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Clark: Idling minds run a bit rich on track tribute

Thanks to some of my diabolical readers, the raceway monument to our con-men commissioners is right on track.

If you recall, I sounded the alarm last week for assistance in creating some sort of fitting tribute to commemorate the role Todd Mielke and Mark Richard played in the Spokane County Raceway fiasco.

It only seems right that these Republican bandits should be remembered long after they leave office for all they’ve done to us taxpayers.

You know, like wasting $4.3 million to buy the bankrupt track.

Or the gobs of boondoggle-improvement loot they chucked away.

Or the $850,000 to settle lawsuits created by the first boob that was hired to make the raceway an even bigger disaster than it already was.

I could go on and on.

Sure enough, a couple dozen readers offered their monumental ideas.

What I didn’t expect, however, was that one of them would actually build a prototype.

Then I came to work the other day and saw a package sitting on my chair. It wasn’t ticking or addressed to Cyndi Steele, so I said what the heck and tore it open.

Inside I discovered a yellow funnel mounted on a round red outdoor water faucet handle.

Jed Clampett’s margarita glass?


“What could better represent our commissioners’ spending of our money than a huge funnel that leads down the drain,” Darrell Rosenkranz explained in his accompanying letter.

Ah. Good one.

I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to see my readers devoting their time to my needs instead of trivial pursuits like reading to the blind, say, or helping the poor.

“That’s what happens when idle minds are too idle,” Rosenkranz quipped when I called to offer my congrats.

Here are a few more of my favorite Mielke/Richard tribute suggestions:

• “What better memorial to the boys than their sculpted heads poking out of the front window of the carcass of a Nash Rambler, Vega or Yugo placed near the gate of the park?” suggested Jock Swanstrom.

I vote Yugo. The quality of the Vega and Nash is far too high to represent our track-happy clowns.

• Herb Postlewait took the straightforward approach: Mielke and Richard with dunce caps.

That actually reminds me more of the five years I spent in high school.

• Mike LaScuola’s idea for a raceway memorial?

Drive “a huge screw” though a “dragster modified Edsel.”


• Steve Shirley wanted to commission a work from my old pal and former Spokesman-Review editorial cartoonist Milt Priggee.

“I see a political comic by Priggee of Richard and Mielke stuffed into a sports car with a bag of money blowing away as they speed down the track!”

Steve. You don’t have to spoon-feed any ideas to Priggee.

Just unleash the beast and yell, “Attack!”

Trust me. What Priggee will draw will be far more devastating than anything you’ll dream up.

Now I’m longing for the ol’ days.

• It’s funny how things turn out. But perhaps the most sensible suggestion came from the last person to leave a message on my voice mail.

A Mielke/Richard raceway tribute is “an awesome idea, man,” said the male caller who didn’t leave a name.

“You just got the wrong location.”

Whatever gets built should be located at the “entrance to the Airway Heights prison,” he urged.

“That’d be a better spot for the statue.”

You know, that’s damned thoughtful.

Now I’m certainly not suggesting that Mielke or Richard will ever become successful enough politicians to warrant hard time.

I don’t think they have it in them.

But if I were a county commissioner, I’d be honored to one day look out my cell window and see my legacy gazing right back at me.

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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