Chris Coleman, the artistic director of Portland Center Stage, just forwarded me a refreshingly measured and well-written letter in support of Sam that acknowledges the very real impact of Sam's actions on the public trust, but argues that it's in the city's best interests that he stay in office. It's good stuff:
An Open Letter from Leaders in the Arts Community:
In the past few days, Portland has felt intensely a shared disappointment in the revelation by Mayor Sam Adams that he lied to reporters (and therefore the public) during his campaign, about a matter in his private, intimate life. A disappointment that could engender such strong responses can only be credited to the fact that our hopes and excitement for Sam’s leadership have been so high.
But now that a few days have passed, we hope that the initial wave of distress that flowed around this event has ebbed, and we can consider the situation with more deliberation. Mayor Adams has apologized to the citizens of Portland, and acknowledged that his actions have damaged his relationship with us. He has indicated clear understanding that to regain that trust with many people, even in some measure, will require hard work ahead.
Continued after the jump.
We have so many real issues to deal with today: a 9% unemployment rate in our state; an infrastructure that is crumbling; schools that are overburdened and under funded; a crisis in housing for the poor and the middle class; and our arts community struggling to survive as part of our economy and life fabric. In such frightening times as we are in today, it’s tempting to seize on a scandal as a distraction from all that is causing genuine fear.
We in this city, by a noteworthy majority, believed Sam Adams to be someone who could be a significant part of the solution. An episode in his private life that has become a lightning rod of distraction from the real work at hand should not be allowed to derail our entire leadership, and our community, from the important work ahead. That would be a genuine scandal for the city of Portland.
We invested in Sam because we believed he could be a smart, innovative and strong leader for Portland, at a time when our need for such leadership is greater than it has been for a long time. That need has not changed with the events of the past week. Those of us who sign this letter, and many, many others, believe in another thing that has not changed: that Sam Adams is still the smart, innovative and strong leader we need to work with us to restore this city’s economic, humanitarian and cultural health.
Chris Coleman Christopher Stowell Elaine Calder
Carole Morse Christopher Mattaliano Greg Phillips
Victoria Frey Linda McGee Walter Jaffee
Eloise Damrosch Cynthia Fuhrman Mary Bauer
Claudia Burnett Barbara Dibbs Carol Smith
Johanna Kim Chris Bisgard Jeff Hawthorne
Charlie Frasier Matt Chase Jamie Hampton
Peg Malloy Paul King John Ulsh
Marshall Runkel Craig Thompson