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Other View: Jeff Sessions and others: Don't quit!

In an extraordinary interview with The New York Times, President Donald Trump was inappropriately critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is stunning that a president would so publicly criticize one of his most loyal senior supporters. Trump’s interview was almost an invitation for Sessions to resign. The attorney general should not do so.

Jeff Sessions, please hang in there.

There are many good people serving in this administration, under difficult circumstances. The circumstances are not difficult because of a foreign threat, economic calamity or effective political opposition. They are difficult because of the conduct, temperament and character of the president.

Nonetheless, it is vital that the good people who function as the anchors of the Trump administration stay in place and serve for as long as they can. Without them, things would be worse. The American political system could become more fragile and our country could be in peril.

Everyone working in an administration always wants the president’s confidence. But if the things you have to do to maintain that confidence are inconsistent with performing in a way that best serves American interests, then you should keep doing your job despite knowing that the president is dissatisfied with your work.

It is easy to see how people such as national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are pivotal to ensuring the worst does not happen. Their presence guarantees that America’s weapons arsenal is safe and our defenses are at the ready. But there are also scores of other White House staff members and executive agency leaders who are vital to keeping some semblance of a rational functioning of the bureaucracy.

Jeff Sessions is one such person. He knows what to do as attorney general and what is best for the country—even if the president does not. We owe Sessions and others more because they are serving in the Trump administration, not less.

Trump is erratic and too often unappreciative of those serving in his administration. He is unnecessarily dismissive of their contributions and peddles unsubstantiated mistruths that degrade morale throughout the White House, his administration and the entire federal government.

Given the president’s predilection to throwing anyone and everyone around him under the bus when the times are tough, I worry that there could be a wholesale exodus from the administration after the midterm elections (if not before) and an inability to refill vital posts with good people.

So, to Sessions and others who are serving in the Trump administration, remember that your commitment may not always be to the man, Donald Trump, but to the institution that you serve and to the presidency itself. Hang in there. Don’t quit.

And for those of you thinking about accepting a job in the administration but have doubts after reading stories such as the one in the New York Times, ignore them. Take that job and do your best. A lot of people will be thankful you did. And a lot of people will be pulling for you.

Even if the president fails to realize that he needs good people around him, the fact is, America needs good people. Perhaps that much is true now more than ever and becoming more true as conditions deteriorate.

The honorable thing to do at a time like this is not quit, but stay and try to keep the worst from happening.

Other View: John McCain's living legacy is to show us the kind of leadership that's possible

If Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were to die tomorrow, his legacy as a patriot, hero and maverick would be secure, but I don’t think history is done with him yet. I think his finest hours may lie ahead.

Every now and then in Washington something happens that temporarily shakes the body politic out of its cynical torpor: the death of a president; a terrorist attack; the mass shooting of children. And now the terrible news that McCain has the same form of aggressive brain cancer that felled Ted Kennedy may have a similar impact. It may awaken our leaders to a new sense of what’s important, what’s possible, what’s required of them.

McCain’s potential death sentence may have given him new life to write a final chapter in his life. Already beloved by many of his colleagues, revered by the press and respected by the public, McCain’s voice can ring louder and clearer than ever. He can summon Congress to work together to pass a bipartisan health-care bill and to engage in job-creating tax reform. He could even consider resuming his leadership on immigration reform and global warming that waned in recent years. He would be the center of attention and affection, and he has a rare opportunity to make what could be his last days count.

Finally, can one think of a starker contrast to Donald Trump’s narcissistic laziness than John McCain’s selfless heroism? Just by living, McCain reminds Americans of what a leader can do and be, and that they don’t have to settle for the low standards set by our current president.

McCain is almost free, free from a life of expectations, the burdens of torture and also much joy. But he will not go quietly. Once again, he will lead by example and show us the way it can be done.

Our View: Have you seen Main Ave? Check out the first finished block

It didn’t take long for the first updated block of downtown Twin Falls to return to hustle and bustle once crews removed the traffic cones and dignitaries cut a shiny red ribbon.

Between Shoshone and Gooding streets, Main Avenue was packed Thursday with cars, shoppers and folks enjoying a beverage or bite to eat al fresco on the new super-wide, brick-lined sidewalks in front of O’Dunken’s Draught House, Slice Pizza, Twin Falls Sandwich Co. and Guppies Hot Rod Grille. Leaves from the newly planted trees whistled in a summer breeze. A man walked his dog. Two young women loaded shopping bags into their car. They backed out of their parking space, and a moment later another car took the spot — the only one that wasn’t already filled.

Yes, it’s back to business, and then some.

Completing the first block is a significant accomplishment in the summer-long downtown remodel. The $6.4 million Urban Renewal Agency streets project is part of a larger renovation that includes a new city hall and police station — all told, the largest, most expensive and visually striking remake of downtown in decades.

For now, this one block is only an island in a sea of construction. Apart from this one block, the old sidewalks remain open, but big barriers at both ends of Main still block traffic as crews work outward, jackhammering away old roadway and sidewalks to make way for a flawless ribbon of concrete, brickwork, trees, benches, lampposts, signs and a new subterranean network of water pipes and electrical wires.

But, finally, we have a glimpse of what Main Avenue will look like once the full project is expected to finish, later in the fall.

And it looks pretty cool.

Most striking are those wide sidewalks, with plenty of room for pedestrians moving both directions and for businesses to move dining tables and umbrellas street-side. The sidewalks alone are going to give downtown a much different vibe during community festivals.

The one-block opening is also a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel for the businesses whose storefronts are still being blocked by construction. If anybody is worried people who’ve been avoiding downtown during construction won’t return, think otherwise.

Now is also a good time to remember all the businesses whose sections of Main are still under a cloud of construction dust. Parking is plentiful in the lots behind these shops, accessible via the Second avenues. Some businesses are offering specials and deals during the construction. All would appreciate your business.

Thankfully, most businesses aren’t complaining. Sales at Rudy’s — A Cook’s Paradise were actually up while its storefront was blocked. Other business owners say they can’t wait until the project is finished.

Progress tends to beget progress, and if the first block is any indication, downtown Twin Falls has a bright future.

Letter: More to the story on apartment plan

More to the story

on apartment plan

We read with interest your summary of the public hearing on re-zoning 10 acres close to the canyon between Harrison and Fillmore streets from R-1 to R-6, but we think the issue still needs to be clarified as it was not fully discussed at the City Council meeting.

Access from this property to Pole Line Road is limited. The property would be connected to Fillmore Street via Canyon Falls Road (currently a bike path). No matter how this is developed, traffic will increase on Fillmore. Everyone understands this and agrees that the property should be developed, and that traffic will increase.

All the Breckenridge residents are asking is that the property not be zoned for the highest population density allowed by Twin Falls zoning (R-6). The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended a designation of R-4, which allows for a less dense residential development.

The reason for this recommendation is that traffic already backs up from the roundabout by the Visitors Center to Zions Bank at certain times of the day. Overloading roads that are already close to capacity with the highest density residential development is a bad idea, and one that cannot be reversed.

We hope that the City Council will take the time to consider the traffic situation, ask questions about the maximum number of residential units allowed under each zoning class, and objectively decide the appropriate zoning based on these facts before overruling its own Planning and Zoning Commission.

Jim Stevens

President, Breckenridge Place HOA