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News / Clark County News

Press Talk: No easy path forward for Madore

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor
Published: May 28, 2016, 6:10am

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Sunsets.

They can have different meanings. But on this day — 3,000 miles from home — I was thinking about how serene and beautiful and pleasant they are just to watch. I was also thinking about why life isn’t always this way.

Of course, part of it likely had something to do with being in a quaint little village on the southwest Florida coast. Cool ocean breezes, lazy pelicans waiting for their next meal to come by, and perpetually sunny skies can play tricks on one’s mind. Pleasant tricks. But still, when I’m home in Clark County, we shouldn’t always be in turmoil, looking for the next battle to fight.

Yet we always seem to be fighting. Why? Well, it’s no secret — at least in the minds of many — that one man in particular seems to push all the wrong buttons with so many of us.

His name is David Madore. County Councilor David Madore.

Look, I get that democracy is a messy business. If I had to choose between a calm dictatorship and a ragged democracy, well, give me the dang ragged democracy every time. But there has to be a slightly better path than the one we have followed for the past three years — a path that allows us to disagree without being disagreeable, a path that allows us to object without being objectionable.

Unfortunately, Madore appears to be hellbent on creating as much friction as possible, from giving one of his cronies a $100,000-a-year county job by sneaking him through the back door to pushing through a bunch of gunk resolutions right before the new majority county council was seated, forcing the majority to painstakingly and publicly dismantle each item.

Madore is in the final year of his four-year run as county councilor. Almost from his very first day in office, he has forged an avenue of angst. It has not been easy to watch. And most of us are paying the price.

There was some thought he might just drift away and opt not to seek re-election. He had told some privately that if he didn’t feel he could get anything substantial accomplished when the new majority was seated five months ago, he wouldn’t want to continue. And he has been able to accomplish very little in the past five months. And make no mistake, unless he changes his ways, there is virtually no hope of his getting anything done.

Unfortunately for Madore, not only has he not found any common ground with the council majority, he has this nasty habit of irritating — sometimes for no apparent good reason — the majority.

Despite all of that, he opted to run again.

But why? Part of his reasoning has to do with his simply being obstinate. He will not let his many detractors have the satisfaction of his simply quitting. You know the saying: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

The other part of his reasoning has to do with something I had noted earlier. He truly believes that he is a great man, fighting a great cause. And like some religious leaders before him, he believes he must suffer greatly to accomplish his goals. Eventually, he believes, history will prove him right.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, we have had to come along on this very unpleasant journey.

Whether or not Madore is right, he realizes even the greatest of men cannot move mountains without some support. Today, when Madore looks around, he sees fewer and fewer followers. Councilor Tom Mielke — who almost always obeys Madore’s orders — has opted not to seek re-election. And state Sen. Don Benton — who often did Madore’s bidding in Olympia — also has opted not to seek re-election. Both would have been beaten badly if they decided to run, in part because of their association with Madore.

Oh, Madore is desperately trying to seek new political allies and trying to shore up the few remaining supporters. And he’ll spend a ton of his own money to try to buy this election. But he’s fighting a losing battle. Yes, sunsets have different meanings. And if the sun sets on Madore’s political career in this upcoming election, we’ll all be better off.

Columbian Editor