Pin It
Favorite

The Road To Recall 

Nobody thought it would go on this long. Conventional wisdom had it that any politician hit with this much controversy at once would curl up into the fetal position and cry. If they had the stomach to face the public, they'd quickly quit and go hide somewhere with a bottle of something stiff and cheap. But not Jim West. Not only did he show up for work the day the scandal broke in the Spokesman-Review last May, but after a short vacation, he came back swinging. He beat cancer, and he would beat this, seemed to be his approach.

 

West's decision to fight has taken the city on a wild ride, through the Web pages of Gay.com and into the marble halls of the state Supreme Court. And it's been populated with a cast of characters any good novelist would be proud of -- the tough-as-nails outraged mom, Shannon Sullivan... the shadowy ex-cop-for-hire lurking online, known only as "Motobrock"... and of course West himself, who proved to be a far more complicated person than anyone ever guessed, an enigma wrapped in a racy transcript.

The odds of surviving the recall were long to begin with, as 48 percent of the city voted for Tom Grant in the 2003 election. And West was never able to mount an effective defense to 28-year-old allegations of child molestation, other than to point out inconsistencies in the stories of his accusers, Michael Grant and Robert Galliher. It didn't seem to matter much that when the ballots went in the mail, and after 100-plus stories in the Review, the only proven charge against him was inappropriate use of his work computer.

The mayor's defense was twofold: that the city is making progress under his leadership and that the Review had invaded his privacy in its witch hunt for a good story. Review Editor Steve Smith seemed to prove West's defense with his righteousness, even telling the Seattle Times that he was "grinding him into dust."

In the end, West's highly evolved political survival instincts were probably right; he just couldn't make up that much ground. Maybe Spokane wasn't doing spectacularly well enough to warrant keeping him, or maybe his tirades against the newspaper were seen as a desperate ploy to save his job. Whatever the reason, as of Tuesday night, West had 10 days to clear out his office.

When that day comes and he walks out of City Hall, away from a remarkable political career, another page in the tumultuous political history of Spokane will be turned. Maybe Spokane will like the next chapter better.

  • Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • After the Deluge
  • After the Deluge

    Cleaning up Trump's hot mess is going to take some heroic leadership
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • <b>From Crimson &#10;to Purple</b>
  • From Crimson to Purple

    Bob Gregory was a Spokane-bred Cougar through and through; now he's prowling the sidelines for the Huskies
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Staying Engaged
  • Staying Engaged

    From the Mayfair Cafe to Central Park
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation