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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Mayor Condon’s choice remarks bear translation

Spokane Mayor David Condon faced the City Council the other night to deliver his annual “statement of condition and affairs,” speech, also known as the October Mayoral Corn Maze.

Being fluent in the ancient language of political doublespeak, I transcribed much of the mayor’s message off an Internet video stream and then (after downing a half-bottle of ibuprofen), I painstakingly transcribed some of the salient parts.

I did this so that you – the hapless taxpayer – can understand what the mayor was actually saying at City Hall on Monday night.

We begin with Council President Ben Stuckart’s warm greeting …

STUCKART – “We have the mayor for the second week in a row, welcome mayor.”

TRANSLATION – “Him again? Gawd. Where are my ear plugs?”

MAYOR – “Good evening, council members, citizens who are joining us tonight in the chambers and all of you watching at home.”

TRANSLATION – “Not you, Ben. Don’t think I haven’t heard the rumors about you running against me in two years.”

MAYOR – “Over the past few months, we turned our focus to next year’s budget.”

TRANSLATION – “When we weren’t focusing on my re-election, that is, which is pretty much our main concern.”

MAYOR – “We are on solid footing and positioned to meet future needs … In short, we are building the City of Choice.”

TRANSLATION – “I could become the first two-term mayor since trolleys ran on Garland. That is the future as far as I’m concerned.”

MAYOR – “We’ve proposed adding 25 police officers.”

TRANSLATION – “That should cover dubious shootings, sex-on-duty, Tasing civilians or top brass wigging out like that Scott Stephens dude.”

MAYOR – “Here in the City of Choice …”

TRANSLATION – “I sure say ‘City of Choice’ a lot. I wonder how many times I can say it before people start screaming?”

MAYOR – “Spokane is a city of families. Hardworking individuals who love to pick fresh fruit at Green Bluff on the weekend and ski Mount Spokane at the first snowfall. You walk through Riverfront Park on your lunch break and make it home in time to have dinner around the kitchen table.”

TRANSLATION – “And for dessert there’s fresh cherry pie that Aunt Bee makes for Barney and Goober. Or maybe that was an Andy of Mayberry episode? I get confused sometimes.”

MAYOR – “You might ask, ‘pride and ownership,’ and what that must look like for municipal government. Well, here in the City of Choice, it looks like. …”

TRANSLATION – “City of Choice, City of Choice, CityofChoice, CITYOFCHOICE!!!”

MAYOR – “For us, one of our challenges is the cost of government grows faster than citizens’ ability to pay.”

TRANSLATION – Which is why we’ll keep raising parking rates and installing red-light cameras at every intersection in town.

MAYOR – “We are also committed to living within our means.”

TRANSLATION – “Did I just hear thunder? Hee! I hope lightning doesn’t strike me for that whopper.”

MAYOR – “Our new goals are to deliver a cleaner Spokane River …”

TRANSLATION – “But watch out for those brown trout floating down by the wastewater treatment plant.”

MAYOR – “Our processes are seamless. Our teams communicate.”

TRANSLATION – “Our vengeance is swift on all who oppose us.”

MAYOR – “The City Council shares our desire to serve our citizens and build the City of Choice.”

TRANSLATION – “Except, that is, when certain bonehead council members waste time trying to regulate the nipple coverings of semi-nude baristas.”

MAYOR – “I want Spokane to remain a place that is great for families, fertile for business and somewhere we are all proud to call home.”

TRANSLATION – “But I’d stay away from that corner in front of the Olive Garden. That’s a good way to get your family clubbed by a band of breadstick-wielding ruffians.”

MAYOR – “As we build a vision for the City of Choice, we have to first start from the foundation, which includes a system of roads that can support a growing community.”

TRANSLATION – “Did I say system of roads? I meant network of potholes.”

MAYOR – “In my opinion, there is no better priority for this administration than one that we have pursued over the past 20 months: to earn the trust of our constituents through transparent communication, customer-focused operations and …”

TRANSLATION – “That Councilman Mike Fagan sure scowls a lot. Every time I see him he looks more and more like Grumpy Cat.”

MAYOR – “We are a leaner, more efficient operation today than we were a year ago.”

TRANSLATION – “Don’t thank me. Thank all the pink slips, forced layoffs and lowering the ax on anyone in our way.”

MAYOR – “We have come a long way in the last 20 months, but there is still much more to do.”

TRANSLATION – “More pink slips. More layoffs. More off with their heads!”

MAYOR – “Our work will be focused on providing multiple benefits for every dollar you invest in your city government.”

TRANSLATION – “Or not. As if you sappy taxpayers had a choice.”

MAYOR – “If I leave you with two things tonight, it is this …”

TRANSLATION – “1. Re-elect David Condon, and 2. Re-elect David Condon.”

MAYOR – “Thank You.”

TRANSLATION – “Bite me, Stuckart!”

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

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