Press Talk: The end is coming for Madore

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor emeritus. His column of personal opinion appears the first Saturday of every month. Reach him at

County Councilor David Madore likes to tell his friends he wakes up every morning, looks in the mirror, smiles, salutes and says he’s ready to report for duty to work for the citizens.

Today, when he looks in the mirror, he sees a broken man.

After a crippling independent investigation showed Madore to be a liar, he knows he is finished.

It’s over.

• • •

The Thursday Columbian front page headline was glaring and bold: “Report: Madore’s charges false.”

It was yet another bitter loss for a man who has repeatedly tasted defeat ever since winning election in 2012.

This latest misadventure surrounded Madore’s attempt to mold the county in his likeness.


Against the advice of his professional county planning department, he forged ahead with a land-use plan that would have broken the most basic rule of growth: Avoid urban sprawl. The strength of his rapidly shrinking support base lies in rural landowners, and he was trying to shore up that support.

But the county planning department pushed back. And that’s something Madore not only hates, but won’t stand for.

So with few facts to support his sprawl plan, he did what many hard-right conservatives do today: He said he couldn’t get his way because the system was rigged against him. More specifically, he claimed the county planning department was knowingly using bad numbers to show his plan didn’t make any sense.

As you might imagine, that’s a serious charge. And County Planning Director Oliver Orjiako would have none of it.

Charges and countercharges were filed, and in the end, Madore came out the loser.

Following along

Anybody following along will not be surprised by this latest repudiation of Madore. Nor how tenuous his hold on power is today.

This isn’t the first Press Talk column that’s noted the end is near for Madore. Back in February, I began a Press Talk column this way:

“County Councilor David Madore is finished.

“Surely, he must know it.” 

Then in May — after Madore had filed his claim against the county’s planning department — I said this in a Press Talk column:

“Madore will lose this one.”

And lose, he did.

Report very direct

Rebecca Dean, a Seattle attorney, led the investigation. And if you’re wondering why our own prosecuting attorney’s office didn’t do it, Madore has claimed — you guessed it — that office also is rigged against him.

The outside lawyers have cost taxpayers a cool $100,000. And that’s chump change compared to the money taxpayers have lost because of Madore since he’s been in office. Amazing and depressing.

• • •

Over and over and over again, Dean’s report listed Madore’s allegations. And over and over and over again, you saw this conclusion:

“Madore’s statement is false.”

And what was Madore’s response? The independent investigation was also rigged against him.

An engaged community

In the end, it was an engaged community that deserves credit for correcting the wrongs here. But make no mistake, without a strong Columbian informing our community, there is little chance we would have had the tools to become engaged.

The Columbian brought you both the news and the commentary that helped to guide us. And the community is prevailing.

Madore should be censured 

Despite all of this, don’t expect Madore to just walk away. He has thought about that during past defeats and has always convinced himself that quitting would mean his critics have won. It is more likely that Madore will just go through the motions now in his re-election bid. In past elections, he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t expect that this time. He’s a very rich man, but even he has limits.

But we shouldn’t just wait for his likely defeat at the ballot box as punishment. The county council should censure him now. There are consequences for inappropriate actions. A censure also would be a welcome vote of confidence for beleaguered county workers and a nod to a persistent community.

• • •

Yes, Madore’s grand scheme of molding Clark County in his image has failed.

And when he looks in the mirror tomorrow, he will only see the end coming.