Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adams and Leonard on OPB's "Think Out Loud"

OPB's call-in talk show "Think Out Loud" will host Portland mayor Sam Adams, commissioner Randy Leonard and Vancouver mayor Royce Pollard on Monday, 3/02 at 9 am. The topic of focus will be Friday's State of the City address given by Mayor Adams, and will give callers a chance to weigh in on their reaction.

I encourage folks to call in and express their feelings about the CRC decision last week. Also, there appears to be a rally in the works protesting the CRC sometime soon at City Hall. For the record, I will be there.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sam's Response


Thanks for your email. As you can see, I am pushing for the creation of a transportation demand management commission for both crossings. I believe the transportation system in the entire region needs to move in this direction. The bridge has three lanes right now and sprawl has been rampant: we can and must do better.



"Our region has been a global innovator in developing and managing transportation systems for transit, bikes, and pedestrians. But we have remained in the dark ages when it comes to managing our vehicular roadway systems to protect and support community values.

To date, we have built our freeways, highways and streets - and then largely just walk away. With the new approach described in the op-ed below, written by myself and Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard with the support of other local leaders, yesterday I asked the Portland City Council to approve ongoing, performance-based management for the new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River. With a 4-1 vote, the resolution passed. With this idea, we offer a groundbreaking notion.

The opinion piece below ran in yesterday's Oregonian. The region's goal: build a bridge to serve our needs for the next 100 years - but one that is managed effectively from day one.

Mayor Sam Adams"

Needing Answers

To: Mayor Sam Adams
Subject: Yesterday's CRC Vote

Hi Sam,

I'm writing concerning yesterday's city council vote for the 12-lane CRC option-- it's important that you're aware how this vote sits with your supporters. We counted on you to represent the city of Portland's sustainability priorities in this project, and we felt assured that you would fight for what you've advocated up to this point: the smallest possible bridge. Why did you change your position? The city needs you to be the mayor we elected, who will fight to continue the momentum you helped to generate of building a transportation infrastructure that does not worship at the altar of the automobile.

You told me on Sunday that you love Portland and its people, but this monster bridge does not bode well for the future livability of our city. Your supporters need some definitive and focused reassurance that what you've voted for is in keeping with your sustainable agenda and that we're not selling out to large business interests.

I look forward to your response.

Hollie Teal

Monday, February 23, 2009

Brunch With The Mayor

Up until yesterday morning, my interactions with Sam Adams have been limited to attending a couple of town hall meetings he hosted and spotting him around the city. I received warnings that he was a cutthroat politician, that he was arrogant, and that he might be trying to manipulate me. It's fair to say that amidst my excitement, I was also cautious.

The big hug he gave me melted my caution a bit. I wasn't expecting him to be so warm, engaging and sincere. We talked for a long while about a wide range of topics, so this entry has the potential to get wildly out of control. I'll try to summarize:

  • He's sorry for lying and admits that was a mistake that he deeply regrets.
  • The recent WW interview with former staffer Ronald Chlapowski, which states that Breedlove approached Sam initially, is accurate. He denies having any sexual relationship with Chlapowski.
  • Sam was going to quit before the rally happened, but the outpouring of support convinced him to stay. He had that first week been holed up at home, reading the negative press about himself, and felt shocked and hurt at how the local media was attacking him. Our support was a turning point for him, and he showed no shortage of gratitude for our efforts.
  • He's glad there's an investigation by the attorney general's office-- he'll get to tell his story.
  • He likes the idea of a task force to organize and structure the grassroots movement in his support. He's putting me into contact with a friend and political ally of his who can help make sure our efforts are worthwhile. I'll post more about this when I have more info.
  • We talked a lot about transportation infrastructure, the CRC, the Sellwood Bridge (he's contributing city funds to help get the project off the ground), cycling in Portland (when he gets honked at by cars, he tries to catch up to them and make sure they see his face-- I guess the reaction he gets is pretty funny), the Interstate Ave. off-ramp where Brett Jarolimek was killed ("it will never be re-opened"), bike licensing (he's against it, but supports free bike registration to help track down stolen bikes), how often he rides (3 times a week), the BTA (he's a member and supports the organization strongly), bike boulevards, etc.. It was heaven for a cycling wonk like me!
  • We talked about a lot of stuff unrelated to him being the mayor: his grandmother, ukuleles, Reed College, my family and background, my job, marathon running. He was charming and engaging to talk to.
  • He commended me on dealing with the conservative press. "You actually got a compliment from Bob Miller?!"
  • I asked him how Ron Wyden's snub affected him: "It hurt," he said. He reiterated what he's said in the past: people need to go through their own response to what's happened. He added that the press had last month made it difficult for Sen. Wyden to speak about the economic stimulus plan because they were focused instead on Sam. For this reason, he felt it wasn't an unreasonable response for Wyden not to invite Sam to Monday's meeting, but it was more about the press causing a distraction than about Wyden not taking Sam seriously as a peer.
Sure, the guy's a politician and I could very well have been under his clever, smarmy spell. What I came away with, though, was a firm conviction that his transparency and desire to focus on the betterment of our city are legitimate. Sam Adams is mayor, above and beyond whatever underhanded political agenda is ascribed to him, because he loves Portland and the people in it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sam + Ron

Sam was sweet enough to walk me to my bike after brunch, and I couldn't resist asking him to pose with my beloved 1972 lugged steel beauty, Ron. This was rather than asking him to pose for a picture with, say, ME...

