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

  • Failing at the Three E's
  • Failing at the Three E's

    Before giving Butch Otter a third term, consider his track record on education, the economy and the environment
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • Time To Move On
  • Time To Move On

    Publisher's Note
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • Roadmap to Progress
  • Roadmap to Progress

    In 1995, Congress repaired its reputation and fixed America's problems
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Failing at the Three E's
  • Failing at the Three E's

    Before giving Butch Otter a third term, consider his track record on education, the economy and the environment
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • Time To Move On
  • Time To Move On

    Publisher's Note
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • Save Our Democracy
  • Save Our Democracy

    Fingerprinting? There's a better way to protect Idaho's elections
    • Oct 15, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
A T. Rex Named Sue

A T. Rex Named Sue @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor

Most Commented On

  • Dueling Measures

    Everything you need to know about Washington's battling gun-control initiatives
    • Oct 1, 2014
  • David and Goliath

    All signs point to another Cathy McMorris Rodgers win, but Joe Pakootas doesn't think so
    • Oct 8, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation