Should Sam Adams resign over his recent admissions that he had an affair with an 18-year-old intern, Beau Breedlove -- and then lied about it? That will depend on you, the voters.
Adams was right to apologize to Portlanders for lying. He was right to apologize to Breedlove whom he says he persuaded to keep the affair secret too.
But he also should make another important apology – to Robert Ball, the developer whose own political career was sunk by the accusation that he smeared Adams.
Ball raised the issue because of his concerns that Adams had broken Oregon law by having sex with an underage partner. That's legitimate.
Adams says the affair did not begin until after Breedlove turned 18. Unfortunately, his earlier lies cast a shadow on his denial. So now we face the prospect of an investigation, led by Oregon Attorney General John Kroger.
The age of consent law is controversial. Around the world it ranges from 13 in, for example, Argentina and Spain, to 20 in Tunisia. Most states have chosen 16 as the age of consent. In Oregon the age of consent is 18. If you don't like it then work to change it.
Here at The Skanner, we believe a relationship between two consenting adults is none of our business. But if Adams truly believed this was an above-board yet private matter, he should have said so. If you want to be mayor, you have to have respect for the people you serve. That means telling the truth – even if the truth is: Sorry folks, this is my private life and it's none of your business.
Adams didn't do that. He vehemently denied the affair, and went further, saying the whole idea was a smear campaign designed to provoke anti-gay sentiment. Politics can be a vicious business, as Ball found out. We're disappointed and annoyed that the mayor showed such poor judgment. Adam's ambition and self-regard trumped his values.
The mayor should apologize to Ball for the harm he caused him.
We are celebrating this week. We feel proud to be Americans. We wanted to feel proud of Portland and our new mayor too. Mayor Adams is so smart. He knows city government inside out. He has energy, enthusiasm, ideas – and we thought integrity too. He had the political capital to achieve his goals. But now his trustworthiness is in question. And his decision to surround himself with young, less-experienced staffers suggests narcissism as much as open mindedness.
So should Mayor Adams resign? That's for the public to call now.
Can he remain and succeed in his ambitious plan for Portland? We can only hope so.
What Do You Think?