Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, August 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 69° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Sullivan should just bask in her one-hit glory

So the big recall petition against Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Tucker was booted out of court like an unwelcome party crasher.

Boy, who could’ve seen that one coming?

Wait a second. I know who saw that coming.

It’s not in my modest nature to gloat, but …


Now if only my gifts for prediction translated to lottery numbers and Kentucky Derby winners.

Truth is, no Kreskin powers were needed to see through Shannon Sullivan’s Tucker recall.

It was, as I opined early last month, “a misguided waste of time, energy and perspiration.”

And that’s being kind.

What was Sullivan thinking? Or rather, was she thinking at all?

Craig Matheson, visiting Superior Court judge from counties Benton and Franklin, deftly dismantled Sullivan’s petition last Friday with the ease of a shade tree mechanic yanking the carburetor off a ’62 Chevy.

Judge Matheson ruled that “four recall charges were insufficient and that one of the four lacked a basis of knowledge,” according to our news account.

The petition didn’t contain a fortune cookie’s worth of common sense. Even worse, some of Sullivan’s accusations against Tucker amounted to hearsay and untruth.

Take the charge stemming from a 2006 campaign promise Tucker made to not prosecute public employees.

It’s undocumented scuttlebutt, based on what some city councilman supposedly heard Tucker say.

I’ve heard better rumors over drinks in a murky bar.

Plus, as the judge pointed out, Tucker has been re-elected twice since this dubious utterance.

Fact is, Tucker HAS prosecuted public employees, which makes the accusation ludicrous.

I’ve devoted a lot of words over the years to Tucker’s imperfections, failings and nonexistent work ethic. He’s one of the weakest prosecutors we’ve ever had, as far as I’m concerned.

His ongoing inaction regarding the Spokane Police Department assault on Otto Zehm is inexcusable.

Yet the voters keep putting this loser back into office.

I’d take it personally if it weren’t for the way our American system works.

Voters have never placed much of a premium on quality control. Oh yeah, we talk big all the time about cleaning house. But being a boob incumbent is about the safest job on the planet.

Sullivan’s ill-conceived effort to bring Tucker down did accomplish one thing that I thought was impossible.

She actually made me feel sorry for the guy.

True, my sympathy for Tucker is similar to the slight twinge I felt for that giant, acid-drooling insect at the end of the movie “Alien.” You know, when Sigourney Weaver sent the poor monster hurtling into the dark vacuum of space.

What can I say? I’m not made of stone.

I didn’t know what to make of Sullivan’s reaction after Judge Matheson had punctured her balloon.

“I’m OK with the decision,” she said.

Are you kidding me?

Getting shot down in court should evoke a more emotional response than that.

Sullivan, of course, is best known for launching the successful recall against the late Spokane Mayor Jim West.

She had the right idea at the right moment. West’s Internet sexcapades, his illegal, romance-based job offers disgraced the community.

When West refused to budge, this woman got things rolling.

By law, Sullivan has 15 days to appeal Judge Matheson’s ruling.

So here’s some more free legal advice.


Pack it up. Put the petition away.

Go back to whatever you were doing before having your head turned by this monumentally crummy idea.

Shannon Sullivan had a good idea once and it wound up making Spokane a better place.

That should be enough for anyone.

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

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email