Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Bing, census still going our way

Last week, while I was off recharging my fat cells, the government gave birth to new census numbers, reaffirming our lilac wonderland as Washington’s second-biggest burg.

Shortly afterward, Tacoma News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan officially tossed in the towel on our “Who’s Number Two?” bet in a highly amusing column that also aired in this newspaper.

I say highly amusing because in his piece, Callaghan proffered that Tacoma had already given Spokane an “amazing” and “life-changing” payoff in the form of Bing Crosby.

Are you freakin’ kidding me?

Tacoma claiming any credit for our Bingster is ludicrous on LSD.

It’s like the Avista billing department claiming it invented electricity.

It’s like the Butterball people saying they created Thanksgiving.

It’s like Colombian drug cartels taking credit for Charlie Sheen.

Speaking of Sheen, have you ever seen anyone go off the reality rails in a more public and deliciously entertaining way?

The guy’s so buggy Randy Quaid’s calling for an intervention.

But getting back to my cross-state bet …

Let’s set the record straight. It is true that Harry Lillis Crosby was hatched in Tacoma.

But he moved to Spokane when he was something like 3 years old.

All this proves is that even as a mere toddler, Bing had enough smarts to know he had to get the HELL OUTTA TACOMA!!!

According to the census figures, more and more citizens have come to the Crosby conclusion.

For example: Spokane’s population edge over Tacoma used to be a scant couple-thousand.

Our lead now has swollen to a turgid 10,000-plus.

Third-place Tacoma’s leaking faster than the Titanic.

I’m a bit worried that Callaghan might be trying to wriggle out of our wager.

Look, I’m not calling the man a cheater. But he just e-mailed me a message saying he wants to postpone our lunch in Ellensburg until April.

April? By then the whole thing just could slip out of his mind like the convoy of moving vans exiting his city.

Even if Callaghan comes through I’ll still be the biggest loser.

Have you seen gas prices lately?

They’re higher than the aforementioned Sheen.

The last time I took my ’67 Vista Guzzler on a road trip I had to be followed by a KC-135 refueling tanker.

And that was just to Colville.

I’ll have to take out another mortgage to make it to Ellensburg.

Of course, it may be that Callaghan’s just worried about finding Ellensburg.

Many West Siders – especially the ones who hold state offices – have this odd, psychological blind spot when it comes to locating E on a compass.

We have this relative who lives in Seattle. One day she announced she was moving to the east side of the state.

Oh, really. Where?

“Cle Elum,” she said.

Well, I can’t be prouder of my humble hometown’s continued dominance as Seattle’s civic sidekick.

True, a portion of our remarkable growth has been due to expanding our western border all the way to Cheney and double-counting our homicidal drifters.

But all’s fair in population rigging.

And just wait until the next census comes out. Add another 89,755 residents to the Lilac City tally.

Yep. It’ll be one fine day when we annex Spokane Valley.

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

More from this author