Newly elected Portland Mayor Sam Adams finally admitted that he had an affair with teenager Beau Breedlove. The affair, conspiracy of silence and cover up are wrong on so many different levels that it is difficult to know where to start.
First, Sam Adams has admittedly engaged in predatory sexual conduct. Beau Breedlove was a teenager serving as a legislative intern and whom Adams was “mentoring.” At the time that this affair began, Adams was twenty-five years older than this teenager. He was in a position of trust as a mentor and a position of authority as a Portland City Commissioner. Experts in human behavior tell us that predatory sexual behavior is usually a recidivist behavior — if such a person has done it once, it is likely that he has done it before and will do it again.
Second, Adams lied to the public during the course of his mayoral campaign in denying any relationship with Breedlove. He coached Breedlove to likewise lie about the relationship. Adams may still be lying about the relationship given the discrepancies between his statement and Breedlove’s. Adams has asserted that nothing occurred between he and Breedlove until after Breedlove’s eighteenth birthday — apparently Adams is aware of the statutory rape laws. Breedlove, however, states that one of their first encounters occurred in the men’s room at City Hall while he was still seventeen. Apparently, the encounter involved kissing — not sex — although, given their age difference, it was inappropriate and may have crossed the lines of criminal sexual misconduct with a minor.
Third, the governing class, including the Oregonian, covered up this story at the critical moment when something could have been done by the voters. Bob Ball repeatedly raised this issue during his exploratory campaign against Adams. He met with the Oregonian but the Oregonian refused to pursue the issue. In its own recent editorial calling on Adams to resign, the Oregonian came as close as it ever will to admitting a mistake:
“For one thing, when Bob Ball, his would-be opponent began spreading rumors about Adams and Breedlove back in 2007, Adams didn’t just deny the allegations and decry Ball’s tactics. He launched an all-out public relations assault against the man.
“He asked one of the city’s leading campaign specialists to coach Breedlove in dealing with the onslaught of impertinent questions. He preached piously about the importance of mentoring young, confused gay men to help them through their identity crises. He derided Ball for falsely employing a vicious anti-gay canard in his effort to force Adams out of the mayor’s race and out of politics. He took care, he claimed, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. He’d do it all again, Adams proclaimed back then, to defend these virtues. He fairly dripped sanctimony
“But it was a lie, Adams now admits, cooked up to save his political career.
“Sad to say, plenty of us bought it and, for that, we owe Ball an apology. Yet, even this week, Adams felt an underlying justification for his tactics back then because Ball accused him of criminality instead of mere sexual exploitation of a callow young man.” [Emphasis added]
That’s not good enough. The Oregonian didn’t do its job for all of the wrong reasons. Sam Adams, like the Oregonian, is a long time member of the Portland political establishment. He, unlike his accuser Bob Ball, is a member of the liberal Democrat machine — a machine for which the Oregonian routinely acts as publicist. Adams and the Oregonian are “insiders” and the Oregonian never, until it is unavoidable, criticizes an insider — particularly if it might cost the “insiders” a political victory. While the Oregonian can recount the deceit now and criticize the “all-out public relations assault,” it still doesn’t acknowledge that it participated unabashedly in that assault. If the state’s major newspaper doesn’t exist to hold politicians accountable for what purpose does it exist? More and more Oregonians who watch this scenario unfold routinely are asking this questions and making the decision to stop reading the Oregonian.
Portland’s politicians and civic leaders have taken a pass on the affair d’Adams. Portland’s city commissioners are stuck in neutral, carefully parsing their words so they cannot be accused of taking a position on whether Adams should go. Likewise, nothing from the Multnomah county government — well their all pals. The Portland business community is dead silent — not a word. The Attorney General has pledged to investigate — he will but don’t expect any prosecutions to be forthcoming, after all Kroger is part of the liberal Democrat machine also. The Secretary of State should investigate whether campaign rules were violated — she won’t because she is also a part of that machine.
You would have thought all of these players would have learned from the scandal involving Portland’s previous mayor. Former governor and mayor Neil Goldschmidt admitted that he repeatedly raped a fourteen-year-old girl over an extended period of time. He repeatedly lied about the molestation. He coached the victim to lie. Any number of Portland’s governing elite knew about the rape and chose to remain silent, including now Governor Ted Kulongoski. The Oregonian knew years before the public disclosure and chose to remain silent. Even when they were presented with the same facts that the Willamette Week used to publish the story, the Oregonian chose to publish Goldschmidt’s version of his reasons for resigning from the higher ed council — it had to remove that version once Willamette Week broke the story on its website. The person who broke the story, Fred Leonhardt, was first ignored and then criticized for the disclosure. In the aftermath of the disclosure, the Attorney General opened an investigation but did little work and declined to prosecute anyone.
It is a pitiful state of affairs that Oregon’s politicians are raised in an atmosphere of immunity for their conduct. Neil Goldschmidt should have gone to prison for his crimes. Instead because of the studious silence of Portland’s ruling class and aided by the Oregonian, Goldschmidt went on to become United States Secretary of Transportation and Oregon’s Governor. Those loyal to Goldschmidt, including Kulongoski, have been richly rewarded with positions of power and influence.
One can expect the same for Sam Adams and Portland’s liberal Democrat machine. Things do look different in Oregon — they look corrupt.