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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Scrubbing Columbus Day is just the start for us SAPS

Doug Clark (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Doug Clark (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

Gotta hand it to the Spokane City Council.

Our stalwart officials may not have the guts or enough gumption to reject the mayor’s rotten candidate for police chief in a straight up-or-down vote.

But when it comes to the real issues that everyday Spokanites care about, the council is as regular as the next Avista rate increase.

Real issues like making sure we citizens have the right to turn our residential yards into hog farms or outlawing elephant hooks within city limits, that is.

Or their latest cause …

Expunging Christopher Columbus’ name from, um, Columbus Day.

The council reportedly will vote Monday night on a resolution to rebrand the traditional holiday as “Indigenous Peoples Day.”

I’m confident that I speak for all right-thinking Spokanites when I say hooray for council President Ben Stuckart, the chief instigator behind this.

I don’t know how many times I’ve bounced my truck over our potholed streets and cried out:

“How long, oh Lord, must Spokane put up with the second Monday in October being identified with an Italian dude who dared behave the way people behaved 500 years ago?


Nothing’s perfect, of course.

Before voting, council members would be wise, in my modest opinion, to give a little more thought about this new holiday name.

I celebrate indigenous people one and all. But I would hate if some folks got confused and thought it was Indignant Peoples Day.

Most voters I know would think the council had created a holiday just for them.

My biggest issue with this is that the City Council, as always, hasn’t overreached far enough.

Which is why I’m here again to help.

I would like to announce the formation of my organization, the Spokane Appreciates Personal Sensitivities panel.

Or SAPS, for short.

I’ll be first to sign up.

At our first meeting we SAPS will pledge to dedicate ourselves to ridding the community of anything that may be interpreted as uncomfortable or offensive to anyone living, dead or imagined.

For example, I know the council will actually be voting in the future on an ordinance to rename Fort George Wright Drive into something more palatable like, say, Prancing Unicorn Way.

Like Columbus, George Wright is another one of those dead old baddies who bothers some people at the mere mention of his name.

Some would argue that trying to sanitize society is silly and stupid because, well, where do you stop?

Ha! That’s where SAPS come in.

We don’t know when to stop. We don’t know the definition of stop. Our mission is to keep going until every right is wronged, every sharp edge padded.

Because human beings are all essentially flawed jerks, we believe no street, public building or municipal park should be named after an actual person.

Jefferson owned slaves. Washington had rotten teeth. Gen. Sherman was a killer. Martin Luther King had affairs …

It makes more sense to name our schools and parks and such after things like fish or Care Bears or Disney characters.

If you do your research you’ll discover that the whole danged city of Spokane was founded by butchers, bigots and boobs.

Why, for years I’ve argued on deaf ears that Division should be renamed. Too divisive.

So join the movement today. Tell me what offends you and we’ll make it right.

After all, why should the only SAPS be filling chairs on the Spokane City Council?

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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