Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Revelations About Our Lying Mayor

I guess not setting up my digital converter box proved to be a wrong decision. I was hoping for a quiet summer in which I would focus nearly all of my energies on landing a new job before my three year anniversary of arriving to Portland passed me by (in August). I figured summer would be a slow news season. Boy, was I wrong. Election fraud and protests in Iran! A D.C. Metro train accident! The Oregon Attorney General's long awaited report on the investigation of Portland's mayor! Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada confessing to an extra-marital affair! The disappearance of Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, where even his staff members and wife thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, only to show up in the arms of his Argentine lover, bawling like he's Evita Peron on the balcony of the Casa Rosada! Holy moly! And to top it off, President Obama gave a televised Town Hall meeting on Health Care last night. I'm missing out on some major news events.

But, as much as I want to comment on these stories, Willamette Week (always released on Wednesday) had a special cover page article on their take of the Attorney General's 17-page report about Mayor Sam Adams. They were the ones who did the initial investigation into the rumour and presented the evidence in an interview with Sam Adams, who denied everything before he left for D.C. in mid-January. Sometime in those four days between that interview and his public admission, the details the reporters dug up must have convinced him that he could not convincingly continue to lie when the story was published the following week. This alternative weekly newspaper was also the one that revealed in 2004 that the formerly beloved Mayor Neil Goldschmidt (who led Portland in the 1970s before being selected to President Carter's cabinet) had a sexual relationship with a 14 year old babysitter during his tenure as Mayor. This news revelation turned "Goldschmidt" into a dirty and toxic word. Too bad that news didn't break while he was Mayor, for he would've been removed from office and not been asked to serve as Secretary of Transportation during the Carter years.

Anyhow, because of the good reporting of this alternative weekly newspaper, I was quite anxious to read their take on the Attorney General's report. They did not let me down. There were several good information I hadn't heard or read about previously (how can there be more than what we already know? Its a scandal that keeps on giving!). The article featured 14 items that the Willamette Week reporters learned from the report (wow...even they learned a few things!).

One of the three items I find most interesting include a section about Jennifer Yocom, the campaign manager of his successful 2008 Mayoral race who is currently his policy director of arts and culture. According to the article (the italicized and bolded passages below are lifted directly from the article), Yocom was "worried when Adams displayed a knowledge of other states’ ages of consent for sex with minors, and she urged investigators to probe whether Adams took Breedlove to Washington state."

She was also concerned "because she was going to be his campaign manager and advisor and had not even started the position, and there was already a scandal,” the AG’s report says. “She said she wanted him to assure her there was no inappropriate contact or a relationship prior to her accepting the position as his campaign manager. He assured her that there was not...She told Adams she could continue to work for him if he would be honest with her about it. Yocom told investigators Adams did not respond.

Yocom also said that in an interview with an unidentified reporter after the story broke, Adams was asked what he thinks the age of consent should be. Yocom told investigators she urged Adams not to answer the question, but that he told the reporter off the record there are 20 states where the age of consent is under 18.

“Yocom was concerned that Adams answered this and had knowledge pertaining to other states’ legal age of consent,” the AG’s report says. “She learned that Washington’s age of consent is 16 years of age. Yocom said she feels it is important that this topic be addressed with Breedlove and Adams.”

The report says Yocom was visibly upset during the interview.

“She said it is hard for her and other colleagues,” the report says. “She said for her sake she felt she needed to address Adams because she was very emotional and angry.”

After her interview, Yocom called an investigator to clarify by stating she had no knowledge Adams and Breedlove traveled outside of Oregon. She said she simply wanted the investigation to be “as thorough as possible.”

I was quite surprised and impressed with the way they presented Jennifer. As well as proud. When I volunteered on the campaign last year, I enjoyed working with her and learning about local politics, campaign strategy, and just having a good laugh about some of the more ridiculous political moments in the Republican primary. I thought of her as a good and honourable person, trustworthy, and someone I would enjoy working for and/or with. I'm glad to see that impression confirmed in this article. She did the right thing, raising concerns about her candidate's behaviour. He put her in a really bad spot with his lying.

The most disturbing revelation is that Adams knew which states had a lower age of consent law, with Washington state at 16 years of age. This puts into a new light, Adams traffic accident on Jantzen Beach this past May. He had claimed that he went to Vancouver to see a movie with a friend, when there are plenty of theaters in Portland. Was he really watching the Wolverine, or was he doing something else? It's pretty sick that he would use a different state's letter of the law to do something he obviously knew was illegal in Oregon.

Jennifer has a good job, so I doubt that she'd resign. It'll be interesting to see if Adams survives the recall and runs for reelection in 2012, if she will once again serve as his campaign manager. All I know is that I will never vote for Adams for any office again. I look forward to working on the campaign of whoever his main opponent will be in 2012. I hope, though, that the recall effort will be successful and his tenure as mayor (and future political aspirations) will end this year.

