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Goldschmidt should stay gone

He was able to have a long and rewarding career; not so his victim

Neil Goldschmidt was one of the most gifted public servants of his generation.

If our society values equality as more than an empty platitude, that statement will remain in the past tense. Because in all fairness, Goldschmidt's career should have been over almost as soon as it began.

At the age of 35, while mayor of a major American city, Goldschmidt committed third-degree rape. The victim ' there is no other word, because that is what she was and what she remains today ' was 14.

Had his crime come to light in 1975, Goldschmidt would not have been Transportation secretary in the Carter administration, or governor of Oregon.

He was both, and later became a Nike executive, a powerful political consultant and, most recently, chairman of the state Board of Higher Education, where he was poised to implement Gov. Ted Kulongoski's agenda of revitalizing Oregon's public colleges and universities.

Had a Portland weekly newspaper not been prepared to reveal his long-kept secret, Goldschmidt presumably would have stayed in the public eye, his considerable talents brought to bear on issues of importance.

— Why does someone like Neil Goldschmidt behave in such a reprehensible fashion ' especially when so much is at stake?

We don't pretend to know the answer to that question. We do know that he is not the first man of public power and ambition to be brought down by private failures.

The difference between Goldschmidt and sex offenders of less exalted circumstances is that he was able to keep his crime a secret for nearly three decades, long enough for the statute of limitations to expire. He also had the wherewithal to pay a settlement to his victim, in exchange for her silence.

He went on to a long and distinguished career. She went on to drop out of high school, suffering through years of unemployment and drug and alcohol abuse.

Some have predicted that he'll overcome this and be back in the spotlight. But in our view, for him to ever again hold a public position would be to declare that the consequences of criminal behavior apply only to those without power and influence.

His career is now over. It should stay that way.

Where we need to be

The statement struck us as something worth repeating: It's very nice, says the artist. This is what towns need to do.

What's remarkable about that statement is that the town the artist referred to is Medford and the event is the city's annual Art in Bloom festival. The words speak volumes about where Medford has come in recent years and about the direction the city is headed.

The words came from wildlife artist Dave Bartholet, who brought his art from his Seaside studio for Medford's festival held Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. Conceived four years ago, the downtown festival celebrates art and flowers and is meant to be a draw for regional artists and thousands of participants.

The event brought downtown alive with people, even on a somewhat dreary, showery weekend. The festival centers around a juried exhibit of works by artists from around the Pacific Northwest.

This is, in fact, exactly what the town needs to do. These sorts of events will bring people to Medford, and to downtown Medford, and continue to help build a city center that is alive ' and blooming.