The Nose: Please promise not to give Justin Bieber a key to the city

TheNose@thenewstribune.comMarch 7, 2014 

But does it open the door to the executive washroom?


Accepting a key to the city is a big honor and an even bigger responsibility.

The poobahs will clap for you, take your picture and distract you with the bright shiny object. But then they expect you to let yourself into City Hall and water the plants on weekends. And clean the cats’ litterbox when the mayor’s on vacation.

Hopefully, Derek “DC” Clark read the fine print before he became the proud owner of Tacoma’s key to the city this week.

The award-winning gospel music producer, known on Twitter as @DC253, was given the ceremonial gold trinket at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Far be it from us to determine whether Clark is a worthy recipient. The Schnoz can’t be trusted with a key to a gym locker, let alone a city.

But we know this much about Tacoma’s newest keyholder – he oozes affection for his hometown. You’d have thought he won an Oscar.

“When I travel the globe, I don’t say I’m from Seattle,” Clark told the council. “If they have more questions, I tell them to Google Tacoma.”

Through the decades, T-Town has had gold keys and silver keys and keys with electric bolts shooting out the end. There have been two-fisters and keys you can hold in one hand.

We’re still waiting for the Brown & Haley key dipped in milk chocolate and wrapped in foil.

But no key for Groucho: A colorful who’s-who list of people have received Tacoma keys, mostly dignitaries who blew through town.

Comedian Chico Marx. President Jimmy Carter. Basketball legend Bill Russell. Just to name a few.

Actor Darren McGavin, at least, spent his teenage years living in Tacoma at the Jessie Dyslin Boys Ranch. McGavin got his key in 1967 while appearing at the grand opening of the Value Village thrift store in South Tacoma.

Thankfully, Tacoma no longer hands out keys like candy canes at Christmas. Before this week, the last one was awarded in 2011. During the reign of Mayor Bill Baarsma (2002-2009): “It was very rare. I can think of five or six at most,” Double B told The Nose.

Our favorite key giveaway happened in 1951, shortly after the opening of the Narrows Bridge. The mayors of Tacoma and Gig Harbor symbolically exchanged keys.

Rumor has it the Gig Harbor mayor then went home and changed the locks.

Keyless entry: The city of Tacoma should create a different token to give to individuals it tolerates (barely) and endures (through clenched teeth).

Public employee unions. The News Tribune. Citizens who attend council meetings and yammer endlessly about plastic bags.

These are the people the city knows must be granted access to the house. But they don’t necessarily have to be allowed to enter through the front door.

Let them henceforth be bestowed ... the garage door opener to the city!

Shellfish acts: We figured the pols in O-Town had used up all their energy and harmony for the week when they passed a bill designating Palouse Falls as Washington’s official waterfall.

But they had just enough left in the tank Wednesday to overwhelmingly endorse the ostrea lurida as the state’s official oyster.

And to yuk it up on House floor.

“Some say the oyster is nature’s Viagra,” said Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview.

He must’ve been thinking of the geoduck.

Below the belt: Last week we reported that a European bra-and-panties clothier was selling luxury ladies leggings, aka Tacoma Trousers, for $360 a pair.

Now, thanks to Kevin McCarty at KIRO, we find out there’s another pair of pants named for our city — what are the odds? — and these, we could almost see ourselves wearing.

Carhartt Tacoma Ripstop Pants. Find ’em online for less than $50 a pair.

Made with rip-and-tear-resistant fabric for the manly Tacoman who gets his butt caught in the gears down at the Simpson ... er, RockTenn ... sawmill.

Another selling point is the “comfortable gusseted crotch.”

Not sure what that is, but sounds like something we need.

Sticker shock: Tacoma Trousers really shouldn’t cost a penny more than $253, according to a loyal nasalite named Mark from the hill south of Puyallup.

If the makers are going to charge $360, he observes, they should at least name them after the right town in the right area code.

Olympia Overalls.

Instead of velvet, they’ll be made with material that fits the local trade.


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