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Posts published in “Day: October 2, 2011”

McGee’s tipping point?

Idaho state Senator John McGee, R-Caldwell, has generated quite a string of negative headlines this year. Now one more apparently is on its way.

This one comes via Dennis Mansfield, the conservative Republican (former congressional and legislative candidate) who goes his own way on any number of matters. To this point, Mansfield raised the question of whether McGee, convicted some months back of DUI, should quit. With the latest, he specifically calls for resignation:

Because along with ALL those other things, I was told today by two very reputable sources that John McGee as a part of GOP Senate Leadership last year agreed to fire a key administrative secretary in the Idaho State Senate because she had been arrested on a DUI. (I am keeping her name anonymous for her sake and for her reputation.) BTW, she did not contact me, nor did anyone connected to her.

Senator McGee joined with GOP Leadership when they apparently announced to the Senate and others that this young secretary's firing had been brought about because of "behavior unbecoming the Idaho State Senate"

That point alone tips the scales for me.

We'll keep watch to see what response develops.

UPDATE There's more, in the form of some comments from Senate President pro tem Brent Hill and Senator Chuck Winder. Hill says the secretary had a second DUI atop the first, and that those might not have been the only factors involved in her case; and that she was not fired - though there was an implication that she was strongly encouraged to leave. Which makes her case harder externally to judge (given the limited number of facts available), but still suggests that there should have been some more sensitivity in the case of a legislator, who should be held to a higher standard.

Dodging the fires

For a second year, the Northwest seems to have mostly avoided the large wildfires that were such a plague only a few years ago.

The weather has to have a lot to do with it: The heavy rains earlier this year, substantial snowpacks and the summer that didn't really get underway until around Independence Day. Washington has been unusually lucky, with only a few substantial fires, mainly in the northeast. Oregon and Idaho have done nearly as well, though the fires circling Bend early last month were fierce enough to send their smoke across the Cascades. And Idaho has had some significant blazes, though of moderate size and generally well off from human habitation (many in remote areas in the region near Salmon).

Current federal wildfire mapping indicates four fires in Idaho, two in Oregon, none in Washington.

Some of this was luck, though. An Oregonian article out today notes that a massive area of the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southwest Oregon (around the Klamath Falls area) has been hit by pine beetles which have damaged immense stands of trees across 300,000 acres. "Foresters and firefighters held their breath when lightning storms swept through in August, sparking numerous fires but sparing the Fremont-Winema," the paper said.