Spokane Mayor James West will leave public office this month after voters recalled him in a special election. The reason is for the recall is over “allegations he used a city computer to woo gay men over the Internet.”
West, a former Boy Scout executive and sheriff’s deputy, was elected mayor in 2003 after serving more than two decades as a conservative Republican in the state Legislature, where he voted against gay-friendly bills.
A little more than half of the 110,000 ballots mailed to voters were counted in the first batch of results released Tuesday night. Of those, 38,718, or 65 percent, voted to recall West, while 20,681, or 35 percent, voted to retain him.
The recall campaign began after the Spokesman-Review newspaper reported in May that West was a closeted homosexual who visited gay chat rooms using his city-owned laptop computer, and offered internships and other favors to young men he hoped to have sex with.
One wonders how many more Republicans are lurking quietly in their closets. Perhaps the homophobic tendencies within the GOP are best explained by a strong sense of denial.