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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: What will happen if mayoral hex comes undone?

“I’m not intimidated by old history, I know Spokane is willing to embrace a good strong mayor for the future of Spokane for a second term.” – A confident pre-election 2011 Mayor Mary Verner discussing her chances of breaking Spokane’s Curse of the One-Term Mayor.

We’re officially a tad more than a month away from Spokane’s Aug. 4 primary election and an excellent question has arrived by email from Paul Baxter, a civic-minded and loyal reader.

He writes:

“I was wondering what would happen if by some remote chance we break the curse? In Disney stories everyone lives happily ever after when a curse is broken.

“However, we live in Spokane and have to face hard reality. Any insights into the possibilities would be greatly appreciated.”

Well said, Paul.

You are certainly right. Life in Spokanistan is usually anything but a Disney movie.

Because of that, I think it’s important to give an even deeper consideration as to what dark forces might be unleashed on the Lilac City should the unthinkable occur and Mayor David Condon win a second term next November.

Nothing personal against Condon, he’s simply the current unwitting stooge in this otherworldly mayoral drama.

Granted, Condon looks like the smart money bet at this point.

His campaign war chest is not merely fat, it’s morbidly obese.

He has the solid support of the DBL (Downtown Business Lemmings).

Plus, he faces no real opposition from political lightweights Shar Lichty and serial-candidate Michael Noder.

So the fact that Spokane hasn’t had a multiterm mayor since David Rodgers held the job from 1967 to 1978 doesn’t appear to mean a bowl of lentils when compared to the Condon for Mayor juggernaut.

And yet …

Remember that Mayor Verner made those high above remarks when she, too, was sitting pretty in that seventh-floor City Hall office with a stunning view.

And with good reason.

Verner shellacked Condon in the August 2011 primary, 20,377 votes to 11,511. That’s a margin of 59.35 percent for Verner compared to only 33.53 percent for Condon.

Three scant months later, however, Condon was raising his mitts in victory.


The scientific answer is …

“Hell, yes, there’s a CURSE!!”

But nothing lasts forever. And like you, Paul, I fear what might happen should this hex finally come undone.

Here are a few predictions. (Stay tuned at the end for instructions for how you can play the home game version and win cool prizes.)

• After a 20-game losing streak at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Zags coach Mark Few leaves Spokane to become a Trappist monk.

• Joe Shogan returns again to City Hall, but this time (gasp!) he won’t leave.

• Guests at Walt Worthy’s new Davenport Grand Hotel flee for the Red Lion Hotel at the Park after those creepy ghost twins from “The Shining” are seen roaming the halls.

• During a Monday night meeting, an exasperated City Council President Ben Stuckart finally snaps and begins repeatedly smacking George McGrath over the head with his gavel, yelling, “You’re out of order! You’re out of order!”

• Driven mad with hubris after breaking the curse, re-elected Mayor Condon anoints himself “Emperor for Life,” and declares that the city will now operate under a Condon Coin-based economy.

• Officially bankrupt, the Spokane Transit Authority sells all of its buses and assets to Uber.

• Bloomsday moves to Deer Park after a runner in a giant burrito costume is swallowed whole by one of Spokane’s potholes 2 miles from the finish.

• Tacoma finally surpasses Spokane as Washington’s second-largest city after secretly working a deal to annex Cheney and Medical Lake.

• A visitors bureau intern accidentally includes the “Bridge to Hookerville” in a nationwide Spokane tourism brochure.

• City Councilman Mike Fagan becomes a YouTube sensation after being videoed working topless in a near-naked espresso stand.

• After delaying for months the decision of who will replace Marshall Farnell as Spokane County CEO, feuding Commissioners Al French, Todd Mielke and Shelly O’Quinn finally agree:

To hire Rachel Dolezal.

Have any other dire predictions for what could happen to Spokane if the Curse of the One-Term Mayor is broken?

Send them to me via the contact information below.

The top five submitters will win some cool prizes, so be sure to include your phone number and psychic credentials.

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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