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Odd time for sensitivity, great time for poetry

Tue., Nov. 15, 2011

To recap some of the fallout from last week’s election …

We bumped off a mayor, saw a police chief bite the dust, and heads rolled in the weird world of Spokane City Council politics.

Christmas has come early to the Clark column.

Oh, I almost forgot.

As an unexpected gift, it appears outgoing council President Joe Shogan has lost his flippin’ mind.

Or at least his short-term memory.

He seems to have completely forgotten that moment back in 2009 when he became so angry with his fellow council members that he vowed to return from vacation and …

“To quote Wyatt Earp, ‘I’m bringing hell.’ ”

That’s right. The council president evoked the metaphoric Wild West image of a gunfighter vowing violence.

Who then is this new word-parsing wimp in Shogan clothing?

I’m referring to his apoplexy over the “reprehensible, repugnant and cowardly” language that a Republican official used to justify a $25,000 GOP campaign donation to David Condon, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner’s opponent.

The arcane details aren’t worth rehashing.

It’s all inside baseball only a wonk would relish.

What I find so highly amusing (did I mean hypocritical?) is Shogan’s theatrical outrage regarding the Republican’s desire to “take her out.”

The “her” being Mayor Verner, of course.

Huffed Shogan: “I and Mr. David Condon know the meaning of the last definition of taking somebody out ’cause I’ve been in combat and I know that meaning …”


Oh, Joe. Say it ain’t so.

I’ve always sat on the Shogan side of the field.

Sure, sometimes he’s rude. And maybe he lets his emotions get the best of him now and then.

But up until this moment, the Shogan crankiness has been the only bit of spice in our bland tapioca of a council.

So what’s going on?

Have we finally reached the point where even Shogan won’t tolerate a loaded word lest it offend somebody’s fragile sense of semantics?

Or is this just Joe being a transparent phony?

Politics is a plain-spoken, rough-and-rumble business.

You can “target” and “bump off” an opponent without actually being Tony Soprano.

Sometimes “heads will roll.”

Doesn’t mean you have access to a guillotine.

This politically correct Shogan is a total bore.

I liked that hell bringer so much more.

As long as we’re being poetic, Tom Keefe has penned some clever verse about the curse that limits Spokane mayors to a single term.

You could say that Keefe is an agent of that curse since the former Spokane County Democratic chairman flipped sides and endorsed Condon in the recent election.

It was all about the mayor’s mishandling of the case of Otto Zehm, who died in 2006 after a violent encounter with Spokane police.

Keefe had the guts to put principle over party and I applaud him for that.

What could be worse

than a town’s Gypsy Curse?

Since the days of Ron Bair

one term for each mayor!

Now it’s happened once


we showed her the door

Let’s give old Doug Clark

his cherished trademark!

Politicians beware

you shouldn’t go there

Whether leader or lout

one term and you’re out!

Bravo, Tom! You can’t say it better than that.

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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