Letters to the Editor

Reader Contributed

Roundabout Way - In reference your "Round and Round" article in the July 4 edition of The Inlander, it is with no small sense of frustration that I see that Spokane continues to draw virtually the opposite lessons from what I've been trying to convey concerning roundabouts during the 16 years I've lived here.

Judging from where they've been sited or proposed, why shouldn't Barbara Lampert and others perceive roundabouts as more of an impediment than as an aid to the flow of traffic? Despite my vast experience in the use of roundabouts during my 26 years abroad, I, too, doubt the efficacy of a roundabout where traffic is heavy from only one direction.

I don't think that Roger Flint or I, or anyone else, will be able to convince most Spokane drivers that roundabouts are widely used in Europe because of their effectiveness in keeping traffic moving while maintaining some semblance of order, unless they are located at intersections which let them prove that they can expedite the flow of heavy traffic from both directions better than any other alternative.

Given my own experience, I, profoundly disagree with Flint that Spokane is not ready for such a solution if it is correctly applied. I'll give him this, though. I'd rather not see them at all, if our imagination remains limited to using them as "traffic-calming" devices in neighborhoods that don't see heavy traffic in both directions.

Philip J. Mulligan

Spokane, Wash.

Cat Poisoning is Serious - I prosecuted the animal poisoning case and was labeled a cat lover who is notorious for being a publicity seeker by Spokesman-Review Editor Dave Oliveria. Ever since I was taken to the San Diego Zoo by my mother on my 10th birthday, I have loved all animals. Neither Oliveria nor his reporter Angie Gaddy contacted me on key issues raised in the editorial. It is possible Oliveria may have been misinformed. In fact, Gaddy was not even in the courtroom the second day of the trial, when defendant Dale Crooks, Jr., testified. Several defense witnesses, including Crooks' parents, testified for him, and were vigorously cross-examined by me as well. At issue was whether any "cat problem" existed or was being fabricated by the defendant to justify what he did.

Idaho allows animal poisoning to be charged as a felony. Two separate judges agreed. Crooks was charged with killing four of his neighbors' pet cats. This crime was premeditated, cruel and not based upon any reasonable threat to Crooks' person or property. All pets suffered by choking to death. Crooks lured the cats onto his parents' property to eat poisoned fish. He bragged to a friend, who cooperated with police. Crooks confessed.

Crooks did not deserve a plea bargain. I was never personally contacted by his defense attorney about pleading to one misdemeanor. The victims wanted full accountability for all animals and were willing to risk an acquittal by the jury. Tim Kolb -- the owner of three of the four poisoned cats -- was never warned by Crooks, but Crooks threatened to kill his cats two months before the poisoning, after Kolb had confronted Crooks about kicking one of his cats. The Crooks' family never complained to authorities about cats. No mention was made of any cat problem, nor did their records reflect any cat complaints until May 2002, several months after Crooks admitted to poisoning the cats. This case cost less than $150, plus jury costs.

Prosecutions of animal torture cases are not frivolous.

Jim Reierson

Kootenai County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

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