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Mayor Sam Adams and his teenage “Beau”

Mayor Sam Adams admitted yesterday that he had a relationship with a young man, and lied about it.

Forgive me, I’m still working through the information that our newly elected Mayor Sam Adams not only had a relationship with an 18-year-old intern, but lied about it.

It has been a strange morning. The cynical part of me has to wonder why, on the day we are so happy to be celebrating the dawning of a new age, the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, I must also lose some of my faith in a man I greatly respect.


Nevertheless, I do find the comparisons to Neal Goldschmidt insulting. While “dating” a teenager may be a bit sleazy, there is a huge difference between 18 and 14. That’s why we have age of consent laws. An 18-year-old may be inexperienced and make all kinds of poor decisions (as can 21-year-olds, 27-year-olds, and apparently those over 40 as well), but we have deemed them legally able to make a decision about who they choose to have sex with. At 14 you are a child, at 18 you are an adult. This is most certainly arguable on all kinds of levels, but not on a legal one.

On a strictly personal level, and though I am still under 30, I would have a hard time justifying dating someone younger than 21, legal as it may be. A generation of different life experience would seem to make that level of dating quite superficial. And I would most certainly have reservations about interacting on that level with someone who had ever considered me a mentor, as I believe that power differential matters a great deal.

However, these are my personal choices. I have no business making these kinds of decisions for anyone else.

What does disturb me and does significantly grate on my morals, is lying.

So Sam, my new Mayor, I am disappointed in you for lying. I am saddened. I feel betrayed.

I realize that the public may not understand your choices. I’m fairly radical and I don’t fully understand your inability to refrain from dating a person that looks up to you, and with whom you couldn’t even share a beer. But I would respect your decision a lot more if you had stood up and been honest about it, just like you are, or I dearly hope you are, about everything else you’ve preached and promised.

I don’t take promises lightly.

Update: I did attend the press conference today and I’ll have thoughts on it to share later tonight or tomorrow. What an eventful day!

13 comments to Mayor Sam Adams and his teenage “Beau”

  • mnbinpdx

    “I have no business making these kinds of decisions for anyone else. ”

    Alley, I would like to suggest that it’s not old-fashioned to expect or even demand that our elected leaders embody the ideals we all wish for ourselves.

    As a responsible participant in a democracy, you have AN OBLIGATION to “make those kinds of decisions” about the people you vote for.

    Listen to the defense of Mr. Adams: “Hey, the kid was 18; legal”. Is that how low we’ve made the bar for our leaders? If it’s legal, it flies? I’m 52 years old, and worked with young people for years. I had many chances to get busy with women young enough to be my daughters (i was pouring drinks for a living) but I managed to restrain myself because I believe that sexual relationships with people young enough to be my children is WRONG.

    You’re right, lying is wrong, and why should we now believe anything Mr. Adams says? But we also have an obligation to evaluate this man’s ability to think critically when he can’t keep his hands (and other parts) off the help!

    If we as a people are going to effect the change we all agree is necessary, we have to start by dumping this credo of “non-judgmentalism” that so many of us feel is the key to enlightenment. Sam Adams is spending our money. We have the right to expect good decisions from the man, and IN MY JUDGMENT he has made a horrible set of decisions here, first and foremost getting busy with an intern, no matter how old he/she was at the time.

  • ores42

    I WAS proud to have the first openly gay mayor. But, what I hoped I was getting was a role model. The mayor I hoped for would respond to advances from a 17 (! not 18 yet!) intern in ‘career heat’ quite differently. My role model, a mentor, would tell the intern (over the phone) to go to college and to work hard for his career. The role model mayor would advice and intern against sleeping around with people in power as career shortcut and would encourage the intern to use discretion in their sex life. The mayor I hoped for would enjoy his power-enhanced attractiveness by sleeping with a partner who has ABSOLUTELY NO EXTRA PERKS for sleeping with the mayor – no career hopes, no secret deals, no well paying jobs or contracts, now or in the future.

    When I voted for Adams, I was supporting progressiveness, not shadiness.

    To me, this case is not only about sexual freedom or misuse of it, or about the question if Sam is lying about the timing of the actual sexual act – when did they do ‘it’ all the way – before the intern’s 18 birthday, after the birthday, THE DAY of the birthday – in the morning or in evening…. This is really about corruption – using a public office or campaign to obtain side bonuses – in this case sexual – that wouldn’t be obtained otherwise. It’s about sleazy shadiness, old-school misuse of power, about lying and coercion to stay silent and to cover up the lie. It’s about Sam playing dirty during his campaign – accusing his opponent, Bell, of making false accusations, while all along, it was Sam who was the lair.

    I want Sam Adams gone. To me, this story ads more stink to the rumors about Sam’s own not-so-clean climb up the political ladder. Even if you manage to use your ‘skills’ to stay in the office, Sam, I’m saying good bye to you now

  • ores42

    I WAS proud to have the first openly gay mayor. But, what I hoped I was getting was a role model. The mayor I hoped for would respond to advances from a 17 (!) intern in ‘career heat’ quite differently. My role model, a mentor, would tell the intern (over the phone) to go to college and to work hard for his career. The role model mayor would advice and intern against sleeping around with people in power as career shortcut and would encourage the intern to use discretion in their sex life. The mayor I hoped for would enjoy his power-enhanced attractiveness by sleeping with a partner who has ABSOLUTELY NO EXTRA PERKS for sleeping with the mayor – no career hopes, no secret deals, no well paying jobs or contracts, now or in the future.

    When I voted for Adams, I was supporting progressiveness, not shadiness.

