February 24, 2013 in City

Clark: Hey, Fagan, civility isn’t a part-time responsibility

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Advice for any elected official wanting to be taken seriously:

Try not to call the governor “a lying whore.”

I know. Seems like a no-brainer.

But such wisdom never reached the brain cells of Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan.

In a recent letter to raise money for his anti-tax crusades, Fagan and his conservative cronies dropped the “L.W.” bomb on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

To paraphrase their claptrap …

“Candidate Inslee repeatedly promised to” blah-blah-blah …

“He said no way to” blah-blah-blah …

“What a lying whore he turned out to be.”

You don’t have to write Miss Manners to know that a basic line of decency has been crossed here.

The invective is crass. It’s dumb.

Fagan has embarrassed Spokane, the city he was elected to represent.

And it gets worse. Fagan, when reached for comment, was stubbornly defending his idiocy with one of the loopiest arguments ever.

“While I would tend to agree that a statement like that shouldn’t come from a councilman, it didn’t,” reasoned Fagan.

“It came from the principals of a political action committee.”

Oh. Now I get it.

Mike Fagan isn’t like you or me.

He’s one of those characters you see in comic books, with super powers and a double identity.

At City Hall we have Councilman Mike – mild-mannered servant of the public.

But on the outside, he turns into …

Fathead Man – able to sling slurs at high places without remorse or sense of shame.

You know, just about every one of our city councils has had its resident kook, and it looks like Fagan is growing into that role.

A shame, really.

A year ago I credited Fagan as one of the council leaders who refused to go along with the mayor’s chicken-hearted plan to pay a $300,000 settlement to an ex-Spokane cop who was canned after his off-duty arrest for drunken driving and hit-and-run.

Was this the Fagan high-water mark?

Looks like it. Take this outburst of Faganomics that occurred last December.

The councilman slammed the public library system for providing “story time, genealogy programs and showing movies.”

Such madness, sayeth Fagan, was “one of the reasons why government in my mind has gotten out of control.”

Oh, yes. If there’s one thing causing the downfall of this by-gawd great nation, it’s library – gasp! – story time.

And now comes this “lying whore” episode.

Now, there’s nothing shocking or even untoward about calling out a political foe for deceit.

Every politician fibs, lies or stretches the truth like Silly Putty.

Falsehood is the mother’s milk of American politics.

Because of this, there are endless ways to legitimately ream a politician for dishonesty, real or imagined.

Call Inslee the Prevaricator in Chief if you want.

Nobody would care.

Given the governor’s gridiron past, you could always dub Inslee the poster boy for playing football sans helmet.

Gerald Ford absorbed that jab plenty during his C-minus presidency.

But “lying whore”?

The last john to speak those words on East Sprague had his spleen skewered by the business end of a stiletto heel.

True, Fagan is not alone in this.

The aforementioned letter was signed not just by Fagan but by Fagan’s father, Jack, and the notorious Tim “No Lack of Initiatives” Eyman.

This trio makes up the leadership of Voters Want More Choices, an organization dedicated to lowering taxes through voter initiatives.

Eyman and his gang have turned consternation into a cottage industry.

Fagan is an Eyman loyalist. I get that.

But Fagan is now an elected member of the Spokane City Council. He represents a political district populated by thousands of taxpaying citizens.

Whether he likes it or not, Fagan is obligated to hold himself to higher standards.

Not part of the time, Mike, all of the time.

Or at least he should.

By his mule-headed response, we may be in for a wild-eyed ride with Councilman Fagan.

That’s the problem with city government. We could take care of problems like this if we only had term limits.

And, no, I’m not talking about the namby-pamby rules already in place, where a City Council member must leave office after serving two consecutive four-year terms.

I propose a far quicker, more efficient system to deal with council kooks.

The Clark System would have a trap door installed under each and every council member’s chair. In the event of unbearable and repeated kookery, a button would be pushed and …

Th-th-th-that’s all, Mike.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 ordougc@spokesman.com.

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