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Doug Clark: ‘Face of Spokane’ needs tattoo makeover


I’ve never been so municipally mortified.

With all the debate over gun control, I think it’s high time we also had a serious discussion about …

Tattoo control.

I give you Exhibit A: The mug shot of accused killer Brandon Mellon that appeared on The Spokesman-Review’s website Tuesday and is on page A6 today.

The arrogant smirk on this 10-time felon’s face is disturbing.

But the seven letters tattooed across the 26-year-old’s forehead could make a Chamber of Commerce official take a header off the Lincoln Building.


Oh, the calamity.

Is this the Face of Spokane for the 40th anniversary of Expo ’74?

I wouldn’t be surprised.

The Chinese calendar says this is the Year of the Horse.

The way 2014’s been going, it’s pretty obvious which end of the nag we’re staring at.

The year’s barely a week old. Already geologists have tried to frighten us half to death by claiming there’s an earthquake-producing fault running somewhere around the White Elephant or Al’s Spa-Tub Motel.

Now comes Mellonhead.

Need I remind you of the twisted nature of the world in which we live?

It’s only a matter of days before some quick-buck artist runs off a batch of T-shirts featuring this mook’s mug and starts selling them for $19.95 at the area’s malls.

And as an added insult, I probably won’t even get a cut for coming up with the scheme.

Remember what happened back in the late 1960s?

Of course you don’t. You’d have to be as old as I am to remember when cult leader Charlie Manson and his swastika-marred forehead glared out from the front pages of every newspaper and magazine.

Next thing you know, Manson-face T-shirts started popping up everywhere.

Think I’m kidding?

I’m already hearing about the marketing potential of Mellon the felon.

“I don’t know if you could find a better poster boy for the next edition of Visit Spokane’s brochure,” wrote a reader who, for the sake of his job security, I will identify only as Christopher.

“With that smile and great ‘Spokane’ tattoo emblazoned across his forehead, there would be no mistake what city this gentleman is representing at various tourist-oriented conferences across the U.S.”

Everyone’s a comedian.

Look, I know what the law says. It says suspects are innocent until proved guilty.

So it’ll take a jury or a plea or whatever to determine if, as police contend, Mellon shot and killed a man in a Spokane apartment on Jan. 3.

After that, the story goes, Mellon fled to Pasco in a stolen car, where cops say he shot himself in the leg before being nabbed.

Honestly. We really do need to develop a better class of criminal.

In a perfect world – meaning a world where I’m in charge – we’d simply forgo the jurisprudence and lock this loser up for life based on his tattoo.

After that, I would direct the Legislature to pass a law making sure such a civic slur never happens again.

A mandatory 10-day tattoo waiting period, perhaps.

That would give enough time to run a background check on the IQ and moral character of anyone wanting to ink the name of one of our fine Washington cities on his or her forehead, cheeks or tramp-stamp upper derriere.

Tacoma excluded, of course.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or

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