You'd think we were asking them to build a bridge

President Obama picked Kansas to win the men’s NCAA tourney. This guy argues that letting employees engage in a little March Madness is no harm, no foul.

So we thought we’d survey local officials on who they have in the Final Four, and who they picked to win it all.

Given the popularity of March Madness, we came up a little short. Is this what they mean when they say public officials are out of touch with the people?

Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo? Not a sports person. (But if Notre Dame is involved, he’d vote for them because that’s where his son goes to school. “Fighting Irish all the way baby,” he said. Yes, Mr. Mayor, the Irish are a 2 seed.)

Deputy Mayor Phil Haberthur was able to fill in for Ciraulo last month to give the State of the City address, but he was no substitute here. No time to fill out a bracket, he said.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt? No time. Someone did it for him. He doesn’t know his picks.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart: “Sorry. Didn’t have time to fill out a bracket or watch enough ball to know who’ll win. Had several requests to do one.”

Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick admitted to following his heart: “I am a loyal Husky, picking Washington to win it all. Of course everyone is scoffing at my picks, but they won’t be when the University of Washington (a 7 seed) is cutting down the nets.”

OK. Now we are getting somewhere.

Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey: “At Rotary this week they were conducting a fundraiser by selling spots on this. I randomly selected “Uconn.” I assume that is University of Connecticut?”

Well, give him a break. He works for the county, not the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Clark County Clerk Scott Weber said he doesn’t follow basketball; Prosecutor Tony Golik said his deputies fill out brackets but it’s just not his thing.

Deputy prosecutors. Sure. We know they do the real work anyway.

Deputy Prosecutor Bernard Veljacic said he has Ohio State, Duke, Wisconsin and Notre Dame in the Final Four, and picked the Blue Devils to win it all.

Veljacic agreed that it doesn’t take much to fill out a bracket.

“I took the five minutes and made my guesses. I don’t follow anything other than looking at the headlines in the sports page when they mention Gonzaga, Seattle U, the Huskies, etc. I think that’s the beauty of it. Its the great equalizer. Lori Volkman over here usually does way better than I do and she follows it less than me.”

Volkman said she had to stay home the other day with a sick child, so she had time to study her picks: Ohio State, Kansas, Duke and Florida, with Kansas winning the “The Big Dance.”

At The Columbian, we manage our time so efficiently we can take the five minutes to submit our picks.

Editor Lou Brancaccio has University of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and Florida in the Final Four. He picked … yawn … Florida to win.

My Final Four is Duke, Ohio State, Pitt and Notre Dame. Like Veljacic, I picked Duke to win.

Marissa’s Final Four? Duke, Kansas, University of North Carolina and BYU. She, like Volkman, went with Kansas.

But newsroom participation is not mandatory.

Asked for her picks, Andrea said only, “Go Blue.”

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