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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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This Good Budnick Is A Tough Act To Follow

It’s no fair Steve Hasson hogs so many Budnick Awards year after year.

So exceptionally blunder prone is the Spokane County Commissioner that he outshines many other dim bulbs who deserve recognition.

Consider Hasson’s 1994 accomplishments:

He defended closing public swimming pools, saying they are just places for mothers to dump their kids.

He described Spokane as a cultural wasteland that is a great place to get away from.

He announced his candidacy for mayor of the Spokane Valley - just as soon as it is incorporated.

He blasted a Boy Scout who was painting environmental warning signs on storm drains.

Doesn’t such brilliance deserve something special?

One editor suggests renaming my annual dubious achievement awards “The Hassons,” but that won’t do.

The Budnicks began in 1987 in honor of Thomas P. Budnick. The Massachusetts man loves Spokane because the county Auditor’s office is the only public agency that will file his mining claims for the planet Mars.

Here’s a better idea. Let’s retire Hasson before the voters get another chance. Today, the commissioner becomes the first member of the Budnick Hall of Fame and out of the running for future awards.

And now, enjoy the rest of this year’s bozo bumper crop:

Andy’s got Hall of Fame potential

“You ought to just take them out and shoot them,” says newly elected Stevens County Commissioner J.D. “Andy” Anderson of people with mental or drug problems.

This collision smacks of collusion

Because of police policy, Spokane Mayor Jack Geraghty isn’t ticketed at the scene of a fender-bender even though a traffic cop thinks the mayor ran a red light. “I don’t know of any policy like that,” City Manager Roger Crum says later.

Get the cuffs, Harv, I’ll frisk her

Five squad cars speed to a Spokane Jack in the Box restaurant to apprehend a naked woman.

They were trying to catch someone naked

Before dawn, nine Spokane police officers raid the hotel rooms of a CBS camera crew to seize a videotape of squabbling Gypsies. “Is it just the full moon or is it time that some reins get jerked back?” wonders City Councilman Chris Anderson.

The public only has the right to pay

Hanford officials won’t reveal the salaries of tax-paid nuclear workers. “The public has no right to know,” says Ronald Lerch, assistant to the company president. “It’s a very private issue.”

Roll over and play stupid, rich boy

FBI agents arrest Clarence “Cip” Paulsen III, 35-year-old son of one of Spokane’s wealthiest families, as leader of a drug ring that dispensed more than 200 pounds of cocaine a year. “Cocaine makes people do things that dogs wouldn’t do,” Paulsen laments from jail.

Sounds more like spirits were involved

Anthony Cruz blames an Indian spirit for making 911 and long-distance telephone calls from Cruz’s Post Falls home.

Another outsider sells us short

Hungarian artist Ildiko Kalapacs says her huge outdoor mural of dancing nudes could have been a lot more shocking. “When I put this together, the male genitalia was much larger. I said, ‘Wait! Not in Spokane.”’

Hey Cip, get back in your cell

Colville Sheriff’s deputies are baffled after $2,000 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine disappear from an evidence locker. “It’s a difficult thing to suspect people that you’ve placed trust in,” says Sheriff Dean Westerman.

Wake up and smell the Michelob, Don

Donald Ring receives his fifth drunken driving citation when he drives his pickup to Washington State Patrol headquarters for inspection. “It’s true that drinking affects your judgment,” says Sgt. Chris Powell.

Just what the dead need: a deadbeat

Larry Wendel’s quest to be Spokane County Coroner suffers a setback when it is learned the candidate owes $10,496 in delinquent property taxes. “That was some crazy deal,” explains Wendel, when asked about a 1974 bankruptcy.

Ever thought of running for coroner?

John Titchenal’s quest to be a Washington legislator suffers a setback when it is learned the candidate has a trail of bad debts and two bankruptcies. “I’ve been in a few tight spots,” explains Titchenal.

The rich can be such udder fools

The NBC “Today” show arrives in Spokane to film local landmarks and millionaire developer Don Barbieri wearing a cow suit.

He sounds qualified to run for coroner

Spokane detectives charge John L. Thomas with 18 counts of theft after he allegedly writes 121 bum checks for a total of $17,271.21. Police say Thomas bought pool cues, tires, car parts and anything else that struck his fancy.

Aw, whataya want for 50 cents?

After one of WSU’s biggest football victories, The Spokesman-Review identifies a photograph of Husky coach Jim Lambright as Cougar coach Mike Price. In another issue, a tasty chicken recipe is headlined, “Honey Fried Children.” The newspaper editorial board endorses Tom Foley.

The Frito Bandito Gang rides again

A trail of beer cans and empty beef jerky wrappers lead police to eight people suspected of robbing a North Spokane convenience store.

What’s a life compared to dollars?

Loomis Armored car driver Kevin Gardner is fired after helping rescue a woman being attacked by a knife-wielding bank robber. Loomis officials say Gardner should have stayed in the truck protecting the money.

This boy’s the butt of his own joke

Jason Wilkins, 18, drops his pants to moon some friends and crashes through a third-story window of a University of Idaho dorm. The freshman hires a lawyer who demands the school pay Wilkins $940,000 for negligence.

Just get me the hell out of Kellogg

An 8-year-old Kellogg boy steals his father’s car keys and drives off in the family Pontiac. “He said he was going to South Dakota to visit his cousins,” says the police officer who stopped the kid.

Look, Maude, the morons are marching!

Racist leader Richard Butler announces plans to stage a Nazi parade through downtown Coeur d’Alene. “We have a legal right to parade for our race,” says Butler.

Meet my kids, Smith and Wesson

Donald Perry, a Spokane transsexual, is arrested for being a felon in possession of 11 handguns, rifles, shotguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “The guns to me were like my family and my children,” explains Perry.

Only the best for these leeches

Washington lawmakers spend $669,000 on a new top-of-the-line telephone system shortly after raising $1 billion in taxes and fees to balance the state budget.

He’s a real blast on April Fools

Newport High principal Lou Musso Jr. takes early retirement and spends five days in jail for firing a starter’s pistol at the school counselor. He tells police it was just a joke.

The stars foresee a career change

A janitor is suspected of using Spokane County Courthouse telephones to place $3,850 worth of calls to 1-900 astrology and psychic talk lines. “There wasn’t a whole lot of time spent on anything except calling,” says a county auditor.

What a load of cornbread

The state claims Cassk Thomas owes $199,000 for 11 years worth of the disability checks he collected while running the notorious Sam’s Pit roadhouse and barbecue. “I don’t even mow my own grass,” says Thomas. “I wasn’t doing no work.”

Way to give a baby-killer a break, judge

Mark E. Burch gets to post bail and leave jail on appeal after serving less than six months of a 13-year sentence for murdering a Spokane toddler. His release is thanks to Judge Kathleen O’Connor, who says the $100,000 bail she set is “adequate for this case.”

I said, ‘get me out of heeeere!’

The same 8-year-old Kellogg boy takes the family car for another spin, this time nearly hitting a police car before he crashes into a fence.

Never, never go off half-cocked

A rookie Spokane police officer leaves his loaded gun in a Grant Elementary School bathroom. “It’s a good lesson for all of us,” says Police spokesman Robert Van Leuven, who wouldn’t name the rookie.

You’re No. 1 to a lot of us, Chief

Spokane Police Chief Terry Mangan stops and cusses out a young driver who gave him the finger.

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