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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Helping the needy, and bragging rights – a win-win

I always knew I’d one day have to step in and do the mayor’s dirty work.

Not that I’d characterize helping a charity as dirty.

But when Spokane Mayor David Condon wimped out, The Salvation Army emailed me to ask if I would “serve as Mayor Pro Tem” in its annual red kettle Ring Off against Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem.

Who am I to dodge the Army?

Well, except for the time I ran off to college in 1969, that is.

So mark your calendars for Dec. 15. That’s the day you’ll want to stop by the Spokane Fred Meyer store on Thor, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

I’ll be there along with a soon-to-be-named “Dream Team” of yuletide jingle-janglers.

Trust me. It’ll be more fun than a toy workshop filled with glue-huffing elves.

Meanwhile, over in the Lake City, Bloem and her minions will be ringing away at the Fred Meyer. The less said about the opposition the better.

The contest is simple: Whoever raises the most money wins bragging rights.

So any of you out there who are planning on making a large red kettle donation will probably want to hold off so you can help me help Spokane reclaim our holiday pride.

We didn’t come out of last year’s Ring Off smelling like cinnamon and nutmeg.

When the money was counted at 4 p.m., Spokane Mayor Mary Verner had amassed $579.

To the Coeur d’Alene mayor’s $4,979.

What’d Bloem do, sell the Tubbs Hill paving rights to Duane Hagadone?

Hmm. I can’t put my finger on it.

Something about a shellacking that gigantic reminds me of something.

Oh, yeah. I remember.

It’s the Condon wipeout of Verner in the November 2011 election.

No wonder Condon didn’t want any part of this showdown. His fancy new PR firm probably saw the lumps Verner took and told Boy Mayor to skip town.

FACT: Every dime goes toward helping the needy, of course. So it’s ridiculous to suggest that anybody actually loses.

But after last year’s beat-down, the Washington side of the border needs to redeem itself.

And so I’ve thought of some ways to keep this match from being so one-sided.

Such as …

Anyone donating 50 bucks or more will receive a free autographed copy of “Singin’ the News.”

This never-before-released CD features all 14 parody songs that my buddy, Joe Brasch, and I have produced for the newspaper.

I’m talking masterpieces like “Tap Three Times,” my ode to Larry Craig, and “The Ballad of Eddie Ray Hall.”

(Rated “T” for Twisted.)

Plus, in a few days I’ll be calling on some citizens whose celebrity would attract a crowd.

Just spit-balling here. But maybe former District 4 legislative candidate Amy Biviano would take part.

I’m betting a lot of citizens would want to see Biviano shaking the bells of charity.

And, no. This has nothing to do with that topless photo of her that appeared in Playboy magazine’s 1995 “Women of the Ivy League” spread.

Get your brain cells out of the sewer.

Amy is a rising star in the local Democratic Party.

Let’s see. Who else would be good?

The sheriff?

Always a hit.

A certain news anchor with a facial mole?

Now we’re decking the halls.

I’m open to suggestions, too. Just contact me via the information below. There’s a free CD in it for anyone who gives me an idea that works out.

This isn’t about partisan politics, either.

Heck, I’d even ask Biviano’s victorious opponent, The Road Rage Republican, to join our Christmas cause.

Just as long as Rep. Matt Shea promises to keep his 9 mm candy cane holstered, that is.

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

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