December 6, 2011 in City

Voters just aren’t Tuckered out yet

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Far be it from me to ever stand in the way of Steve Tucker’s political demise.

As I’ve been harping for years, Spokane County’s prosecuting attorney is a punch line, not a prosecutor.

A TV journalist reported recently that Tucker was out of the country.

That’s not news.

That’s business as usual at the courthouse.

You’ve heard of leading by example?

Tucker leads by abstention.

Compared to Tucker, the Invisible Man is easier to spot than the Kermit balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Thanks. It always feels good to get a Tucker rant off my chest.

So you can see why it pains me to say that this sudden effort to recall Tucker from office is a misguided waste of time, energy and perspiration.

Shannon Sullivan, who led the 2005 ouster of Spokane Mayor Jim West, filed recall charges against Tucker last Friday.

She accuses the prosecutor of malfeasance and misfeasance and violating his oath of office.

She cites Tucker’s failure to prosecute corruption cases.

As in Karl Thompson’s beating by cop of Otto Zehm, who died two days later.

As in firefighter Daniel Ross, who took nudie snapshots of a 16-year-old girl in a Spokane firehouse.

Sorry to interrupt all the fun, Shannon, but you seem to have missed a rather salient detail.

We already held a recall against Tucker.

It was called the 2010 general election.

Tucker was up for re-election and voters knew – or should have known – all about the prosecutor’s cowardice concerning the above cases, both of which occurred in 2006.

They were old news.

As were complaints about Tucker’s absenteeism, his lack of office leadership and his passion for hitting golf balls over hitting law books.

I wasn’t the only one hollering about this.

These were all campaign talking points served up by Tucker’s various political opponents.

And yet …

The voters decided to let Tucker continue his sleepwalk at public expense.

Nobody was more disappointed or disgusted by the candidate’s invincibility than yours truly.

As I wrote at the time, “A post-apocalyptical image comes to me. The nuclear bombs have dropped. The landscape is scorched and cracked. Not a thing has been left alive except for cockroaches.

And Steve Tucker.”

But here’s the thing about democracy.

If voters want trash, they get trash.

It’s also true – as Sullivan has proven – that our system gives us the ability to recall an offensive official.

But this weapon should be reserved only for the most egregious examples of official misconduct.

As a pal suggested, the recall is “the silver bullet we use for putting down werewolves.”

You know, like the late Mayor Jim West.

Remember those dark days?

Spokane found itself represented by a middle-age mayor who was offering employment to young men he met online and wanted to bed.

This was a clear misuse of office.

But much to our civic humiliation, West liked being mayor and stubbornly refused to quit.

It took Sullivan, an ordinary woman with extraordinary moxie, to set the recall process in motion.

Sullivan had the right idea at precisely the right time.

Not this time.

In one of our news stories, Sullivan reportedly claims that Tucker has said that he won’t prosecute cops or public employees.

Interesting. But how does that explain the 2009 case against Jay Olsen, the off-duty SPD officer who got drunk and subsequently shot an unarmed civilian in the head?

Tucker’s office took Olsen to trial.

The outcome was depressingly awful in that Olsen prevailed, but the errant cop was prosecuted.

Nothing I know of suggests that “Triple-Bogie” Tucker has done anything egregious enough to warrant all the bother of a recall.

This is no skip through the park.

Recalling Tucker would take a judicial review and the signatures of 42,000 county voters who feel it’s worth putting on a ballot.

It’s not. If we start recalling every imbecile we’ve elected, no governing body would ever be able to muster a quorum.

The sad fact is that Spokane County had its chance to get rid of this boob.

And we blew it.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at dougc@spokesman.com.


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