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Doug Clark: Sticking it to Tacoma chases blues

Spokane has been officially reaffirmed as Washington’s second-largest city, once again snuffing our nemesis Tacoma like a cigarette butt under a biker’s boot heel.

The numbers were unveiled last week by the state Office of Financial Management.

(Considering what fiscal ruin the state is in, I believe that sentence should read: Office of Financial Mis-Management.)

Seattle is still Numero Uno, of course, with a population of 602,000.

Or 602,500 if you count the downtown sidewalk urinators.

Spokane’s population came in at 205,673, with Tacoma nipping at our demographics with 203,400 residents.

I realize our 2,273-person lead is not just slim, it’s anorexic. Heck, Barbara Lampert somehow hypnotized four times that many people into voting for her in the last election.

But we’ve been awash in depressing news lately. Being able to crow about the ol’ hometown is a great way to chase away the blues.

So on Friday I purchased a sympathy card and wrote the following condolence message inside it:

“Dear Tacoma. Eat my Dust! Respectfully yours, Spokane.”

This week I’ll mail the card to the Tacoma City Council along with some subtle examples of Spokane’s civic superiority.

So far, my Spokane Gloat Box includes:

• An autographed “” baseball cap that I bummed from my pal in our newspaper marketing department.

• A vintage Expo ’74 Viewmaster. A reader gave me this a while back. The Viewmaster includes 3-D photo wheels of our famous world’s fair, which oughta show the Tacoma council just how vibrant and exciting the Lilac City was – 36 years ago.

• A CD copy of my “Spokane” song. Why our City Council hasn’t adopted this as our official anthem beats the heck out of me, although it could have something to do with the “sex offender” and “meth lab” references.

• A Spokane Regional Visitor’s Guide. Not just colorful photographs and information, but a powerful sleep aid, too.

• Plus a number of Spokane giveaway souvenirs from our Convention and Visitors Bureau, such as: A Clocktower postcard, a Spokane map, a few inedible candies and a “Near Nature/Near Perfect” lapel pin for each Tacoma council member to wear during meetings.

Some of you may think that Tacoma taunting is juvenile. I prefer to call it a precautionary first strike.

See, this isn’t the first Gloat Box I’ve shipped off to the West Side.

I sent the first one a few years ago after a Tacoma city councilman made snide remarks about our “second largest” status.

True, we only got to No. 2 by craftily expanding our town borders. But as the old saying goes, all’s fair in love and annexation.

That wiseacre isn’t on the council anymore. But I’m not waiting for another Tacomatose official to de-pants us like the slow, plump kid at summer camp.

Being the state’s second-biggest city is a boost to our municipal self-esteem.

My only fear is that these population estimates won’t hold. The U.S. Census Bureau is supposed to release its figures early next year, which could ruin everything.

I know size isn’t supposed to matter.

But the only people who say that are guys who are afraid to take public showers.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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