by Inlander Readers
Welcome to Cowlesville
The Cowles empire intends to force a change at City Hall. They control almost everything else. Spokane might as well be renamed "Cowlesville." Their Spokesman-Review's tabloid expos & eacute; of Mayor Jim West first required the making of news so it could then be reported on, which is intellectually dishonest. If this newspaper reported it was raining, I'd want to actually feel the raindrops falling on my head. (Recall the B.J. Thomas hit song?)
A case I prosecuted in July 2002 gives me a unique perspective on how selective the Spokesman-Review actually is when it comes to printing the correct facts on a story. They took the inane position that it was frivolous and a waste of taxpayers' money to prosecute a young man who confessed to police he intentionally lured and then killed his neighbors' four pet animals with poison in Post Falls, Idaho. All the pets suffered terribly before they died.
When the trial started, under the guise of picking up pictures of the pets the owners had agreed to release to the Spokesman-Review to publish, their reporter snooped inside my private office at the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney's Office to target me, initially in a front-page story, and later in an editorial containing numerous factual errors and intentional misrepresentations. The editor who wrote the piece made no effort to contact me to verify factual details. It was a hatchet job, plain and simple.
Unfortunately, this editorial sent a message to those who enjoy torturing and killing defenseless pets. Within two months, more than 20 separate reports were made to Coeur d'Alene Police of pets either being abducted or shot and killed with pellet guns.
It is no secret that Jim West made life for gay and lesbian people of Washington state more difficult, more threatened, more persecuted and less safe. His policies and passions show him to be a destructive and dangerous politician who has no sense of personal decency or professional maturity. Because of West, many more gay men are at risk for HIV and denied services for HIV treatment. This is a man who has long held beliefs that condemn gay people, showing him to be a coward and a hypocrite of the worst kind. That he is asking for emotional sanctuary with the gay community and claiming gay discrimination is just too much to bear. West is a terrorist for gays and deserves no quarter from gay persons. He should be exiled to a red state and made to stay there. Then he'd see what true discrimination is like.
Scary on the Street
I read your "On the Street" column in your May 12 issue and, as I'm sure others were, I was immediately affected by the comment from a man who mentioned that West should leave office because he is a homosexual -- using the always intelligent phrase, "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."
I am writing this letter to thank you for printing that comment, strange as this sounds, because I think it exposes something very important about our city. It shows the high level of intolerance that unfortunately still exists in this area. This problem was one of those that you could ignore when someone in social circles made the occasional insensitive comment, but the recent issues concerning the mayor have truly brought it to light.
It causes one to wonder if the backlash toward our mayor has less to do with the fact that he made hypocritical choices as a legislator and has greatly abused his power in unlawful ways and more with the fact that he has admitted to sexual relationships with adult men.
Many people in this community have conveniently forgotten the fact that the charges against him are unproven allegations. But even if all charges against him were disproved, would he still be convicted in the court of public opinion simply because of who he chooses to share his bed with? A comment like the one you printed makes the answer seem more and more like yes, and that is truly sad.
I didn't vote for Jim West, but I still believe in the theory of innocent until proven guilty. I just think that when a situation like this happens, it is a good time for all of us to stop and analyze our own priorities.
Publication date: 06/02/05