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Gay Man Accused of Smearing Another in Portland Mayoral Race

Bob Ball, a gay real estate developer from Portland, Oregon who is seen as a would-be politician and reportedly has an interest in running in the city's mayoral race, has been accused of launching a nasty smear campaign against the leading candidate for the top job who is another openly gay man — City Commissioner Sam Adams.

Ball_adamsIt appears that Ball has decided to use the recent gay political scandals (such as Mark Foley and underage pages) as fodder for an unsubstantiated smear job against his potential opponent. Ball has apparently twisted a mentoring relationship that Adams had with a 17-year-old intern in the Oregon house to make it appear something untoward was going on.

The Oregonian reports: "The problem: The story Ball told about Adams and a 17-year-old legislative intern isn't true, according to both Adams and the young man. Adams acknowledges trying to be a mentor, including exchanging numerous phone calls and text messages with the young man over several months in summer 2005. But both men said that they have never been anything more than friends. Ball said he was doing a public service in speaking with [Portland City Commissioner Randy] Leonard, implying that as a reserve police officer he felt a responsibility to report suspected child abuse. Oregon law requires people in positions of responsibility -- public or private -- to report child abuse to police or welfare workers. Those he told, including Leonard and former Mayor Vera Katz, said they took it as an attempt at political assassination."

The charges have led Adams to write an open letter to the citizens of Portland.

Writes Adams: "I have in the past, and I will in the future, respond to people who reach out to me for help and advice. This is especially true when it comes to young people. Growing up in Newport and Eugene, Oregon I remember when I was a teenager and I had nobody who I felt I could talk to at a time I desperately needed someone to give me advice and perspective about coming to terms with being gay. I came through it. Not everyone does. Gay youth suicide rates, homelessness and depression are still too high. And adequate services have been lacking: Reasons why I co-founded Portland's Q Center, served on the Boards of Cascade AIDS Project, Basic Right Oregon and lobbied the state legislature in support of statewide non-discrimination laws. I didn't get into public life to allow my instinct to help others to be snuffed out by fear of sleazy misrepresentations or political manipulation. I understand the need for good judgment, and I keep within the bounds of propriety -- as I did in this case."

Beau Breedlove, the 17-year-old intern who is now 20, continues to say there is and never was any kind of romantic relationship between him and Adams. Ball has issued a statement in response to the local media frenzy regarding the accusations, concluding "Any story here is not about me."

The Portland Mercury blog frames the debate. Adams told the paper: "If this had come from the right wing—and it probably will now—that would have been one thing. But to come from another gay man is something more hurtful. It plays into the worst, deep-seeded fears society has about gay men: You can’t trust them with your young."

Mayoral Race Off to Brutal Beginning [williamette week]
Gay on gay political smearing? [oregon live blog]
Fallout from rumors stirs City Hall politics [the oregonian]
An Open Letter to Portlanders [sam adams site]

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Comments

  1. So the two people accused of acting improperly--one a politician, and the other 20-year-old with his whole life ahead of him--claim there was no funny business and that's enough? Im not saying Ball's claims were true, but why does Adams and Breedlove's denials equate uncontroverable proof?

    Also, why do we expect gay politicians to act any nobler than their straight counterparts? What, do we actually think we're better than them? Please!

    Posted by: dizzyspins | Sep 19, 2007 11:11:22 PM


  2. So the two people accused of acting improperly--one a politician, and the other 20-year-old with his whole life ahead of him--claim there was no funny business and that's enough? Im not saying Ball's claims were true, but why does Adams and Breedlove's denials equate uncontroverable proof?

    Also, why do we expect gay politicians to act any nobler than their straight counterparts? What, do we actually think we're better than them? Please!

    Posted by: dizzyspins | Sep 19, 2007 11:11:31 PM


  3. So the two people accused of acting improperly--one a politician, and the other 20-year-old with his whole life ahead of him--claim there was no funny business and that's enough? Im not saying Ball's claims were true, but why does Adams and Breedlove's denials equate uncontroverable proof?

