It helps to read the paper

Clark County commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore don’t read The Columbian. They’re rather obdurate on the matter, steadfastly refusing in most instances to even acknowledge the paper’s existence. They refer to The Reflector, North County’s community weekly, as Clark County’s real paper.

And why not? They’ve already banned The Columbian from the county’s communal areas because it’s bad for employee morale. On top of that, they handed a lucrative legal notice publication contract to The Reflector last month, against the wishes of the county’s purchasing manager. When it comes to news, The Columbian in particular, it’s like they’ve closed their eyes, plugged their ears and started screaming “la la la la — I can’t hear you! — la la la la” at the top of their lungs.

So what happens when the county’s two remaining commissioners willfully refuse to read the news? Shockingly, it means they have a tendency not to process generally accepted bits of information and seem to lack knowledge outside their own narrow purviews. That was on display at this week’s board time meeting, and we’ve got the audio to prove it.

1. Mielke acknowledges reading some information in “newspapers” about the Clark County Democrats ranking the three candidates on their list to succeed outgoing Commissioner Steve Stuart. “So far it’s only rumor,” he says.

It’s actually not a “rumor” at all. As The Columbian reported, the Democrats met last month and made former Commissioner Craig Pridemore their top choice to succeed Stuart. Ultimately, Mielke and Madore, both Republicans, will be in charge of making that decision. It should be a pretty easy one, considering Pridemore previously served on the board and that even Kelly Love Parker, another name on the Democrats’ list, said she would support his appointment.

She made that statement in The Columbian, though, so Mielke probably missed it.

2. In response to County Administrator Mark McCauley saying he read something about a C-Tran meeting in “the paper,” Madore responds with, “You mean The Reflector?”

Madore isn’t above taking some digs at The Columbian. And that’s fine. But this isn’t a particularly good one. The Reflector didn’t even publish a story about C-Tran advancing Bus Rapid Transit at its Tuesday meeting (The Columbian did). Apparently, Madore doesn’t read either┬ápaper.

3. Mielke is confused about whether the county can outright ban recreational marijuana businesses from developing in the county. McCauley explains that state Attorney General Bob Ferguson ruled that jurisdictions have the ability to ban recreational pot, if they choose to do so.

The Columbian reported on the attorney general’s decision the day he made it.┬áThe paper even posted the entire decision on the website. It was, after all, a very important decision with ramifications on how jurisdictions regulate the newly legal substance.

4. Mielke talks about the county’s rationale for handing the paper of record designation to The Reflector. He obtusely refers to some “scoring mechanism newspapers have” that gave The Reflector a high score than The Columbian. When McCauley asks where Mielke saw this, he responds, “I’ll have to go back and look.”

Surely, some time could have been saved at Wednesday’s board time meeting had the commissioners read some news stories. But that aversion seems unlikely to change.




Tyler Graf

Tyler Graf

I started working for The Columbian in 2012 and currently cover Clark County. I'm a 2007 graduate of The University of Oregon. Contact me at

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