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Doug Clark: City candidates should tackle problems they can solve

Here we are in the full intestinal distress of yet another campaign season.

On Aug. 16, the primary votes will be counted and the politicians most likely to disappoint us will continue on to an even higher level of falsehood.

Wish I could be more enthusiastic, but it gets really tiresome hearing the same old thing ad nauseam.

And by that I mean mayor and City Council candidates never addressing the issues we care about.

Oh, sure. They speechify and pontificate plenty.

But it’s always about subjects that they can’t do anything about.

You know, like global warming and world peace or restoring civility to the Spokane Council Chambers.

Dream on.

Just once I’d like to see our candidates take aim at grass-roots-level problems that are within their scope of authority.

Today I’ll list a few of the issues that, if corrected, would make life a whole lot saner for average taxpaying malcontents like you and me.

ISSUE ONE – No more drive-thru sales spiels.

Remember the good old days? A couple of years ago, I mean.

Back then you could pull your car into a Starbucks, say, and order your six-shot frabba-jabba through the speaker box.

And that was that.

Then something sinister began to happen. The fast-food intercom sales staff started turning into aggressive Amway capitalists.

Now the consumer can’t get a word in without first being bombarded about the latest hot deal of the day.

Customer: “I’d like a …”

Intercom: “Would you like to try our delicious triple-caffeinated oatmeal? Plus we’ll toss in a few microscopic raisin bits that wouldn’t satisfy a gerbil. So do you want one?

“Do you? Well, DO YOU?!?”

Customer (sobbing): “Oh, gawd. I don’t know. I’m so confused.”

McDonald’s has joined the sales pitch parade, too.

The other day I pulled in for a pre-dinner McFlurry (Oreo).

Before placing my order, the faceless speaker voice tried to sell me on a mango/pineapple time-share condo on Kauai.

ISSUE TWO – Fight panhandler illiteracy.

Sadly, the first impression of Spokane for many visitors is a shabby guy or gal standing by a freeway off-ramp, bumming for change.

Far too often the cardboard sign being held is a grammatical civic disgrace.

Over the years I recall examples, like …

“Will werk 4 food.”

“Vetran need help.”

“Outta gas n pregnut.”

People. This reflects so badly on the Lilac Wonderland we call home.

I’m ready to support any leader who will confront our problems of homelessness and poverty by equipping the indigent population with signage that won’t embarrass the rest of us.

Heck, we already have quality sign-making capabilities through the street department.

With minimal expense and effort, our roadside panhandlers could reclaim their dignity by holding properly spelled and professionally painted placards, like …

“Money talks; I’m a good listener!”

Or, “I’m so broke I crash weddings for the rice.”

ISSUE THREE – Pass the Mascot Limitation Act.

A strange thing is going on at the Spokane Indians ballpark.

I attended a game over the weekend to find that the team has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different mascot entities.

They are …

Otto – a horn-nosed blue weirdo that has been with the team for years.

Recycle Man – the only caped superhero I’ve ever seen with a mullet.

Super Otto – a larger, rubberized and weirder cousin of Otto.

Doris the Spokanasaurus – a blue reptilian creature with a skirt.

Now I had a wonderful time at the game. The ballpark looks immaculate. The staff is polite and professional.

The post-game fireworks were not only spectacular but sponsored by The Spokesman-Review.

Hmm. So that’s where my pension went.

Still, the questions remain.

Does a minor league baseball team need this many critters?

Are the Indians planning to one day replace the players with an all-mascot team?

I say one mascot per team is plenty. Any more than that just gets confusing.

Besides, Spokane already has a squad of squirrelly fuzzy-headed goofballs.

It’s called the City Council.

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

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