Sometimes I get the feeling my editor hates me. Just because I think he's a lazy lush, it's no reason to hold a grudge. I get this recurring feeling because every week he tells me to cover Spokane's City Council meetings. It's like being told you must eat lint for dinner once a week.
Last November, Spokane residents voted to change the way they govern themselves. One initiative approved by voters was to have a strong mayor system. Until now Spokane has employed the wimpy mayor system.
City redistricting plans have been the hot topic of late. One change is to elect council members from districts instead of citywide. There were three plans submitted to the City Council. They were to choose one.
The plans were numbered by the way they were submitted to the Redistricting Committee. Thus the council had to choose from Plan 4, Plan 28, and Plan 55. Not very exciting names, but we must remember this is government.
Plan 4 was a waste. No one liked it, the authors were embarrassed it was chosen. It made the final cut simply to highlight the benefits of the other two plans.
Plan 55 was the brainchild of Eastern Washington University professor Dr. Robert Herold. It was presented to the council as a sort of Buckminster Fuller of redistricting plans. It was very high-tech.
Bob Herold considers himself an intellectual. He likes everyone around him to consider him an intellectual. The problem is his name is Bob. How can anyone named Bob be an intellectual? No one called Einstein, Al. Enrico Fermi was never called Rico. No one calls Robin Williams, Rob.
Bob made a strong presentation for Plan 55. He got the crowd on his side. He wowed them with intellectual phrases and thunderous passion. They swooned when he said Plan 55 provided "maximum transversal!" Bob had them in the palm of his hand.
"Maximum transversal" was power. How could anyone deny a plan with "maximum transversal?" (Scotty, we must have more power, the Klingons are closing on us. Captain, we're at maximum transversal! I can't give you anything else!)
Bob had the audience and the Council convinced Plan 55 was the way to go. He was rolling. He had unleashed "maximum transversal." The whole room was panting with excitement for Plan 55. But one Freudian slip of the tongue had everyone fleeing in terror. He pointed out Plan 55 had "cleavage."
Women fainted. Embarrassed fathers ordered wives and children to leave the room. There was pandemonium in the council chambers. How in the name of Austin Powers could a redistricting plan have cleavage? He lost the audience, lost the Council, and lost all hope of ramming Plan 55 into law. He died faster than a Pauly Shore movie.
Of course, no discussion of cleavage is complete without mentioning Clyde Ballard. Clyde is Republican Co-Speaker of the House in Olympia. Clyde has very little in the way of cleavage, which is probably why he has absolutely no respect for state employees. It is one reason some employees refer to him as the "Weirdo from Wenatchee."
Clyde is always trying to get rid of state employees. He wants to rid state government of custodians, highway maintenance workers, information resource employees, gardeners, and cooks to name just a few. Clyde believes the state can get the work done much cheaper with private contractors.
Looked at another way, Clyde may believe he and his Republican cronies have a better opportunity of raising money from private contractors than from state employees they are constantly trying to get rid of. Maybe Clyde should look at other ways to save money.
Since he believes custodians and others are overpaid, maybe we should expand Clyde's money saving horizon. Hey Clyde, why not push for a 20% cut in the pay of all employees in the Washington Management Service? You don't even need legislation for that.
Since you believe custodians and others will work for less if forced to, perhaps those employees will too. If they won't, I know you can find people to take their place.
As an incentive for Clyde to act, I recommend custodians in Olympia refuse to clean his office until he looks at other ways to save money.