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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A new low point for Portland

At least during my 30 years here, this is as bad as it has ever gotten. Decent people, I warn you: it's not safe for work. Indeed, it's not even safe to look at if you just want to keep living here. Sure, it was filmed last fall. But this revolting video pretty much sums up how the City of Roses has fallen from a great little livable city to a pathetic, self-absorbed, creepy little dump. What losers they are, and we are.

Comments (69)

I have started several comments, deleted them and still have a hard time knowing what to say.


This is our Portland City Government?

The participants thought this was a good idea, whenever this was made?

It really has reached the point of being unspeakable. Words fail at such ugliness.

I am pretty much speechless...what a disgusting video. It is becoming very clear what (or who) is the problem in Portland city government...Adams and Leonard. What a bunch of idiots.

And as for Storm Large- what a loser!

The magnitude of the suckiness here is so immense and all-encompassing that it feels like the universe itself has changed on a basic and profound level in which even the smallest subatomic particles known as Bosons have all simultaneously turned into little pieces of crap.

That video is useless tat. Not entertaining, either.

These are the people who are deciding the future of Portland. If they didn't have the common sense to see how awful this was, what makes anyone think they have the judgment to run anything?

I want my vote back.

That is stupid and vulgar in ways I cannot quite describe. I noted Willamette Week staffers in the "credits" (I should say "blames"). What better indication of how Portland is becoming a dirty, inbred town where the "insiders" in City Hall -"green" developers, the WW, the Oregonian, the Mercury, the "sustainability community," and the rest of the usual suspects - run riot and treat this city as their playground, meat market, and toilet... all on our dime.

And Sam thinks he is still good for the city? I wonder how the gay community really feels about these three a**holes?

Portland government really is high school, isn't it? That looks like something 10th graders would do to show their friends.

Misery loves company.

Several years ago, the O ran an opinion piece, something to the effect that Portlanders/Oregonians were satisfied with mediocrity. This drops the taste level down several notches, to pathetic.

God help us. Let's hope this gets big time play in other media.

Good times, good times.

I've never voted for any of these morons but I guess I "am" still a loser.

Hey, this j***off knows the voters won't do anything (hell, they're talking about him for Gov.)

So, like an 8th grader vandalizing public property, he can thumb his nose at everybody and feel like a pretty big guy. As if pissing away tax dollars isn't enough of an ego-trip already.

That video is full of win.

The worst thing about that video is how totally unfunny it is.

The second worst thing is that many other city employees could be disciplined or fired for using their position as a city employees in such a way.

It's hard to believe that elected officials could use such piss poor judgement, but there it is.
And I'm about as left wing as you can get.

But to say "Portland is a creepy little dump" because of this stupid little vid is just prudish and silly. Move to detroit if you don't like it here, according to that "happiness survey" people are happier there than here...

At a loss for words, embarrassed for my city. I know we can do better than these two buffoons. Maybe the recall can be a 2fer.

Sophomoric to say the least.

There are so many ways that "Candidates Gone Wild" could go - slapstick humor really could be "G" or "PG". This video is a mirror that reflects badly on Portland.

I guess the majority of the voters aren't a part of the "in" crowd. This video was surely targeted to an small segment of the voters - none that I want to be associated with.

Isn't there a way to make a smart, funny video that takes aim at the issues the city was facing?

In context it certainly lives up to the tenets of Candidates Gone Wild. Out of context (and months later) it glares.

I saw this back when it was fresh and realized Leonard's lack of perception and judgement knows no limits.
People should know that this is Randy and that his take on official city business is no better.

But their Candidate's Gone Wild skits (still available for viewing) are just as bad if not worse. Laced with profanity and absent any dignity this is who they are.

What we have here is a guy who's more suited to be a warehouseman, who thinks he's a funny guy, sitting in a leadership position he has no business or sense occupying.
Right along with the rest of the City Council. No offense to warehousemen.

On the upside, this is one of those rare cases where we appear all unified.
Bill and Ben as brothers. :)

I mean how few people there must be who find nothing but innocent humor in Randy and Sam's little movie?

These guys have lost every sense of dignity,,, seemingly thinking they are hip enough to make such concepts obsolete.

As for Storm Large?
It doesn't bother me so much that she is somehow impressed with these clowns.
Maybe she had a difficult childhood with her own father or something?
But she is an entertainer and not conducting any public business.

Having attended the last two CGW events, where I sat right up front near the MC podium, I must also add that Storm is very good singer and stunning specimen of a woman.

I quit watching 1/2 way through and noticed there is a 'part 2' as well!
This is just a waste of everyone's time.
I'm for the "2fer recall"!

What was edited out? The cameo by Beau Breedlove? Watching porn in a room at the new convention center hotel? A gang bang with the new MLS team? I don't care about the "context" of this abhorrent piece of trash. To think that the morons who greenlighted this are spending our tax dollars and making important policy decisions. Can't we speed up the recall clock?

As bad as this video was, I think it and others like it need some real air time about recall election time.


You said "Having attended the last two CGW events, where I sat right up front near the MC podium" and "their Candidate's Gone Wild skits (still available for viewing) are just as bad if not worse. Laced with profanity and absent any dignity this is who they are".

So I am wondering if the local media was there. If so, did they think this behavior was appropriate, or just not worth revealing or reporting to the general public?

Er...that was stupid, but hardly offensive.

Dave, that's a big part of the point. It was stupid. It seems obvious that in an attempt to be cutting edge, funny, cool, the CC resorts to 10th grade humor. Their attempt to buck the norm and to keep Portland weird comes off as moronic and juvenile. The message it sends to young people wanting to get into Portland politics is when "really offensive" begins to creep in.

It's unbelievable. I mean, I scrupulously avoid profanities in even my anonymous comments. This video is unbelievable.

I think it is unfair to characterize this as "high school"; there are a great many young students from elementary through college who are creative, thoughtful and considerate. My own friends at the time undertook painstaking, low quality recreations of Monty Python skits, for example. But this video exhibits the tastelessness and hostility of kind of immaturity that is not tied to age. What on earth were they thinking? Completely disrespectful and disappointing. Completely.

Randy Leonard: you're not embarrassed by him--you're embarrassed for him.

I don't mind crude when it's actually funny, but this is crude and terribly unfunny, which is about 10x worse.

It's the political equivalent of that epic Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) flameout where he shouted the N-word about 10 times in a comedy club. When you shoot for hilariously outrageous and miss the hilarity part, you just wind up looking petty, small, and stupid.

I was going to leave Storm out of it, but you brought her up:
As a musician I've seen my share of tragedies and some tremendous victories as well. I remember when my band would share weeknights with a little trio at a tavern called the Questing Beast on Stark. We'd stop and drain a few pitchers with them as one of us was moving in or out, and I used to think, if it was just 1957 again, this young guitar player in the other group would have a real chance. He did fine - it was Robert Cray.

Storm Large certainly had the chops and looks to have gone places. Maybe if she had hooked up with the right break when she was 17 or so, she could have ended up in a mansion somewhere with gold records on the wall. I mean it's possible.

Instead she had to jump through the hoop on that ridiculous reality show, where - give her credit - she did end up singing on national TV. But then afterwards, it was a matter of settling for the biggest version of fame she had left. Unfortunately, that meant doing penis jokes and urinating on a city commissioner. Wow, talk about pissing it all away.

somewhere along the way, most City Council members seem to have confused the privilege of serving with feeling privileged.

Dan Saltzman is smart, but seems uninterested in taking a stand. I've watched him cave on several critical, long-term issues--including Sam Adams.

Randy Leonard can be outspoken at the right times--but overall, he's out there schmoozing with lobbyists and power brokers early and often. he seems lacking in clarity, and unwilling (like Saltzman) to take a stand on much. he plays the snark too often.

Nick Fish seems to be headed the right direction, so far.

Amanda Fritz, to my disappointment, seems headed towards an ineffective and (as Anna Griffin aptly put it) shrill residency. i'm guessing she'll run for re-election ad infinitum. her leap to the microphone to "defend" Adams was a weird--and shrill--moment.

Sam Adams' long history of hanging around City Hall is, when examined, devoid of much meaningful decision-making. unfortunately, he's indicative of a thundering, self-congratulatory mediocrity here in a city that seems to hav a love-hate relationship with itself--calling for outside validation on one hand, rejecting outside (and, hell, inside) criticism on the other.

who else we got? ourselves. the good stuff usually happens from the bottom up, not vice-versa.

I mean, at the very least--since when does City Council get the final say in what "the City's business" is?

Hey, this j***off knows the voters won't do anything (hell, they're talking about him for Gov.)

I think this video ends that talk, but quick. I mean, take the part where Randy talks about Storm pissing on him with a penis, loop it 10 times, and run that as a 30 second spot in every city but Portland and Eugene. Game over.

That's part of it, but crude isn't just tied to funny, but to time and place. Nobody is really surprised the hear the creative vulgarities that bars and ball courts inspire, but you don't want your dentist, waitress, teacher or even strangers to be so presumptious with you. It's self-indulgent, ill-mannered, lazy and insulting. And I simply can't imagine ever holding public office or being in any sort of public position and making this sort of video — in any context. It's just amazingly bad judgment.

Now, if you want funny swearing videos, it's tough to beat Billy Mays selling Kaboom. In fact, after watching the Adams/Leonard video I need to wash my monitor with Kaboom.

The sad thing is, this probably could have been funny. But instead the effect feels like someone asked Uwe Boll to direct a Big Lebowski remake.

Heck, run the Randy and Storm loop 10 times in Portland and Eugene and the Game is over. I think there is enough decency left here to nix Randy...and Sam.

Wow, lighten up all you previous commenters. My wife and I just watched the video and laughed most of the way through it. We enjoyed it a lot.

Maybe Sam Adams and Randy Leonard look different way down here in south Salem, where people aren't obsessed with the ongoing "he's a lying bastard!" game.

Inveterate watchers of Comedy Central, we appreciate well-fashioned video humor. This piece was clever, well-acted (Leonard deserves an alternative Oscar), and had a great punch line.

We found nothing objectionable in it. Our main reaction: how fortunate Portland is to have competent elected officials with a sense of humor. If only more of their constituents did.

Obama once said that his defeat in his first bid for a senate seat helped him grow up and get serious. I think his words were something to the effect of "That was the end of vanity politics for me." Taken at face value there is a point there: The longer you go without being defeated or fired for the first time, the more likely you are to be careless with greater responsibility, and to be immature in the face of greater adversity.

I think what we're really seeing in this video is people who haven't yet encountered their own end of vanity politics.

I think Randy has a future in acting. No one does "Dumb Guy" better. As for Sam, what the hell do you expect?

Put me down as LOVED IT!
It was hilarious!
Stupidly funny!

Maybe Sam Adams and Randy Leonard look different way down here in south Salem, where people aren't obsessed with the ongoing "he's a lying bastard!" game.

Maybe it's easier to laugh when they don't have much power over your daily lives.

We found nothing objectionable in it. Our main reaction: how fortunate Portland is to have competent elected officials with a sense of humor. If only more of their constituents did.

you're confusing a sense of humor with taste.

finding the video offensive (or stupid, or unfunny) doesn't mean the viewer lacks a sense of humor--but it might imply something else. like, say, a longing for elected officials striving for ideals that transcend potty humor and snarky one-offs.

I'm sorry, but regardless if you find this funny or not, it is simply rude and disrespectful to curse and slap-ass on camera unless that was the platform you ran on.

The audio is out on my computer, so I'm relying on the posts for content. It sounds crude and inappropriate.

Fish for Mayor. Recall the others.

Where did this come from? Why is it emerging (re-surfacing?) now? Coincidence?

I stopped watching the video after the first 20 seconds--yuck. I walked out of Candidates Gone Wild last year after the first 20 minutes with the same feeling--seriously. Someting is wrong around here--this isn't funny anymore.


"Where did this come from? Why is it emerging (re-surfacing?) now? Coincidence?"

It came from YouTube. (Of course you know that. Why did you have to ask?) "Re-surfacing?" Was it supposed to be buried away somewhere? "Coincidence?" Like, maybe this topic of embarrassment in, and lack of professionalism displayed by, our city officials is not a BIG STORY right now?

By the way, here's leadership:


And Mr. Frohnmayer resigns July 1st. Now there's a coincidence for ya!

From the article on Frohnmayer's lecture:

"You cannot lead other people until you lead yourself," he [Frohnmayer] said.

I don't care about the occassion or the explanation, there is no excuse for our public "leaders" engaging in such demeaning and disgusting behavior. I agree, any broader political aspirations on Leonard's part are over with his garish display of immaturity and bad taste on this video. As for Adams, I was finished with him long before his disgusting behavior was made public in January, and his behavior on this video comes as no surprise. It exemplifies his character perfectly.
Jack, do us all a favor and rerun these "highlights" of our mayor's leadership style as the date for the recall effort approaches. These jokers are banking on short memories and complacency saving their careers. We have no one to blame but ourselves if we allow that to happen. I, for one, will be out gathering signatures to force Adams out. This city needs to step away from the "Keep Portand Weird" mentality and embrace a "Make Portland Responsible, Accountable and a City we can be Proud of" mentality. I'm sick of Portland being the city that the rest of the country laughs at. And that won't change until we get people who know how to govern in City Hall.

"Dishonesty is fatal!"

