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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grandpa Potter Slams Adams in Just Out

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Remember over the weekend when former Mayor Tom Potter woke up from a long nap in time to announce his support for the Sam Adams recall via Facebook?

Both the Mercury and The Oregonian asked Potter to comment on his surprise announcement, but he declined comment to both papers. So Potter's next bizarre move in this entirely strange story? Today Potter emailed a long, ranting letter about the recall to Just Out, who did not cover his original Facebook post to begin with.

To me, that sends the signal that Potter will intentionally block out media outlets whose coverage he does not like. The strong language in the letter also clearly reveals that Potter has a bone to pick with Adams—no surprise since their relationship is infamously tense and Potter endorsed Sho Dozono over Adams in the election. But it is unexpected for Potter to stick his neck out for the recall in such a prominent and fiercely-worded way.

His letter echoes the arguments recall campaign chief Jasun Wurster has been putting forward over the past six months: The recall has nothing to do with homophobia, instead Mayor Adams should resign because of the lies he told during his campaign and for making "false accusations about a gay man’s integrity while cloaked in self-righteousness." It remains to be seen what impact Potter's support will have on the recall campaign, but he's certainly helping focus more mainstream attention on anti-Adams arguments.

Here's the letter, which is also posted on the O's site:

To the Editor:
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.

Four more paragraphs of the letter below the cut.


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

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Does anyone remember when this happened?

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