    To me, this case is not only about sexual freedom or misuse of it, or about the question if Sam is lying about the timing of the actual sexual act – when did they do ‘it’ all the way – before the intern’s 18 birthday, after the birthday, THE DAY of the birthday – in the morning or in evening…. This is really about corruption – using a public office or campaign to obtain side bonuses – in this case sexual – that wouldn’t be obtained otherwise. It’s about sleazy shadiness, old-school misuse of power, about lying and coercion to stay silent and to cover up the lie. It’s about Sam playing dirty during his campaign – accusing his opponent, Bell, of making false accusations, while all along, it was Sam who was the lair.

    I want Sam Adams gone. To me, this story ads more stink to the rumors about Sam’s own not-so-clean climb up the political ladder. Even if you manage to use your ‘skills’ to stay in the office, Sam, I’m saying good bye to you now

  • qpdx

    mnbinpdx-

    You raise good points, but when I say I won’t judge him it is because I do believe sex with an 18-year-old is a personal choice and not applicable to his governing. Nor do I think every cross-generational relationship is wrong.

    Lying about it does call into question his integrity, however.

  • RockStrongo

    Being a 40+ year old dude and driving down to Salem for a birthday party of an 18 year old who you want to … pursue makes you a creepy weirdo. Period. IMO, being a creepy weirdo greatly inhibits your ability to govern.

    And why would anyone believe that Sam waited until young Beau turned 18 to get down? Dude already lied about the relationship, why the hell would he stop now?

  • qpdx

    Hmmm…I’m not sure if being a creepy weirdo inhibits your ability to govern. Certainly there are brilliant people (scientists and professors come to mind) that can be creepy and do their jobs well. But I suppose I agree that politics take some amount of charisma.

    But then again I think Sam Adams has that. He wouldn’t have gotten where he is without it. Really, if we want to oust all creepy politicians we won’t be left with much.

    I don’t believe he is actually stupid enough not to wait that month or so after he met him before he turned 18…

  • RockStrongo

    I think character plays greatly into governance. Sam don’t seem to have much of that.

    And we oust creepy politicos all the time, which good reason. Bob Packwood, John Edwards, Jack Ryan, Larry Craig. List goes on and on.

    And I do believe he is that stupid. This whole situation pretty much proves that.

  • qpdx

    This did kind of crush the last bit of hope in my ever-more-cynical heart but maybe the hope can grow again. I’m angry and disappointed but I still want him to be our mayor.

  • stylistpdx

    I am so very disappointed by the dishonesty. I don’t really care who has sex with whom, but lying and lying gets my goat.
    Even with all the amazing political news of today, I still found plenty of time to discuss Mayor Adams with my clients. My worry, too, was that he would be giving stereotypes of the community a boost, but the consensus in the beauty parlor today was that white men in power seem to have a lot in common, regardless of their orientation.

  • qpdx

    “…white men in power seem to have a lot in common, regardless of their orientation.”

    Disappointingly resonant.

  • mrcharming

    http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_011909_news_adams_breedlove_relationship.e142c06.html
    this is the clip of him originally denying the whole thing & saying its the worst kind of attack cause it reinforces stereotypes of gay men as predators. At the time i thought Ball was the worst kind of queer, willing to throw members of his own community under the bus to promote his own career. Now of course we know it was Adams doing the thowing. I expected more from Adams, because he is progressive, because he is intelligent & eventhough it might not be fair, i expected more from him because he was queer. Especially with things of this nature. He should know better. He DOES know better (as shown in that clip)! I think when one choses a career as a public official, that you sacrifice somethings, it comes with the job. I don’t think elected officials should be “just like the rest of us” they have control & access to public funds & public policy, I need the person in charge of that to hold themselves to higher standards.
    –with great power comes great responsibility–
    I agree with Alley, i do not think the comparisons to Goldshcmidt are fair. I think it takes away from the crime that Goldschmidt committed & puts it on the level of something that was consensual & happened between two adults, which it was NOT.
    I myself have dated people almost many years my senior, but dating them did nothing for my career, i did not stand to make any gains from it. nor did they hold any sort of real or assumed power over me.
    this makes a huge difference.
    what it comes down to is if Adams believes there is/was nothing wrong with a person over 40 sleeping with a 18 year old, he should have come out & said so when the charges were originally made. of course this might have cost him the election, but i kind of doubt it. considering the other options we had, i think he still would have had a great shot. instead he chose to lie to the public his friends & family & throw his fellow gay candidate under the bus. If all this proves anything, its that Adams is not the selfless public servant we wished he could be.
    Also it was such Bush-esque move to announce it all on huge news day, hoping no one would notice. All he did was rain on my Obama parade.
    i concur with Alley, stylistpdx summed it up quite well.
    “…white men in power seem to have a lot in common, regardless of their orientation.”

  • qpdx

    If anyone could convince me to want Adams out, Mary, it was just you. Great comment…

  • skant

    Ok, so Portland can now join the marque as another gutter city like Detroit for its sex scandle. We called it “sex, text and lies” Was not the sex part that did them in, it was the purgery, lying and coverup. The followup by the Detroit Free Press, sent both to jail, were the reside as you read this. Did you mayor, use a city owned and paid for texting device? If so, any message not accociated with his office and were of a private nature can be used in court against him. But, there again I understand that you folks out there are a bit more liberial then that of this rust bucket city of Detroit. The longer he you let him stay in office the more you get to see yourselfs, on Leno, Lettermen, USATODAY, and maybe even the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Follow his texting and happy thumbs.