranteeing less than $74 grand in annual income.

Let’s see. The way I figure it, we should be rolling in dough by …

Oh, about Stardate 2545.

So is it wrong to want to give Todd Mielke and Mark Richard the credit they deserve?

Not on your checkered flag.

Some of the Kool-Aid- drinking true believers accuse me of being anti-motorsports, but that’s not the case at all.

I’m not anti-motorsports. In fact, there’s nothing I love more than the thrill that comes every time I attempt to merge my ’67 Vista Cruiser onto the Maple Street Bridge during rush hour.

I just don’t think Spokane County taxpayers should have ever GOTTEN INTO THE RACING BUSINESS.

But what’s done is done. I’d like to take a different approach today. I want to stop complaining about Spokane Raceway Park and instead ask all of you out there to help me realize a dream.

And that is to commission a commissioner monument. I’m talking about something to recognize Mielke and Richard for generations and generations to come.

Hey, I’m just the idea man here. I’m not an artist.

That’s why I’d like to hear from some of you out there on what sort of monument it would be.

Off the top of my head I’m thinking a statue would be nice.

We could erect it at the entrance to the raceway park.

I can see it now: Life-size figures of Mielke and Richard, looking statesmanlike while clutching a stuffed bag of taxpayer cash with some stray $100 bills poking out the top.

Again, I’m just brainstorming.

So contact me via the information below.

In the end it doesn’t really matter what the Mielke/Richard Raceway Monument looks like, just as long as it’s chiseled out of marble or granite.

That’s because I can’t think of two more monumental chiselers.

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

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