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Adams is ready to lead

A highly competitive mayoral race between Sam Adams and Sho Dozono has helped define and promote the issues that are of greatest importance to Portland — including the economy, sustainability, livability and education. But while both leading candidates for mayor are talking about the right things, only one — Sam Adams — is providing specific details of how he would move this city forward. Portlanders should select Adams as their next mayor not only because of the precise prescriptions he is offering, but also because he has demonstrated an ability during his nearly four years as a city commissioner to accomplish things at City Hall. If elected to replace retiring Mayor Tom Potter, Adams would restore assertive executive leadership to a city government that for three and half years has been wandering in a multitude of directions. There’s no doubt he will be an activist mayor, but we believe his activism will be seen as leadership on issues, needs and opportunities that the vast majority of Portlanders support. Adams has shown his abilities Adams, who also served as Mayor Vera Katz’s chief of staff for 11 years, has identified three major priorities for Portland’s future: public education, the economy, and growth and livability. These issues probably would be near the top of the list for any informed candidate, but what separates Adams from Dozono and other contenders is knowledge, experience and specific ideas for making advances in each of those areas. Adams talks easily of the mayor’s role in serving as local schools’ “fundraiser in chief,” the cheerleader in chief and the person who uses the prominence of his office to demand accountability in schools. Similarly, he sees a hands-on role for the mayor in fostering an entrepreneurial environment in the Portland region. And he understands that to be successful in attracting new jobs in the right types of industry, the region first needs a better definition of its desired economic outcomes. Adams’ knowledge about these and other issues is deep enough to be mind-numbing at times — a trait that contributes to his wonkish reputation. If Adams were new on the scene, we might be worried that all that policy talk and process could impede progress on crucial matters. But in Adams’ case, Portlanders already have witnessed him in action. He has proved through his work in transportation, business license tax reform and other areas that he knows how to gather public input and support, secure the votes he needs on the City Council, and push through his initiatives. Dozono raised important issues Our endorsement of Adams in the May 20 primary is in no way intended to reflect negatively on Dozono, who has been a consistent leader for Portland on causes ranging from schools to economic development. The president of Azumano Travel, Dozono has substantial private-sector experience and has served on many public commissions. Dozono has raised worthy issues in his campaign, emphasizing the need for regional cooperation among cities and insisting that City Hall needs clear direction and priorities. We agree with Dozono on those matters, but must conclude in the end that Adams is best equipped to begin immediately delivering on his promises from the moment he takes office. Win or lose in this race, Dozono has done the city a favor by forcing Adams to be a better candidate and — we expect — a better mayor. Citizens should be grateful for Dozono’s past and present service but should choose Adams for mayor.