GSI Todd Mielke, the protector of the realm

The Phantom Hunter

The clown in the gutter. The woman with a red scarf. The little boy hitch-hiking by a cemetery. That something under your bed. The casino that’s going to close an air force base. It gives me shivers all over.

All the unknowns. All the speculation. All the conjecture. It’s terrifying! We need someone to protect us. We need The Phantom Hunter. We need Todd Mielke.

Todd Mielke is so good at conjuring phantoms, he’s convinced Greater Spokane, Inc., that he’s the economic development savior for the region, despite the fact he’s been a politician or a lobbyist his entire professional career, with no hint of core economic development expertise, or achievements, or general fascination within the field, or academic prowess about how best to actually accomplish results and, for that matter, any general knowledge whatsoever about how to build 21st-century cities. Despite all these facts, he’s our guy, damnit, to guide Spokane into the future.

When you’re The Phantom Hunter, you don’t need to know anything of substance. Nope, not in Spokane. You just need to know how to conjure a phantom to chase.

Not coincidently, conjuring is what Todd Mielke does best.

The Phantom Hunter is so good at phantom hunting he’s convinced the rank and file of GSI that the specter of another casino in Airway Heights is going to close Fairchild Airforce Base. Better yet, he’s convinced local municipal jurisdictions to keep on pledging money to his organization – Greater Spokane, Inc – under the guise of economic development. And while he talks out of one side of his mouth, the other spends your money on Washington, DC, lobbyists that help him chase phantoms.

Wait, wait, how can this be? You have to prove it, right?

Fortunately, given his life in the public sector, The Phantom Hunter has left a trail behind him. A few months before Todd Mielke was announced as the new CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc., and still acting as Spokane County Commissioner, he voted to approve the highest ever Spokane County Contribution to Greater Spokane, Inc.

No, no, you heard me right: Just months before Todd Mielke was announced the new CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc., he used your tax dollars to probably help secure the position. Or, let’s put it this way: it certainly didn’t hurt that Todd Mielke used your tax dollars to curry favor with GSI in an effort to secure employment with them. The graph below is an illustration of just that.*

Spokane County Contributions to GSI
Do you see that big red bar second toward the end? It represents the last public vote of Todd Mielke contributing your tax money to Greater Spokane, Inc., before he took the job as CEO of Greater Spokane, Inc. I wonder how hard it was to talk Spokane County Commissioner Shelley O’Quinn into it?

Either The Phantom Hunter can be a very charming man or he really knows how to bring some assets to a job interview. (Your assets, that is.)

Perhaps acting unethical isn’t new to the Phantom Hunter. Spokane County Commissioner Al French suggests it isn’t, to the extent maybe your Phantom Hunter broke the law as he and fellow Spokane County Commissioner Shelley O’Quinn enjoyed an extra-political relationship.

Wow! As Eric Clapton might say: hang on, hang on, hang on. If Commissioner French is right, two out of the three Spokane County Commissioners conjoined together. If they discussed any Spokane County business, they broke the law. I wonder if they kept minutes?

Trouble for The Phantom Hunter is sometimes the phantoms they hunt know how to hunt back, and the ones that hunt don’t chase speculation, or conjecture, or mere guessing. Our judgements are based on facts and actions.

In the game of economic development, there are those that are good at the sizzle but not so good at the steak. Then again, there are those that are good at the steak, but not so good at the sizzle. It’s a damn shame Spokane’s civic elite wouldn’t know the taste of beef if it was sitting on their tongue. In the meantime, we keep paying phantom hunters like Todd Mielke to chase apparitions.

If Spokane is to take a step forward, we need to stop paying GSI to hire phantom hunters. I could give a damn about the sizzle. I want some steak.




*Data fed into the graph stems from a Spokane County public records request that was so comprehensive and deep it nearly ruptured a kidney.