Jimmy Durante once said, "Everybody wants to get in on the act." That's what's hot in Spokane concerning the mayor. Let's rush to judgment based on a lurid media account. It's easily uttered, "No one is judging the mayor's orientation" (wink, wink: a deceitful ruse to denigrate gays). According to the reported e-mails: There was a Ram pickup. Where was the identity of the pickup first noted? Something is wrong here when we abandon the legal process and use news accounts to convict. Who's next?
If anyone is really angry, support the impeachment of George W. Bush. Minutes from a summer 2002 meeting involving British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveal that the Bush administration was ''fixing" the intelligence to justify invading Iraq. Have we forgotten the maimed and dead in an illegal war? That's relevant!
Edward Thomas Jr.
It's About Trust
I've read all the "letters," heard arguments that support Jim West and arguments that require his removal from office and listened carefully to what the mayor had to say. Though I'm not exactly a fan of Jim West, I know what it's like to be unfairly attacked and unfairly judged. Because of that, I've tried to be as objective as possible before coming to a final conclusion about whether our mayor should step down or fight to stay in office.
At first my advice to the mayor was to stand tall and proud if his denials of any wrongdoing were true. I have a hard time with the word "allegations." It's a nasty, life-changing word utilized too often by every segment of our media. The word "allegation" implies guilt and takes on a life of its own regardless of the outcome in the final judgment of an individual's actions.
So let's get rid of that word and all the relative subject matter regarding this issue.
When you take away the allegations and the finger-pointing you do have a few facts to look at, but very few. Still, they may be the most important tools we have to work with at this time. But before we do that let's take away all the arguments about whether or not Jim West has done a good job as Spokane's mayor or not. No one's going to win that argument because everyone's arguing from a perspective that suits their wants or needs and usually with insufficient knowledge to objectively make a fair and balanced decision to support their position.
Now let's get rid of the "good mayor, bad mayor" debaters.
What's left? Until we get some information from the investigations that are being conducted, we have little to work with. But I think it's not only enough, but enough to make a clear decision on the future of mayor Jim West in Spokane.
However, let's get rid of one more thing. Jim West is gay. We know because he said so and people have come forth who shared the gay experience with him. Not my call to judge that either. That's between Jim and God.
So now that all those distractions are out of the way, this is my question: If it were known by Spokane voters that Jim West was a gay candidate when he was running for mayor would he be our mayor today? Answer: Based on my experience with Spokane voters and our overall conservative nature, I would have to say "no." Jim West acquired the office of mayor through deception. We are taught as children that the omission of the truth is a lie. Jim West lied to us. Jim also condemned himself in his appearance on The Today Show. When asked about his anti-gay voting record, Mayor West said he was merely representing the wishes of his constituency, as previous elected officials from his district had done by voting along like lines. The mayor's answer begs the question: If your constituency at that time, which is a great part of your constituency now, didn't support gay issues, why would they support a gay mayor; especially one who acquired his office by hiding in a closet? I seriously doubt they would.
So there it is. In that last paragraph are contained the reasons why I believe Jim West isn't qualified to be this great city's mayor. It's about honesty and trust. I want an honest mayor that I can trust.
Jim West is not that man.
In "Pinching Panhandlers" (6/2/05), a quote by Kim Rasp, a member of the Spokane Homeless Coalition's Leadership Board, was improperly attributed to Downtown COPS Vice President, Betty Findley. The quote should read: "Personally, I don't give panhandlers money," says Kim Rasp. "Do I give them granola bars with my business card attached? Of course I do."