C'mon, what did you expect? He's the mayor of the #1 bike city in the country and I'm Queen Bike Dork!

My Friend, Sam Adams

Sam Adams called me yesterday.


"Mayor Adams!" I stammered in surprise after he'd introduced himself in his recognizable baritone voice. "Call me Sam," he said. He was calling, he continued, to invite me to lunch. Or breakfast or dinner, whatever worked. Brunch worked best for both of us, so this morning I sat waiting in front of Genie's Cafe, reading an article about him in Willamette Week, when he pulled up. He saw me and waved. He got out of his truck, walked toward me, and gave me a hug.

In a nutshell, he wanted to thank me for my support, for the blog, and for the rally. I will say more later, but I wanted to pass this along: our fantastic rally was what convinced him not to resign. I'm still completely overwhelmed by this and need to process it a bit before recapping the hour or so we spent talking, but it's important to me that you know how much of a difference our support has made. We convinced our mayor to stay.

You know what this means, right? It means we need to keep it up. If our support is what convinced Mayor Adams in his dark hours of contemplation that he shouldn't resign, then our ongoing support will help him to regain his signature momentum. We voted for him because of what he wants for our city, and that is unchanged. He needs us, folks.

Let's continue to fight for our mayor.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fighting The Recall Effort

The recall effort is attempting to mobilize, even at this early date, and has been in the media over the last couple of weeks. Senator Ron Wyden's recent refusal to work with Mayor Adams on the grounds that he would be a "distraction" is not acceptable and has furthered the public uneasiness about Sam's viability as a leader. We have the power to change these things. Our elected officials are in office to represent the best interests of our city and state, and those who support Sam Adams need to be loud, visible, and clear in our message.

As the rally demonstrated, we can accomplish amazing things when we all band together. In the coming months, my mission is to assemble a task force of Sam supporters who will work together to hold events and keep in contact with the media. Let's have bike rides, letter writing parties, and maybe even another rally. But what else? We need more ideas! Want to help? Let's start a conversation in the comments. Want to email me? Feel free: hollietealok at gmail is my address.

I know you're out there, because I met hundreds of you a few weeks ago. I know the media is listening and we need to use that to our advantage. Let's get the word out together.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

He Wasn't Invited

I haven't heard back from Wyden's office, but a bit of digging revealed that Willamette Week reported earlier this week that Sam Adams was absent from the list of invitees for Monday's stimulus plan meeting: it was, in fact, a deliberate snub. Tom Towslee is the Wyden staffer I posed the question to today via voicemail, and he is quoted in the article as confirming the intentional omission of Adams.

I think this was a misstep on the part of Sen. Wyden. His unwillingness to work directly with Mayor Adams, especially on a matter that has a dire effect on the city, does not eliminate "distraction". The press, local officials and the public are not focused on the outcome of the meeting, but on this "snub" and how it speaks to the viability of Sam Adams as a local leader. Frankly, I feel the omission of Adams from the invitation list was petty. Wyden has spoken openly about his disapproval of Sam's actions but claims he will refrain from stating anything further until the investigation concludes. He has, however, made a passive-aggressive statement about his feelings towards Adams as a fellow politician.

I've always respected Ron Wyden and felt fortunate that he has served many years as an effective representative for Oregon. This, however, does not sit well with me. I will be contacting him about this and asking him to rethink his approach to Mayor Adams. Either ask him to resign or work with him. Anything else is, in Wyden's words, distraction.

Sen. Wyden's Stimulus Meeting: Was Sam Invited?

Senator Wyden was in town on Monday and held a meeting to discuss the impact of the federal stimulus plan on Oregon. Invited were local leaders, including all of the usual city hall suspects. Missing, however, was the mayor. It's not clear, at least according to any source I've yet found, whether Wyden intentionally didn't invite Sam Adams, or if Adams received an invitation but declined. The Oregonian's article implies heavily that Sam wasn't invited because Sen. Wyden wanted to avoid "distractions".

So what's the reason behind Mayor Adams's absence? I called Senator Wyden's office in DC for and answer and was referred to his Portland office, who does his scheduling. I've put in a message with the staffer who will have an answer and expect to hear back in a day or so. I'll keep you posted.

Why does this matter? Because Senator Wyden is a powerful and influential representative of our state. He has publicly stated his strong disapproval of Mayor Adams's actions relating to his relationship with Beau Breedlove, but has also withheld further comments, including his support or lack thereof, until the attorney general's investigation is conducted. We want Wyden to support our mayor and to work with him. A deliberate snub on the senator's part is not productive or in keeping with what's best for our city, especially when the economy is teetering on the brink of disaster.

What's a bigger distraction: inviting the beleaguered mayor to the meeting (ie., moving on), or not inviting him and raising eyebrows at the omission?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Have A Crush On Sam Adams

I'm not sure what it is that makes me so wildly happy about this video:

It could be any one of these charming things:
1. The hulk gloves!
2. The tool belt and elbow pads!
3. The UKULELE (a man after my own uke-strumming heart)!
4. The fact that he's on camera acting like a complete dingbat to make valid points about supporting small businesses and sustainability.

Sam Adams makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my city, naked Breedlove photoshoots or not.