November 20, 2005 in City

They said it

The Spokesman-Review
 

Excerpts from interviews about The Spokesman-Review’s coverage of molestation and abuse-of-power allegations involving Mayor Jim West:

“I’m grateful that the paper’s covered this … (But) it just feels like The Spokesman-Review, in their frustration that this hasn’t resulted in a resignation or arrest, are just continuing with this hammering.”

Penny Lancaster, conservative social advocate

“Certainly he (West) should have a private life, like anybody else. I can’t imagine what he was thinking when he was using his city computer for his own personal sex tours or whatever. He’s been using government computers for 30 years. How could he not know this would come back to haunt him? It’s just weird.”

Robert Glatzer, Spokane film critic

“He was doing a good job in Spokane as mayor. He screwed up here and needs to correct his ways, but he needs to be given a fair chance.”

Gregory Prekeges, a retiree who donated $35 to West’s campaign to stay in office.

“People are taught from an early age that if it’s in writing, it’s true. I don’t have a newspaper. I can’t write my side of the story.”

Jim West

“I did not believe the stories at all. I believe it was a bunch of made-up propaganda. Since May, I have not believed anything the paper’s written at all.”

Robert Oliver, a retired truck driver and mechanic

“This is not an anti-gay kind of story. It’s a story about a public official allegedly abusing his authority. Did he use his government-owned property to pursue these private interests? That’s always been what it’s about.”

Dave Demers, associate professor and media sociologist, Washington State University

“I personally believe that if he had been seeking sexual activity with 17-, 18-year-old young girls that he would no longer be in office. I think it would be worse.”

Steve Smith, Spokesman-Review editor

“I’ll tell you the truth: I was surprised that the Spokesman came out with that (coverage), because the paper had so strongly endorsed him.”

Sally Jackson, longtime local Democratic leader

“I would hope that The Spokesman-Review asked itself, ‘Would we do the same thing if it were our publisher or best friend under investigation?’ It’s the centerpiece of fairness. But the practicalities of putting out a daily newspaper make that kind of thoughtful deliberation exceedingly rare, if not nonexistent.”

Susan Ross, associate professor

and media law expert, WSU

“I think the reason he hasn’t been able to raise a lot of money is real simple: I think a lot of his supporters are bummed out. And I’m one of them.”

Dick Westerman, a friend of West’s

“I may be getting a little tired of it, but it’s still news.”

Levi Wylie, Spokane Valley bookkeeper

“It’s fair reporting. I think it’s ridiculous that a newspaper should be expected to pull its punches or withhold information. It wasn’t a witch hunt. I saw it mainly as a gross oversight on West’s part.”

Jorma Knowles, student and restaurant worker


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