February 24, 2013 in Opinion

Editorial: Mike Fagan’s ‘lying whore’ slur a return to his weasel ways

 

The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Members of The Spokesman-Review editorial board help to determine The Spokesman-Review's position on issues of interest to the Inland Northwest. Board members are:

Back when Mike Fagan was running around town in a weasel costume and heckling George Nethercutt for reneging on his term limits pledge, he compared the congressman’s change of heart to the still-fresh massacre at Columbine High School. When asked how he connected those disparate dots, he replied that Nethercutt’s decision “does not set a very good example for children or adults.”

And calling Gov. Jay Inslee “a lying whore” does? The city councilman says he wasn’t a city councilman when that slur was conveyed, so there’s no need to apologize. Leaving aside his low standards for political activists, Fagan needs to realize that he’s always on the clock as an elected official. The Jim West scandal stands as prime example.

This flap began when Fagan, who works with Voters Want More Choices, co-signed a fundraising email sent Thursday by initiatives entrepreneur Tim Eyman. Along with the usual Eyman bombast about “a tax-hiking rampage,” the email included this:

“Candidate Inslee repeatedly promised to veto any tax increase. He said no way to higher transportation taxes in 2013. Inslee said he’d grow jobs to generate more tax revenue. What a lying whore he turned out to be.”

The statement was within the bounds of acceptable political discourse until that last sentence, which only added bile. But Eyman has stuck by those words, and Fagan hasn’t apologized, though the state Republican Party chairman, Kirby Wilbur, has called on Eyman to do so.

“There is no question that’s beyond the pale and is uncalled for,” Wilbur said in a Seattle Times article.

Spokane City Council members Ben Stuckart, Amber Waldref and Jon Snyder signed a letter condemning the slur. When reached Friday by the editorial board, council members Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori also said it was unacceptable.

Allen called Fagan’s choice of words “inappropriate and unprofessional.” Salvatori concurred, noting that “it reflects poorly on Spokane.” He advised an apology “not for his position, but for his choice of words.” Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.

Mayor David Condon condemned the email on Friday, saying, “This language doesn’t represent the community we all live in.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Fagan represents the community and doesn’t get to clock out and turn up the rage. If he wants the freedom to be sophomoric, he can return to full-time activism.

When Fagan took office, we were concerned that his activist heart would overcome his public servant head. Up until last week, we were pleasantly surprised with his ability to keep a civil tongue and work well with others. As a candidate, Fagan noted the need to temper himself on a variety of issues and focus on the job of running a city.

He should return to being that council member, just as soon as he apologizes.


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