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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Quick, someone give the mayor a run for his money

Sound the air-raid sirens.

We interrupt today’s Clark column with the following announcement that Spokane is in a Defcondon 1 state of emergency.

Here’s why: We are eight days and counting away from the May 15 filing deadline for candidates seeking the Spokane mayor’s office, and with no real opposition, it appears that Mayor David Condon will tap dance his way to re-election, thus ending one of Spokane’s most beloved quirks.

The Curse of the One-Term Mayor.

We can’t let that happen. Not on my watch, anyway.

Look, I have nothing seriously against the mayor. He’s an affable-enough fence rider, albeit a bit stingy with his Condon coins.

Condon would be favored even with a quality opponent.

He has the downtown business power brokers in his pocket. Every now and then, you’ll see one of them peeking out and squinting at the daylight.

Why, hello there, Mr. Worthy.

But let’s look at the only facts that matter.

Fact: A Spokane mayor hasn’t won re-election since the illustrious David H. Rodgers in 1973.

Fact: After Rodgers, Spokane saw a succession of 10 one-termers. Some didn’t run again by choice. Most were given the boot.

I don’t want to scare any little children, but a Condon re-election could very well unsnap the cosmic Velcro that holds this burg together.

The river might dry up. Potholes could turn into sinkholes and swallow us whole. Zombie rabid marmots might run wild through the streets.

To prevent this, I consulted my political advisers Tom Keefe*, Matt Monroe and Joe Brasch and asked them to help me solve this emergency. (*Keefe has endorsed Condon. But as he says now, “I’d rather see a contest than a coronation.”)

We came up with a Dream Team list of Spokane mayoral candidates with enough curb appeal to give Condon an actual go.

Yes, I know there is one person who has already filed to unseat Mayor Condon.

But anyone who seriously thinks that Shar Lichty has an ice cube’s chance in the Sahara of becoming mayor, well, I have a swell 15th-floor condo in Ritzville that I’d love to sell you.

Hey, I’m sure Lichty is a wonderful person and kind to animals.

But A. she has no name recognition and, B. a records check showed her political war chest to be about $1,700, which probably wouldn’t buy a 10-year-old Ford Fiesta.

Meanwhile, Mayor Warbucks has amassed a campaign coffer of some $243,000.

I’ll say it again. The only hope for a continued curse is for somebody with a name to get in the race.

Somebody like, say …

1. Chauncy Welliver, former heavyweight champion boxer of some faraway land like Auckland or Akron.

PRO – Hillyard-bred tough guy. Mayor Chauncy could definitely knock some sense into the screwballs on the City Council.

CON – Chauncy is, well, huge. His mayoral donut bill for one term might bankrupt the entire city budget.

2. Tim O’Doherty, owner of O’Doherty’s Irish Pub & Grille.

PRO – Friendly. Well-liked. Recently shot a hole-in-one. Tim virtually has no negatives.

CON – Far too much self-esteem to enter politics.

3. Tony Bamonte, former Spokane cop. Writer of local history books.

PRO – Tony is an unabashed lover of Spokane and all we hold dear.

CON – Might waste his term as mayor trying to solve 100-year-old murders and unsolved mysteries like how Frank Straub became Spokane police chief.

4. Kris Crocker, KXLY-TV’s chief meteorologist.

PRO – Claiming credit for last winter’s mild weather could take Kris to the seventh floor at City Hall.

CON – Always one ice storm or blizzard away from a recall.

5. Tim Lorentz, high school teacher.

PRO – Skipper of LaBoata, Spokane’s wondrous boat car. LaBoata is the best campaign vehicle ever made. Lorentz could win the election just by driving it around Spokane yelling, “Vote for me!”

CON – The Lorentz campaign also would be permanently beached for breaking the traffic and city noise laws.

6. Bob Hemphill, owner of Chicken-N-More restaurant.

PRO – Makes the best barbecue chicken and ribs in town. Catering his own political rallies could produce a groundswell of support.

CON – Too moral to be mayor. A few days dealing with City Hall scoundrels might drive him to despair.

7. Pam Scott, formerly with downtown Visitor’s Bureau. Now vice president of corporate communications for Red Lion Hotels.

PRO – Honest. Great sense of humor. Articulate.

CON – Self-effacing and no lover of the limelight. May not attend her own political debates.

8. George McGrath, compulsive City Council testifier and gadfly who’s in love with sound of his own voice.

PRO – Having to deal with a Mayor McGrath would make Council President Ben Stuckart’s head explode.

CON – Having to listen to a Mayor McGrath would make all of our heads explode.

9. Charlie Schmidt, pop artist, Andy Warhol devotee, world famous comic and inventor of Internet sensation Keyboard Cat.

PRO – Spokane government would never be the same with a Mayor Schmidt running things.

CON – Not sure Spokane is ready for tie-dyed City Hall.

10. John Stockton, hometown hero and NBA great.

PRO – Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t vote John Stockton for mayor?

CON – What con? I repeat, who wouldn’t vote for John Stockton?

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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