Letter from Tom Potter concerning Sam Adams recall campaign


Former mayor Tom Potter with an out of focus current Mayor Adams in the foreground. Oregonian File Photo.

Former Mayor Tom Potter sent a letter to Just Out (ostensibly in order to reach the queer community) addressing his support of the Recall Sam Adams campaign.

To my friends in the sexual and gender minority community:

You may have heard that I am supporting the recall of Mayor Sam Adams. Of all the communities affected by Mayor Adams’ actions, this community has deep and personal feelings about the outcome. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue. Because I love this community, I feel it’s important to tell you why I made my decision to support the recall of our Mayor.

During his time as City Commissioner and Mayor, Sam Adams has demonstrated his serious lack of judgment, a complete lack of integrity, his serial lying to win an election, and his callous disregard for others.

My support for Mayor Adams’ recall is not about his actions with Beau Breedlove, because we may never have the complete information as to whether or not he committed any criminal act(s) with Beau. This is not about the Mayor’s sexual orientation. The only person I know who used his sexual orientation as an argument in this issue is the Mayor himself.

What this issue is about for me is the Mayor’s attempt to deny and cover up his actions with Beau before and after Beau turned 18.  He lied to us all in order to win an election. He made false accusations about a gay man’s integrity while cloaked in self-righteousness. In the attempt to cover up his involvement, he lied right up to the time he recognized he could no longer hide the truth. He demonstrated a serious lack of integrity and ethical behavior. His actions caused many Portlanders to distrust him, and he was shunned by politicians at the state and national level. He was not invited to local events which necessitated other elected leaders filling in for him. Most every major print media has called for his resignation, including Just Out.  He caused a division within the gay community in Portland and across the country that still sits heavy with us today. Today, there are many people who are afraid to speak out against Mayor Adams, yet feel they were duped by him.

I have heard people say the impetus for the recall campaign is from homophobic elements in our community. I have no doubt that homophobes take delight in Mayor Adams’ problems and some of the more vocal radio personalities have tried to insert themselves in the middle of this problem. But the truth is that when Sam ran for Mayor he was endorsed by most print media in Portland, and his sexual orientation was not an issue in any campaign debates. The Community to Recall Mayor Adams committee has been training volunteer signature gatherers. The signature gatherers agree not to collect signatures from individuals who base their decision to sign on sexual orientation or religious social conservative reasons. I would never participate in any recall, or other ballot initiative which is based in such idiotic beliefs.

For sometime I have been observing how this issue disgracefully unfolded. I came to the conclusion that Mayor Adams should resign and a new Mayor elected to carry out those duties. Sam has made it clear he will not resign and I feel it is important for Portlanders to vote for or against the Sam Adams they have come to know now versus the person they voted for in the Primary Election of May, 2008. I love Portland and its people and I know this issue has generated heated debates and strong passions on both sides. Which ever side you come down on I will respect your views and actions. I know when this is over Portlanders will have to reconcile a lot of strong feelings about Mayor Adams and each other.  This recall question is about honest government, an honest City Council and an honest Portland.

Ultimately, the sexual and gender minority community has to come together and focus on the bigger challenges of ensuring full civil rights for our community.  I believe Mayor Adams currently stands in the way of that progress.

Tom Potter
Southeast Portland

1 comment to Letter from Tom Potter concerning Sam Adams recall campaign

  • I believe Adams did not have a good public relations person and should have said to the press, this is none of your business. But the Williamette Week is all about ruining peoples lives which is why it is the most unread rag like Just OUT newspaper.

    Adams is example of someone who raised their head above the clouds and every freak and vindictive person who thinks they are perfect are going to try to oust him. Lets face it, Adams is more attractive and fun than Potter who is a lost soul that has nothing better to do than take the Mayor down because he could not get reelected for a second term. Potter join some Christian Right Group and get laid more.

    Not a good