    Also, why do we expect gay politicians to act any nobler than their straight counterparts? What, do we actually think we're better than them? Please!

    Posted by: dizzyspins | Sep 19, 2007 11:11:34 PM


  4. Given the culture of Oregon, and their penchant for shooting first and asking question later when it comes to sex scandals, Ball knew exactly what he was saying and doing. It may very well work.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Sep 19, 2007 11:16:17 PM


  5. Well Dizzy, if there were the slightest indication that anybody hadn't acted improperly, or any specific accusation as such, then their denials would reasonably be subject to a bit more scrutiny.

    But there isn't. The allegations consist of "A gay man had conversations with a teenager, and that makes me uncomfortable."

    Posted by: thin mint | Sep 19, 2007 11:23:13 PM


  6. Um...grammar check!

    I meant to say, "If there were the slightest indication that anybody HAD acted improperly."

    Also, when I posted before, the bot-check code was "RRP33N." Happy Talk Like a Gay Pirate Day, everyone!

    Posted by: thin mint | Sep 19, 2007 11:26:13 PM


  7. Yeah, when you point it out like that Joshua, I totally see what you mean. I meant the point of how typical gay cat-fights are.

    Posted by: Jordan | Sep 19, 2007 11:42:01 PM


  8. I am a "Portlander", and Ball has definetly "shot himself in the foot". If/when Sam Adams runs for mayor he definitely has my vote!

    Posted by: JT | Sep 20, 2007 1:30:10 AM


  9. Sam Adams has always been a classy guy: his experience under Vera Katz proves that he's worth winning the mayoral seat. It's really a shame that Ball would pull out this kinda BS against him. The people in Stumptown know Adams better than that, and it's ridiculous to see this kind of bullshittery being flung around in a race that should have been entirely amicable.

    Posted by: Colin S | Sep 20, 2007 1:48:37 AM


  10. Sam Adams has always been a classy guy: his experience under Vera Katz proves that he's worth winning the mayoral seat. It's really a shame that Ball would pull out this kinda BS against him. The people in Stumptown know Adams better than that, and it's ridiculous to see this kind of bullshittery being flung around in a race that should have been entirely amicable.

    Posted by: Colin S | Sep 20, 2007 1:49:03 AM


  11. Sam Adams has always been a classy guy: his experience under Vera Katz proves that he's worth winning the mayoral seat. It's really a shame that Ball would pull out this kinda BS against him. The people in Stumptown know Adams better than that, and it's ridiculous to see this kind of bullshittery being flung around in a race that should have been entirely amicable.

    Posted by: Colin S | Sep 20, 2007 1:49:12 AM


  12. Yers, I expect gay men to know better than others since we know the meaning of suffering, being outsiders in this world, being more sensitive than straight men,etc. etc. Now don't get me going on "we're absolutely no different...yada, yada, etc. Bullshit. We are different, that's why we're hated from the majority. So I expect gay men to be kinder, YES, godlier, than the majority since all minorities know their difference in this life is a thorn, so when a gay man turns nasty against other presumably innocent gay brethren/sisters, I get my claws out and f*ing gay bash the cowardly bastard!! Throw him back to our enemies, vile immoral monster! How dare you??!!
    I can remember specific incidents in the gay scene here in Montreal where gay men made me feel so unwelcome, so unfreindly. You know what? I hate these scumbags like the rest of toxic humanity...throw'em to the lions. All peole are morally obligated to do good/be good. Being gay is no exception.But minorites are famous for becoming worse than their enemies, hence I sometimes feel little
    pity for us gays, lesbians, blacks, jews, feminists,etc. Damn this pisses me off.

    Posted by: Nikko | Sep 20, 2007 3:29:33 AM


  13. Yers, I expect gay men to know better than others since we know the meaning of suffering, being outsiders in this world, being more sensitive than straight men,etc. etc. Now don't get me going on "we're absolutely no different...yada, yada, etc. Bullshit. We are different, that's why we're hated from the majority. So I expect gay men to be kinder, YES, godlier, than the majority since all minorities know their difference in this life is a thorn, so when a gay man turns nasty against other presumably innocent gay brethren/sisters, I get my claws out and f*ing gay bash the cowardly bastard!! Throw him back to our enemies, vile immoral monster! How dare you??!!
    I can remember specific incidents in the gay scene here in Montreal where gay men made me feel so unwelcome, so unfreindly. You know what? I hate these scumbags like the rest of toxic humanity...throw'em to the lions. All peole are morally obligated to do good/be good. Being gay is no exception.But minorites are famous for becoming worse than their enemies, hence I sometimes feel little
    pity for us gays, lesbians, blacks, jews, feminists,etc. Damn this pisses me off.

    Posted by: Nikko | Sep 20, 2007 3:30:59 AM


  14. Gays sabotaging other gays? Like we don't have enough people against us?

    Posted by: lou | Sep 20, 2007 5:27:17 AM


  15. Oh, people. Let's put on our critical thinking hats, shall we?

    As far as I can tell from the posted story, this reporter barely interviewed anyone. Leonard and Vera Katz considered it an attempt at political assassination - okay, but it could still be true! Just because Ball's motives weren't pure doesn't mean that the story is not true, necessarily!

    And where did that info (Leonard & Katz's opinions) come from? It doesn't look like they were asked directly. So where did that info come from? It could have come from Adams himself.

    As far as Adams' open letter, don't forget that Foley was a big supporter of law "protecting" children: big, dramatic displays of hypocrisy are the norm in politics.

    Who knows what happened - but you people want to hang Ball out to dry based on nothing but a slanted article from a small-town paper. The man DOES absolutely have that reporting responsibility under Oregon law - does that mean he has to report every little suspicion? No. But if he has a suspicion, and knows that if it's true, it would help his political career, can you blame him for being a little overeager to report it? This is politics, people, and gay men have to play by the same awful rules as the straights do if they're going to win. And you do want them to win, right?

    The situation could easily be that Adams was having a relationship with the 17 yr old, but unlike a Republican closet-case like Foley, Adams, as an out of the closet Democrat with a clue, knew better than to hit on STRAIGHT boys! If the attraction and romance was mutual, wouldn't Mr. Breedlove have a motive to lie, to help out his lovah?

    You know what makes me sad? How many gay people, who should know SO much better, automatically believe everything that they read. You people are so easily influenced that you are almost programmable.

    The red flag in your mind should have gone up the minute you saw the words "nasty smear campaign". When I saw that, I thought, "bullshit alert". A good report states the clear, undisputable facts first and leaves any hypothetical conclusions for the end. Value judgments, especially at the beginning, tell you that someone is trying to sway you.

    It could also just as easily be that Adams knew that Ball was kind of a prude as well as being a political opportunist. So Adams had someone suggest the idea of an inappropriate relationship to Ball, knowing that Ball would take the bait and have it blow up in his face. Then the false accusations would then allow Adams to take the "high road", issue an indignant and martyrish "open letter" to all of Portland and all the gay and liberal lemmings would fall in line with "oh that nasty Ball, how dare he betray the gay brotherhood, I won't vote for him!"

    Sound farfetched? Stranger things have happened in politics.

    People, just be skeptical. Of everything you read. Even stuff posted on towleroad.

    Posted by: Chris | Sep 20, 2007 6:41:52 AM


  16. SHOW US YOUR PELOTAS, BOB! LMAO. Thanks, NIC. I'd rather be correct. My Spanish, colloquial or otherwise is about as rusty as a trailerpark Chevy Nova on cinderblocks, so I appreciate the assistance ;)

    Without steering any further from the actual topic though, I'd like to know just how many people really think that it's standard operating procedure for some sort of Erastes/Eromenos bullshit to go down for gay men? I mean give me a friggin' break! I'm 40 years old and have had many young (yes, 17 and 18 year-old...) gay men come on to me, but (...and I know I'm not speaking for everyone, hush!) I always turn them down. When I think of attempting any sort of sexual relationship with a fetus I could have technically spawned, I get a little queasy. However, I have no problem continuing a dialog with many of these young adults because I also remember how difficult it was in my life not knowing anything about anyone, anywhere and feeling horribly alone in the world. I also, from personal experience, realize there truly are predators in the world and take it as my responsibility to steer these kids from harm's way whenever possible. Let's face it, we all did what we were going to do at that age, usually, unless we really trusted the advice of someone...and that usually was NOT our parents.

    Adams made several comments in related articles that clarified his position, his staff clarified theirs and even Breedlove's own mother made a statement addressing her approval of this mentorship. I'd like to believe in Mr. Adams if for nothing else, that influential people that have faced adversity in their lives and have become successful can actually be people to look up to, instead of what we see in continuously negative media exposure, without becoming such Pollyanna's that we succumb to the exact opposite, somewhat akin to the current machine's "Mission Accomplice".

    I wish Mr. Adams all the best in his future and truly, shame on you, Bob Ball.

    Posted by: FizziekruntNT | Sep 20, 2007 12:02:50 PM


  17. hi,
    I have met Bob Ball and he does not seem like the kind of person to do anything like this. He is a kind man, with great ideas. He could have probably won the mayoral race - he would not need to make up stories about someone to try to win.
    This is silly.
    Think about it people.
    And, on top of that, there is too much protesting going on from the Adams guy and the 17 year old.
    Someone who knows the real story behind their relationship please stand up!

    Posted by: damian | Sep 20, 2007 4:12:56 PM


  18. Another possible scenario to consider is that Adams' camp became aware of the news stories about to break and decided to go on the offensive by crying "smear campaign." It isn't hard to start rumors that someone else is spreading rumors about you, especially in a town where social/political/etc. circles are very small and overlap. The timing of this did nothing to benefit Ball, so why would his motive be political at this point in the game? This entire episode has benefited Adams much more than it ever could have Ball. Just another alternative to ponder. Much stranger things have happened in politics. Remember, just because you read something on the internet or hear it on the news, doesn't automatically mean it is the gospel truth or the entire story around a set of circumstances. One need look no further than the media's coverage of the war to understand that.

    Posted by: TJT | Sep 20, 2007 6:38:20 PM


  19. It looks like Ball told a local TV station that he didn't think the rumor was true, he just wanted to share it. And The Oregonian says that Ball wants to apologize to the commissioner.

    Posted by: emerald | Sep 24, 2007 8:34:47 PM


  20. hey andy...

    you might want to re-use this thread. it looks like a lot of people owe this ball guy an apology BESIDES adams. i don't know what mr breedlove looked like in 2005, but he is star quality now. mentoring hunky teens is a risky business, and never one to take on in private... unless you are asking for trouble.

    Posted by: jack | Jan 20, 2009 5:28:10 AM


  21. This is unfortunate, but it is now quite clear that Sam Adams (now Portland's newly inagurated mayor) was the one lying, per his admissions to the press yesterday.

    Posted by: JOHN | Jan 20, 2009 10:26:28 PM


  22. Oh, the irony. Rumors that persist aren't rumors...

    And what peculiar contextual anomaly compels even a political figure to be honest and forthright about a sexual relationship when asked? When caught lying to the public about a sexual relationship, is it the same as lying to one's partner? Is honesty NEVER discretionary?

    Posted by: TANK | Jan 20, 2009 10:57:40 PM


  23. Of course in the end, Ball was being honest and Adams was lying through his teeth just to get elected... but oh, the reactions versus looking for the truth.

    Posted by: Lucifer Advocate | Sep 7, 2011 10:41:48 PM


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