The second fascinating thing about the Willamette Week article was the revelation that Mayor Adams had a resignation letter already written. It was actually a pretty noble gesture. When I read the entire thing online Tuesday evening, I was impressed that he would write something like that. It ran against what I've learned about Adams in the past couple years (his bullying impulse and tendency to lie his way out of trouble, which only gets him into deeper trouble). Had he submitted this letter of resignation, I would've gained tremendous respect for him. The letter was dated 22 January and he would've resigned effectively at 2 p.m. that day.

Of course, he didn't resign and decided to ride this scandal out. With the Attorney General's report basically calling Beau Breedlove an unreliable witness and all out liar who can't be trusted, once again someone takes a fall for Adams' lying and career ambitions. Bad Sam lives to fight another battle while Good Sam (the one who contemplated getting some much needed therapy about his personal demons) dies. The question he truly a changed man? "Humbled?"

Finally, the third most intriguing item in the article is a letter that was found in Sam's computer which attempts to explain his pattern of destruction regarding his love life. The content is shocking not for its salacious descriptions as much as the amount of mispelled words and names. He's either a horrible speller or a bad typist. As I read it, I had to stifle my laughter (I was reading it in a public place) because it is hilarious and I find it too incredible to be believed. You mean, Sam was so distraught because he fell for a straight man that he decided to take the passive role in letting other people ask him out on a date rather than face the humiliation of his "gaydar" not working properly? I have the contents of the document quoted below in its entirety. It totally gives a different impression of Sam. Not the predator he truly is, but a victim! He's only a victim of his lying self. If he truly wants to make amends, he should try brutal honesty from this day forward. That way, he won't have to worry about if his stories are correct, and backtracking, and having to think what lies he told to which people.

I've read on some blogs, comments about the Attorney General's report and the Willamette Week article. Some Sam defenders continue to say that this is pointless information, its none of our business, its a witch hunt, we have no right to judge, yadda yadda yadda. However, I bet some of these people were outraged when Republican Congressman Mark Foley was revealed to have sent x-rated text messages to underage Pages who serve in Congress. Or were appalled to learn about Neil Goldschmidt's relationship with a 14 year old girl hired to babysit his children. Where's the consistency? Is such personal and private details a business of the public?

My personal belief is that serving in public office is an honour and because of its nature of representing the public interest, there is a public good at stake. If someone has something to hide or exhibits conduct that undermines the public trust, they have no right to serve in public office. There are many good people who want to serve, but it seems like the most unsavory characters win elections.

Sam Adams may be pleased with the report and believe in his heart that he is fully exonerated from any wrongdoing. But, when he looks in the mirror, he has to see what a liar he really is. He and Breedlove may be the only two people on the planet who knows the truth about when their affair started, but his actions and lies reveal a man guilty of major impropriety. It's hard to regain the public trust after so sordid a scandal.

Without further delay, I present Sam Adams' explanation for his pathetic love life (all spelling errors were left intact):

So before I answer your questions, I want to give you some more details
about my life in late 2004 into 2005. My prupose in providing this background is not to excuse away any of the reposnsbility that I now take for my actions, but to publically explain what I have learned looking back on my own mistakes in judgement.

In 2005 I was still recovering after the amicable but painful break up with my expartener of 11 years who had moved out of our house in December 2004. I should have taken some alone time to reflect on my failed relationship but my well-documented trait for action in luie of reflection kicked in.

I was trying to move on by dating. I had never been out of the closet as gay and single. So that was new. I have notoriously bad “gaydar.” And I had a bad experince showing an interest in someone who turned out to be a straight guy.

And it seemed creepy to ask strangers out when they met me in the context of being the “the commissioner.”

These factors left me aimlessly circling in a dating culdesac.

I decided to only date guys who asked me out.

I dated John Vizzina in spring 2005 because he dropped a note asking to my office asking me on a date. I adventurllay dated Bueau Breedlove in summer of 2005 because he gave me a card and then asked me to lunch. In hindsight I should not have been dating at all. I was not ready again for it. I was not honest with John oe Bueau that seeing both of them. I was stupid enough to take John to Bueau’s 18th birthday party. So when they ran into each other on the street any traded notes they must have both realitzed the smuch I was bring.

It is humiltaing to have to share these detailed short comings of my personal life. But necessary to fill out the public record. I am a public figure and I knew the rules of the spotlight when I signed up to seek this job.

In the past four years I have leatrned a lot in the dating world. And I have found a very special person. I have been dating peter for the last 10 months and it has been great. I still work hard but I have more balance in my life.

I have leanred how to be more honest in my romatoinc realrtionships. How better to engage the dating scene as a public figure. I have learned an age difference of over 20 years was too big, That for me to date some as young a beau is not right because it is not fair them.

I apologize to Beau for asking him to lie for me.
I apologize to my colleagues for my poor handling of this matter.
I apologize to the people of Portland for my dishonesty.
As one of its leaders, I want to apoligize to the gay community for embarrassing them. I should have been truthful from the beginning.

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