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Doug Clark: Shogan clears his throat for charity, again

Say what you will about City Council President Joe Shogan.

He’s a bit too opinionated, perhaps. He doesn’t suffer fools well and can be a bit quick to pop his cork.

But I’ll tell you what, my friends. Guy’s got stones.

Want proof? Shogan has agreed to sing again at Spokane Street Music Week, which takes place on the downtown sidewalks during the noon hours of June 13-17.

The clock is ticking but there’s still time to get involved.

( More on that in a moment.)

Shogan’s return to my annual food bank fundraiser may not sound like the red badge of courage.

Unless, of course, you were there last year to experience the council president’s rendition of that timeless Animals classic, “House of the Rising Sun.”

Frankly, I’ve never heard that key before.

I paid Shogan a surprise visit at City Hall on Friday. After some thoughtful debate, I successfully steered him away from performing a song out of the Fabulous Wailers catalogue.

I will instead accompany him on Neil Young’s iconic “Heart of Gold.”

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the Wailers. They were, after all, the first Northwest garage band to release a “Louie, Louie” recording.

But the Wailers came from Tacoma, and no self-respecting Spokane official should pay homage to Washington’s third-rate, I mean, third-largest city.

It just sends the wrong message.

Whatever he sings, however, this could be the gutsiest comeback since Elvis ’68.

Mayor Mary Verner has been a crowd favorite at the event, too.

This being an election year, Verner is attempting to become Spokane’s first two-term mayor since the Ice Age.

I suggest she give “I’m a Believer” a try, but not listening to me has been one of the hallmarks of the mayor’s administration.

Come to think of it, I could probably say that about all the mayors I’ve dealt with.

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when and where the celebrities will be appearing.

Hard to believe this is our ninth annual event.

It all began with just yours truly wandering around the business core with guitar in hand.

The next year I opened it up to any dreamer who wanted to join me. Now some 150-plus performers take part.

Here’s the reason why: Every penny dropped into our red collection buckets goes directly to the Second Harvest food bank to help feed the area’s hungry.

I haven’t checked lately, but we should be pressing the $25,000 donation mark.

Not a bad chunk of change considering every dollar donated can buy 6 pounds of food.

(Make an online contribution and find out more about it at

Here’s even more good news.

It’s not too late to be a part of the fun. Just contact me via the information below.

Remember that Spokane Street Music Week has never been about your ability level or what sort of instrument you play.

Heck. You don’t even have to play an instrument.

Dancers, artists and even magicians have participated.

I’m looking forward to another great event.

First, however, I will attend Monday’s City Council meeting to receive another mayoral proclamation endorsing Street Music Week.

Oh, well. You know what they say about Spokane council meetings.

There’s no business like Shogan business!

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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