Pin It
Favorite

Meet Emit Sparks 

click to enlarge ted-mcgregor.jpg

When we were kids one Fourth of July, my sister, Piper, was looking at the warning on a pack of sparklers and asked, "Who's Emit Sparks?" We've had a good laugh about that for a couple decades now.

But it is fitting that we crave explosions on the day we celebrate America. Like fireworks, our democracy emits sparks, too.

I've been thinking about that as the fight at Spokane City Hall has been waged over the future of the Police Ombudsman. Right now, we're somewhere between Super Ombudsman and Ombudsman Lite. However it shakes out, it's progress, as these kinds of big, important debates haven't always happened around here. Lately, the sparks have been flying, and I like it.

To see a spark-free zone, check out the Spokane County Courthouse. With just three commissioners, and all of them Republican, it's more like a cone of silence. When there are no competing viewpoints — no sparks — citizens often are left to wonder why. (And I think that played a role in the county not being able to sell its plan to buy property in the crash zone outside Fairchild in November.)

Years ago, when the City of Spokane went for the strong mayor system, citizens were wanting some sparks for a change. Think of it this way: It's like the mayor is the President, and the council president is the Speaker of the House. When they don't agree, ideas collide, the gears grind, shooting off sparks, and — ideally — we all get better public policy.

In most ways, Washington, D.C., is a bad role model: the politics have become superheated by money; the electeds represent thinner and thinner extremes of the general population; and it's all become way too personal. Too many leaders think it's all about them and their political party; what's good for the nation comes second.

When I was in college, there was a house across the street we pretty much were at war with. Sure, we may have allegedly put hay bales in their swimming pool — possibly more than once. And on a random snow event, some guys on a commando raid might have put snowballs in some beds over there. Again, allegedly. But on Saturdays at Husky Stadium, we stood right next to those same guys, and we all cheered for the same team. In D.C., they seem to have forgotten that "same-team" part of the deal.

Here in Spokane, it falls to every elected official to emit sparks when called for (in a safe and sane manner, like the warning label says), but to always put Spokane first. Whaddya know! We're growing up and learning how to drive this strong mayor system after all. ♦

  • Pin It

Speaking of Comment, Publisher's Note

Latest in Comment

  • Trust Busters
  • Trust Busters

    Why strengthening antitrust policy is essential to our economic well-being
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Mardi Bras
  • Mardi Bras

    Do Something: How to get involved with your community this week
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • Facts, Not Fairy Tales
  • Facts, Not Fairy Tales

    In Boise, state leaders are doing their best to prevent students from learning scientific facts
    • Feb 23, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Tragedy of John Wayne
  • Tragedy of John Wayne

    Why the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is worth saving
    • Oct 29, 2015
  • Channeling the Force
  • Channeling the Force

    Why America needs Star Wars now more than ever
    • Dec 17, 2015

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age

Mammoths & Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 7

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor

  • ON THE RED CARPET
  • ON THE RED CARPET

    Zuill Bailey reflects on winning a 2017 Grammy
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Between the Concerts
  • Between the Concerts

    Zuill Bailey takes classical excellence to unexpected places
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Spokane's Silver Salute
  • Spokane's Silver Salute

    Despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean port, Spokane holds a special place in the Navy's heart
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • We Have Not Yet Begun to Fight

    Why we're filling the streets to protest Trump's inhumane, dangerous policies
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Obscene Gestures

    Spokane political party leaders hope to harness post-election passion into civil discourse. But so far, there's only been more strife
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Comment


do something


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Pants on Fire
  • Pants on Fire

    U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to climate change
    • Oct 6, 2016

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation