Now that his character assassination against Sam Adams has made headlines, developer Bob Ball is facing some serious backlash around town. After spreading unfounded rumors that Adams had slept with an underage legislative intern, and denying his involvement after the story broke, Ball's candidacy for mayor may already be over before it officially started.
Scott Moore at the Portland Mercury predicts a bleak political future for Ball:
Ball is incommunicado, so we’ll have to guess at his motivations. He anticipated a certain amount of ingrained societal homophobia, such that a story in which nothing inappropriate is even alleged would gain political traction and throw Adams out of the race for mayor. All indications, though, are that the story has backfired on Ball, and I, personally, would be shocked if he can salvage any kind of political future for himself.
It’s not just the unfounded allegation or whisper campaign, but the fact that he’s been caught in at least two lies about the story. First, he told the Oregonian that he knew nothing about the rumor last week, which was blatantly false. Then, he called Leonard and asked him if he had told the Oregonian, because Leonard was the only person he had told about it. That, too, was blatantly false—Ball had met days before with Vera Katz, and Leonard knew it.
Moore also gives a scathing review of the Willamette Week's original coverage of the rumor:
Perhaps the most startling thing about the story is Willamette Week's piece, penned by Nigel Jaquiss. The easiest way to read it is through Jaquiss's apparent Goldschmidt fixation and, by extension, his fixation on his Pulitzer. Even though the two stories aren't analogous in the least, Jaquiss appears to believe that this is simply a retelling of the Goldschmidt story. In Jaquiss's world, a gay man can't have contact with an underage male without there being a sexual advance, or without everyone worrying about the appearance of salaciousness. When you're a hammer, as they say, everything looks like a nail.
WW's quick buy-in to the homophobic frame--that of course all gay men are sexual predators!--also speaks volumes.
"The ironic part of this is that even Big Brothers and Big Sisters frequently pairs Queer adults with Queer youth," says Adams. "Not that a straight Big Brother wouldn't be great for a Queer youth, or vice versa, but they have a shared experience. I hope this doesn't have a chilling effect on the mentoring that should go on between Queer youth and adults."
Meanwhile, over at Loaded Orygun, James X describes his past experiences meeting Adams:
I've met Sam a few times in social contexts and in official contexts, and I can vouch for the fact that Sam is the most accessible politician I have ever met. He's certainly the only politician I've ever randomly met in a social context. I'm a nobody, yet Sam invited me to become involved with his office, and had a meal with me. This is exactly what is alleged to have happened with this 17-year-old, but as sordid and suspicious as it sounds, it never led to me having gay sex with Sam Adams. Not even a little bit of gay sex with Sam Adams.
Not only has Bob Ball irretrievably lost my vote in a race that I was fairly neutral about, but I may very well give Adams' office a call to become a volutneer. Way to go, Bob.
Sept. 19, 2007 | | elsewhere.Posted in