Adams must stay

Regarding the Tribune editorial 'For good of city, Adams must go' (Jan. 22), it does seem as if there are two Americas: One we like to pretend exists - in which there are politicians without personal lives that get messy like everyone else's - and one in which there are politicians whose lives do get messy.

Neil Goldschmidt was a bizarre case. He was Portland's bicycling hero-mayor, who was in fact a pedophile who groomed an employee's daughter, abused her repeatedly, and managed to keep his misdeed secret with the help of the powers that be for decades.

While this feels like the same story, there are distinct differences, including that, as far as we know, Beau Breedlove was 18 at the time of consent. While many feel it seems prurient of Adams to pursue this relationship, I'm not sure at all what one's personal life has to do with being a top-notch mayor in this case.

Portland needs and deserves a good mayor, and there is an overwhelming feeling that we are letting the best-qualified individual slip through our fingers on some sort of outmoded model of a stainless personal life.

There are still issues being addressed regarding whether Adams abused his power and gave jobs and favors in an effort to cover up the incident. We do know he lied and asked someone to lie.

But I can say that I wish we could forgive Adams and move on to the tasks at hand. What he did is serious, of course, but not irreparable. With this reprieve, perhaps Adams would do the job with more gusto, passion and fortitude than any of us thought possible.

After all, this is one of America's most turbulent moments in history. We need the very best skilled problem-solvers in office to help literally save so many lives that hang in the balance.

Oregon has a 9 percent unemployment rate - tonight, children will go to bed hungry and without any medical care. Our emergency rooms are overburdened, public school funding slashed, real estate values are plummeting along with the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index and Dow Jones industrial average, banks are failing, and businesses are folding left and right - except for the repo man.

While Mr. Adams prodigious talents as mayor do not overrule his breach of trust, isn't there enough good there to ennoble him with our trust and believe he will make the necessary adjustments and do his level best for Portland, as he has done in his 20 years of public service?

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is a near-perfect example of a politician overcoming insurmountable personal odds. He has a complex and scandalous past that even today evokes bitterness and unresolved feelings, in particular, the 1969 car accident in Chappaquiddick in which a young woman drowned and there was a tremendous gray area afforded to him due to his family name. Again in 1991 Kennedy's poll ratings in Congress were so low that he issued a public apology for his personal failings. No one can deny that we have benefited from Sen. Kennedy's presence - he will go down in history as one of the greatest senators America has ever had, if not the greatest -and his work continues on the public's behalf, even in the face of impending death.

I hate to see Adams go, really. It's a mistake and I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

I think Portland is bigger than what amounts to a splashy gay-sex scandal, and our needs more pressing than the next headline in the news cycle.

Let's not stand on ceremony when we have real, roll-up-your-sleeves work to do for the people of Portland, and the best person for the job is already in place.

Forgive Adams and give him a chance to do what we know he can do.

Mary E. Campbell is a professional writer. She lives in Southwest Portland.

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