There were three TV news vans out front of Nick's Coney Island restaurant Thursday evening by 5:30pm, a half hour before the first rally for the Recall Sam Adams political action committee.
Too many bulky cameras, microphones, and stiff newscaster hair left the already tight Nick's easily packed by 6 pm.
The bartenders were busy pouring beers, and TV newscasters were “testing testing one two three.” Shortly after 6, volunteer Jasun Wurster stood on a table to speak to about 50 recall backers. And there was in fact, sincerity in his delivery.
Wurster said he wants the recall campaign to be about Adams' failings as a leader.
“Sam Adams has lost the public's trust and political capital to effectively represent our city," Wurster said. "This recall is based on him willfully lying to get elected, orchestrating an elaborate cover-up and using his power to become our mayor. And that is not what democracy is about.”
Wurster cited what he called Adams “political thuggery,” - his willingness to smear his detractors - as a reason why he can't be trusted, and why some of his volunteers who work for the city must volunteer their time to the recall in anonymity.
Wurster says the Recall Sam Adams political action committee's campaign is not partisan in any way, and that it won't pay people to collect signatures, nor endorse a future mayoral candidate if the recall succeeds when it begins July 1.
Wurster's dream for a clean, nonpartisan campaign however, already appeared to be at risk Thursday night as a few ominous signs popped up on the far right.
Victoria Taft, Portland's own Ann Coulter, was broadcasting from the corner booth the whole time. A man with a shirt that said “Jesus Hardcore” in the front and “Christian Outlaw” in the back was chucking it up with past mayoral also-ran candidate Jeff Taylor the “pro Family Mayor.” Taylor carried a picket sign with him in the very crowded space, already on his campaign platform.
One of the few young people there, Dale Clark, who works in drug and alcohol treatment, was best able to articulate a fear that may keep many more young people from joining the recall.
“I really hope that this campaign doesn't get hijacked by right-wing republican Christians because I really don't think that that is what this is all about," Clark said. "This has nothing to do with a man's sexuality.”
Someone in the crowd asked Wuster if they were going to start a campaign to recall Commissioner Randy Leonard as well - a question that promptedthe loudest, most enthusiastic reponse all night from the room.
Wurster said, “No.”
"Awwww," said the crowd.
“But if someone wants to recall Randy Leonard," Wurster said, "I would be more than happy to share my experience after we recall Sam Adams.”
"Yeaaaaaaa," said the crowd.