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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: When politicians converge, kiss your assets goodbye

This has been a week of chilling developments.

No. Not all hell breaking loose in Egypt. I’m talking about real bad news.

Namely, all those public officials getting together on the pretext of improving our lives with a new regional garbage-disposal plan.

If that doesn’t scare you then you don’t know squat about how government works.

See, I’ve been a professional government gawker since, well, since even before a squirrely county commissioner named Hasson jumped out of his office window at the Spokane County Courthouse to elude the press. That’s a long time.

My point is that all this snoopage has led me to the following conclusion.

No matter what the topic, no matter what gets decided, no matter how rosy our officials make their big ideas sound, the end result is always the same.

We the people are going to get REAMED!

And I mean that in the unwholesome monetary sense.

You really can’t blame them. Public officials can’t help themselves any more than wolves can stop licking their chops after a fresh kill.

Gouging the taxpayer is encoded into their DNA.

And whenever public officials gather in large numbers – trust me – bad things are bound to happen.

There should be a law limiting the number of public officials that can congregate in one place at one time. That would save the public a mountain of money and a heap of heartache.

Seriously. Look at all the mischief just seven or eight of them can make by rubbing elbows in a weekly council meeting.

Now, I haven’t paid much attention to the recent two-day Solid Waste Summit.

But the fact that this confab ended on such a high note should put the fear of the Lord into everyone.

The solid waste summiteers left with excited talk of committees, new business models and how a regional board would have authority to contract with other service providers.

Check out the following that appeared on the front page of our Friday newspaper:

“Support was overwhelming. Even Spokane Mayor Mary Verner and other members of the city’s delegation found merit in the idea.”

We are so screwed.

I, for one, am happy with the trash status quo.

In fact, I believe Spokane’s garbage roundup is arguably the most efficient part of the whole city.

I wheel my trash out by the curb. Every Tuesday morning a truck rolls by to take it away. I’m told there’s even a recycling service, although I’m unfamiliar with how that works.

Like all good Americans, I don’t really care where my garbage goes once the bin is emptied. Heck, the crew could drop it off on the aforementioned mayor’s front porch for all I care.

(Note to garbage guys: Should this actually happen, the humor value would be worth a couple of six-packs.)

I appreciate my garbage service even more on those special occasions when I have refuse coming out my ears.

Today, for example, is Super Bowl Sunday, one of the biggest trash-producing days of the year.

Tons upon tons of extra garbage will be made – and that’s just in empty bean dip containers.

So before The Game starts and the gluttony begins, let’s all give a thumbs up to those stalwart souls who must haul away the monstrous messes we make.

And a thumbs down to the government meddlers who can never leave well enough alone.

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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