Frohnmayer is right on the money, as is his point about Obama. The difference in maturity and understanding between that little video and the Adams/Leonard video tells you all you need to know.

I'm still in a state of complete disbelief that Adams hasn't resigned.

Why did Scion sponsor this? Or is that just some part of the joke that I don't get? If they did sponsor it, what does it mean that Portland's city council is so anti-automobile but accepts money from auto manufacturers? Does Sam really drive a Scion, but he expects everyone else to take the streetcar?

So many embarrassing questions -- so little time.

Its interesting. I have sent that link to several people I know. And it seems every one of them under 30 thinks its funny. Those over 30 think its stupid, childish, rude, etc.

I dunno, maybe if it was more like a Bugs Bunny cartoon, where a rabbit was hitting Randy over the head with a hammer it would have been funny...

If this is supposed to be entertaining to progressives, it would be an interesting contrast to see what kind of videos Republicans might put out.

Bill M. -- As a professional in the business, do you think this is any different than what SNL has become? The first time I watched SNL in years was to catch the comic genius Tina Fey do Palin. I mistakenly left it on for the rest of the show, and saw what was basically this type of humor for 85 more minutes. I'm not sure this video is any different than what passes for maintstream late-night comedy. I don't find it funny, but somebody must.

Makes you wish for the old days when Portlands leaders were crooks rather then clowns.

I think this is absolutely different than Saturday Night Live. On SNL, paid actors make fun of officials and celebs.

Every once in a while, the real official or celeb will show up for a cameo to show they have a sense of humor to be poked fun at.

To the best of my knowledge, they don't act in the entire show, play slap-ass, get peed on, and drop F-bombs!

I'm not sure this video is any different than what passes for maintstream late-night comedy. I don't find it funny, but somebody must.

you're mistaking "television comedians" for "elected public officials". but it's an understandable mistake.

the main difference for me is--I really have much higher hopes for and expectations of elected public officials.

so, for those absent any real meaningful standards for their elected officials, the video's probably funny, harmless, YouTube-worthy.

for those still holding onto the fading dream of elected officials that strive to live up to the ethics and ideals of public service, it was close to mockery.

you see, to be told to "lighten up" really doesn't make sense here. this isn't a commentary on Tina Fey or a fart joke--it's a commentary on those ethics and ideals.

and despite the hipster-sneeringly superior-soundbite mentality I'm hearing these days, most folks don't want "perfection" in their elected officials--far from it; they want respectful, ethical public servants who are striving to live up to the ethics and ideals we hold as a society--and stepping aside when they fail to do so.

come to think of it, maybe we just don't have those ideals any more.

I mean--Jefferson and Lincoln were far from perfect public servants, but try and imagine either of them making a public video about mock-pissing.

Miles -- having watched SNL since the 70s, I have to agree. SNL just isn't as funny as it used to be. Yes, there are occasional strokes of brilliance, but more often than not, it mostly isn't.

Must be that I am getting older.

'tis a shame that some who enjoy this video will be stepping in to run the city for future generations.

"down here in south Salem, where people aren't obsessed with the ongoing "he's a lying bastard!" game."

In South Salem, I guess they are used to be lied to on a regular basis?

If Adams hadn't turned out to be a pathological, election-stealing liar with a fondness for sex with teenagers and men's room trysts, this wouldn't be half as offensive as it now is.

This is amazing that it has to be explained to some what a total lack of dignity is.

It's funny?

So is pull my finger.

Public officails should maintain at least a minmum level of diginty in order to preserve respect, trust and admiration.

It should not need stating that one doesn't have to sacrifice dignity to have a sense of humor.

As for the under 30 crowd? Many of them don't even know who these clowns are.
Oh gee how funny.

I know many and most would find this pathetic if they considered it in the context of it being city officials.

Many would find it silly/funny and pathetic at the same time.

But so what?
That doesn't mean anything.

The fact is this is a shameless display of public officials who have lost all sense of decorum, and class.

Who needs those ideals when you're hip and funny in a city keeping weird.

OK. Are we all absolutely sure this is them and the video is for real? I guess part of me still can't believe it.

I'm not ready to tar the whole city with this, or to conflate the video's idiocy with a critique of any cultural or political movement. I think we are where we are today for the same reason Bush was able to steal the 2000 election: a small group of determined gangsters can cover a lot of ground when most people just aren't paying close attention.

But sooner or later the story gets out. And I think we can expect Adams to be recalled by a wide margin, for starters. It's the one thing both Adams and I believe: that if people ever find out the truth about him, he's going to lose.

