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Doug Clark: Mayor’s budget proposal not quite ready to pitch

So I’m wandering about downtown the other night when this small weird holy man sidles up and hands me a religious tract.

Then I look again and realize that, hey, this is no small weird holy man, it’s David Condon, mayor of Spokane.

And that’s no religious tract, either. What he’s handed me is a pamphlet adorned with colorful photos of Spokane and Hoopfest on the cover, along with the title:

“2015, Program Budget Proposal, Mayor David Condon, City of Spokane …”

For a second I’m thinking, “Why does the mayor want me to have his budget brochure?”

Then it dawns on me. We’ve been a lot more buddy-buddy ever since I emceed a roast in his honor a while back.

So I finally figure it out. (Duh!) The mayor wants me to examine this and then offer my advice on how he can make it better.

The poor guy’s just too shy to ask.

Well, I’m always willing to help. So today I’ll highlight the mayor’s big budget scam, I mean plan, and offer a few suggestions on how Condon can sell this to the stalwart rubes of Spokane.

Title

The title of his handout is about as attractive as Joan Rivers without all the mortician’s makeup piled on.

“2015, Program Budget Proposal, Mayor David …?”

How boring.

The title should tell people exactly what the mayor wants to accomplish with these expensive-looking full-color brochures, which is obviously …

2015 – Re-elect David Condon for Mayor of Spokane.

This is the only thing Condon thinks about. Everybody knows he wants to be the first two-term mayor since Bing Crosby ordered his first toupee.

Inside pages

The top headline states that Condon’s 2015 budget is “An investment in a safer, stronger, smarter Spokane.”

But right under that another headline says:

“Vision 2020 – Building a Safer, Stronger, Smarter Spokane.”

So what is it, 2015 or 2020?

I’m confused and I know a lot of people who are a whole lot dumber than I.

Or is it dumber than me?

I went to school here so I get mixed up a lot.

Anyway, no matter what year the mayor’s looking forward to, I don’t think taxpayers would rank “safer, stronger or smarter” at the top of their municipal wish list.

I’ve asked a lot of folks what they want for Spokane and the response is always the same.

“Fix the (#$%&)ing STREETS!!!”

Everybody knows it won’t happen, of course.

Spokane without potholes is one of those tall tales that are told late at night around campfires, like Bigfoot or the completion of the north-south freeway.

Still, we Spokanites love voting for anyone who promises to get the job done. In that respect, the mayor would be wise to replace all that vision hooey with …

“A Vote for Condon is a Vote for Smoother Streets.”

That’s the ticket.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a safer Spokane as long it includes a mandatory death sentence for whoever stole the four new tires out of my garage last month.

Really. A syphilitic pox on the weasel.

Rumor has it, by the way, that the mayor plans to put a new police substation in Hillyard, which is actually a worthy idea as long as it comes with a taproom.

Back pages

This space is devoted to what a college professor of mine called a restatement of themes.

Here we see that a Safer Spokane, a Stronger Spokane and a Smarter Spokane are Condon priorities 1, 2 & 3.

I’d bet a paycheck that the mayor came up with this alliterative approach while sitting in some City Hall meeting room surrounded by his sycophant staffers.

MAYOR: “I know. Let’s go with S’s.”

STAFFERS: (all together) “Brilliant, Mayor!”

MAYOR: “Like Safer and Smarter.”

STAFFERS: “Sexier?”

MAYOR: “No. No. We can’t inject sex into my Spokane budget. That was the West administration.”

STAFFERS: “You are the greatest, Mayor!”

Had Condon consulted with me I’d have had him base his budget-minded homiletics around “H” words.

That way he could use “higher” to go along with all the new legal weed shops and more “hookers” to accommodate the expanding convention district.

This town could also use a lot more “humor,” too.

If I were mayor, I’d devote a considerable chunk of the budget to hiring standup comics to police the parking meters.

CITIZEN (out of breath from running): “No. Gasp. Don’t write me a ticket. I’m barely late. Besides, I don’t have the dough for another parking ticket.”

METER COP: “So this horse trots into City Hall. And Council President Ben Stuckart says, ‘Hey, why the long face?’ ”

CITIZEN (laughing): “Oh. That’s hilarious. Go ahead. Write me up. There’s just too much fun going on in Spokane to waste time on getting mad.”

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


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