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.