Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, twitter.com/lounews or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." — Bette Davis, "All About Eve"
Welcome to the Board of Clark County Commissioners come January.
It's going to be one roller coaster of a ride. And it will be bumpy. Very bumpy.
This will mostly happen because of the commission's new addition: David Madore.
Bumpy, I should add, is not necessarily a bad thing. It's simply a thing. But it's pretty much guaranteed to happen.
Madore, you see, doesn't feel like he was elected to maintain the status quo. Shake, rattle and roll will be his rallying cry.
He is a hard-charging, successful conservative businessman who agrees that some government and regulation are necessary. But Madore also feels the pendulum has swung way too far in the wrong direction.
And, oh, by the way, why wait until he takes office in January to try to right the ship? Madore is rocking the boat. Now.
How can you tell?
Well this week, county government funding for the Columbia River Economic Development Council came up for renewal, as it has periodically since the group's inception in 1982.
For years this has been no more than a process vote, with little or no attention paid to it.
But this week — as a well-known sports commentator often says — "Not so fast, my friend."
Madore objected to the $200,000, two-year price tag. His objection mainly had to do with the organization's views on the proposed new bridge, tolls for that bridge and light rail.
Madore wanted the commission to delay the vote until he came on board, or at the very least not commit the county to pay for two years.
He didn't get his way.
Still, the controversy prompted a front-page advance story in the Columbian, a front-page results story, a packed county commission chambers and a spike in views on our website.
Welcome to the Madore effect.
The economic development council — a private/public funded group charged with bringing new business to our area — suddenly found itself a top news item in ways it hadn't anticipated. Holy cannoli!
What is to be made of all of this? Well, if I were a betting man, I'd put my two bucks on this: Virtually every job at the county will be looked at to make sure it's necessary; the costs of those jobs will be looked at to make sure they are fair; and county spending will be looked at to make sure it makes sense.
This ain't "Wayne's World." It's Madore's World.
Again, I'm not saying this is a bad thing or a good thing. It's just a thing. Get used to it.
Right after Madore was elected I asked him if he would sit down with me to do a short interview. He had previously done this with our county government reporter, Erik Hidle. That resulted in an excellent story we already ran.
In my interview, he told me not to expect any drastic proposals until he spends a lot of time listening and learning.
In fact, he said he expects to spend little time in his commissioner's office and a lot of time meeting people.
I taped my interview with Madore and you can go to my column on our website to see it.
All I can say is … buckle up!