I have no problems (as it seems some other do) with the language or crudity of the video (although I don't find those things funny in and of themselves like some people do) but what's amazing about it to me is just how flatly unfunny the whole thing is.

The idea that public officials have to maintain some false sense of "dignity" is a crock so far as I'm concerned, but Dear God, you'd hope that they'd at least have the good sense to not participate in something that makes them seem mentally deficient. (Couldn't the "writer" come up with some synonyms for "hussy"?) Of course, Adams may have been in the restroom when the good sense was being passed out.

With all of the truly talented people in this town, you'd think that they could have come up with someone to expunge this line from the credits: "Written by Storm Large".

Though it does set one to speculating about next fall's Candidates Gone Wild....

The only funny part of the whole thing was that they couldn't even spell "Willamette" correctly.

I was there at CGW when this was first shown and I thought that in context it was very funny. (The context being in part a running joke that Sam couldn't possibly be gay because he had never made a pass at Randy.)

Count me among the unoffended and the still amused. Count me also among the puzzled and skeptical about all the outrage being expressed above. This is what CGW has been like the last couple of times. And while I would agree that in 2008 it went a little bit off the charts in terms of profanity, it is a fun event that engages young voters and allows our candidates and elected officials to show that they are not stuffed shirts. I love it and consider it an authentic Portland institution.

With all due respect, those of you expressing your outrage: CGW isn't for you. Randy and Sam and other candidates and officials do all kinds of serious events for serious audiences looking for serious content. You should go to those events, and watch video of them as much as you want. But CGW is not those events. It is not for the easily offended or those who take local government too seriously. And it engages a segment of the population that are largely unreached by the City Club and other higher-minded candidate forums. Our elected officials are human and I'm proud to live in a city where they aren't afraid to act like it.

Sometimes it seems to me that the main problem in Portland is clique politics. Mayor Creepy's morals certainly leave something to be desired, but his sense of extra legal entitlement is no different than that shared by all members of Portland's elite.

When I read insiders "roasting" Sam Adams, I Wondered whether his personal indiscretions were being broadcast because he tried to show a little independence; firing Gil Kelley, for example, whom Vera Katz credited with making SoWa a reality.

Little seems to have changed since I moved to Portland in the late 1970s; junior high school ethics still seem to prevail. These days I think even middle school kids are more mature than Portland "movers and shakers". Something else that disgusts me is a recent piece in the O about the "Coraline economy"; supposedly, Portland 'creatives' are the key to economic revival. Actually, Coraline is a Phil Knight project and Knight is a consumate insider and clique member. The article talked about creative shoe makers and I couldn't help thinking about how Nike has taken credit for ideas originally promulaged by a company my sister founded, Deja Shoe. These "insiders" run legitimate reformers out of town on a rail. My guess is that if the O doesn't catch on to some of these problems soon, it will go the way of The Rocky Mountain News.


it is a fun event that engages young voters and allows our candidates and elected officials to show that they are not stuffed shirts
Look how well Obama did with young voters and he didn't even come close to this sort of vulgar idiocy. Young voters are like all voters: they want people to look up to. This idea that the kids set the standard and marketing-driven, pandering pols should give them what they want is nonsense. It's insulting and degrading for everybody and the turnout for Obama proves it.

Count me also among the puzzled and skeptical about all the outrage being expressed above.

you're confusing outrage with disappointment.

it is a fun event that engages young voters and allows our candidates and elected officials to show that they are not stuffed shirts.

less than 1/10th of 1% of Portlanders either attend or watch the CGW, and repeated surveys have shown it has no effect on voting.

But CGW is not those events. It is not for the easily offended or those who take local government too seriously.

how seriously, exactly, should citizens *take* local government? because from over here, when I'm helping to pay a few milion dollars in City Hall salaries and expenses, and living in a large city with complex needs and tough problems, I expect elected officials to take it *damn* seriously.

but maybe you think of the temporary privilege of governing as a lighthearted hobby?


Seriously! Does anybody stand in front of the mirror, brush their teeth and think, "You know, I think those commenters are mostly upset because they're looking at a brand of gross stupidity for which they are not the target audience. Those candidates are looking to make politics approachable and understandable for young people. They're only speaking in dogsh*t and d*ck jokes to make a connection with the younger demographics. I don't get why those dummies don't get that."

I mean, some people have said they think it's amusing and, hey, there's no accounting for taste. But to say it is strategically smart and even responsible civic behavior? That is seriously out to lunch. Be sure to include your comment with every future job application to insure that you never find employment in any field other than advertising and sales.

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