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Oregon Mayor Recalled for Racy Photos

Should Public Officials Get Private Lives?

Arlington, OR, Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist was recalled by voters who disapproved of her less-than-professional pictures posted on her MySpace profile. The pictures were snapped before she took office and she stands by her right to strictly draw a line between public and private life. She says she doesn't regret posting the photos, saying that essentially that, it's my. space. That's why they call it MySpace. She also said,

"My reaction is that the democratic process took place, and that is a good process that we have in the United States, and it's fair."

The situation does call to mind the Monica Lewinsky snafu. What if she'd had a Facebook page in 1998? No "pokes" jokes I promise.

And finally, here's a sample of headline jokesters:

  • Oregon Mayor Stripped Of Office After Posing In Underwear
  • MySpace Mayor: Kontur-Gronquist Loses Job After Losing Clothes
  • Busty Mayor Stripped of Office
  • Lingerie MySpace Mayor Recalled...

But the serious question remains: do voters have the right to consider the whole picture of a candidate, public and private life, when choosing a leader?

Join The Conversation
demeter demeter 9 years
She posted them on MYSPACE. She is a public official, somebody is bound to find them and use them against her. She should have been smarter than that.
sugarbean sugarbean 9 years
Any info on her campaign? I suspect that she may have run as a person (or based on a reputation) that one wouldn't associate with posting pictures in lingerie on MySpace. At the same time, I feel like there's more to the story... either she picked the wrong battles (ie: MySpace being "private") or, as suggested above, she put the focus on the pictures to avoid drawing attention to other issues. The photos were taken before she was in office, and except for providing the background, it doesn't appear that city funds were used in the production of the pictures (although the subsequent proceedings demanded by the citizens to remove her from office certainly ate through some city monies) It appears that we are losing sight of the difference between an individual and his/her job. If the two overlap, as in the case of (still-employed) Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, then certainly there needs to be, at the very least, some sort of independent investigation -- otherwise, we are hurting ourselves by limiting the pool of potential public servants. If Kilpatrick and his mistress, Beatty, who actively engaged in behavior that violated the constituency's expectations and used city funds in the process of doing so, can't be personally liable for the $9 million trial (the same one where he lied under oath) because they were sued in their capacity as city officials, then there are serious questions about whether the mayor from Oregon should have been removed from office because of "suggestive" pictures taken before she assumed office and without the expenditure of any city monies. More than anything, this illustrates the reality of American politics. When Americans cast a vote, they are acting more as consumers than they are active citizens. We are buying into a carefully tailored and well-managed package, and we expect certain things in return. Sure, removing someone from office for inappropriate behavior is a right that we are guaranteed, but that does not mean that we are entitled to control the behavior of elected officials 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Goodness knows that, despite the amazing job they did in creating the foundation of the US, our Founding Fathers were not all the most, um, upstanding members of society. A good number of them absolutely could not survive a political campaign or term in office in the age of Google. Today, however, we consider them heroes (as we very well should): we recognize them for their accomplishments and hard work NOT for their moral character or good behavior.
Jillz1128 Jillz1128 9 years
I think everyone is entitled to a private life, but I do think that was inappropirate.
x_juicyfruit x_juicyfruit 9 years
Everyone needs a private life, and this was quite some time ago. Who cares? Really? Not I!
verily verily 9 years
She's got great abs and should be proud of them. I think the public seriously overreacted over some harmless photos. However, she should not be so surprised either when she lives in the public spotlight of a prudish society.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
I absolutely believe that public figures deserve private lives, but My Space IS NOT PRIVATE! I would never in a million years post anything like that on my MySpace page and I never want to be in the public eye! I don't understand people who have difficulty understanding that anyone anywhere can see what you post online. Your online profile is the way you are choosing to present yourself publicly.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I tend to stick to the Ladies room.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I know, that's all I mean. And don't tap your feet in the men's room either! :OY:
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Exactly, cabaker, on all accounts. If you are going to do such things, then don't complain when people find out.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Even without the Internet stuff like this gets out.. If you don't want something to get out, don't do it in the first place. I just don't understand when it became hard not to cheat on your wife, take naked pics, or film yourself doing "it"... Am I abnormal in thinking that those things are pretty easy to avoid?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Like the KKK art movie appearance....
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
:robot: Well I don't have children, nor do I have provocative pictures up. I am careful what I post on there and I do not reveal private information. Besides, I went to art school. I have WAY more potentially harmful to my rep from there, then on myspace. ;)
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
I ofcourse mean everyone except cine.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
MySpace is not private. Why can't people just keep'em in a box? Whenever you put something on the Internet it can surface, now or in 50 years. If you are a politician you should be smarter than that. It's all stored and all traceable. I admit I watch a little too much 24 and such, but people should be more careful. Especially with photos of kids, or private information.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Wow j2e1p, why don't you tell us how you really feel. I have a great time on myspace, and I don't privatise anything on there. I have nothing to hide, so why should I? I have found many a lost friend on there, and glad I joined. I do not consider myself a whore, or any of my friends whores. I know what my risks are, and I accept them.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Boo. Anyone naive enough to have a whore-space page deserves whatever they've got coming to them. Seriously, its an encouragement of stalking or defacing your reputation, unless you're not going to post anything on there. Myspace sux. Oh, and by the way, its not YOUR space and only your space. Its MY space. As in, everyone else in the world can look at it. Myspace aint a 'private life'. Moron!
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
I voted possibly, but honestly, she should've been smart enough to know that MySpace isn't all that priavte.
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
I agree with baila and princess_eab. Your private life should be private UNLESS: you are doing illegal things, things that will affect your job (drinking too much or having a serious health issue that could cause you to die), or it would cause you to be hypocritical (You disagree with gay relationships but were in one for instance.) Also, myspace is not private! This lady should be recalled because she is too stupid to understand that the Internet isn't private. How could she possibly run a town?
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
The poll doesn't make sense so I didn't vote. The issue here is that ANYTHING on MySpace is NOT private. The public obviously didn't want someone who couldn't judge what to keep private/ public. While I disagree that it makes her less able to do her job, I think anybody else would have been fired from a job if their boss had found the pics.
Cris1192 Cris1192 9 years
Everyone deserves a private life!
sofi sofi 9 years
pop- lol! We must have been writing this at the same time :)
sofi sofi 9 years
The thing is, this isn't 'private' any more- since when is Myspace private? Her family put this out there to get her dates? Well, her family is to blame for putting her private life on display. Like piper said above, if she had political aspirations (and her family would probably know this), she should have been more careful. the internet isn't private. If someone snuck on to her property and took this type of pic without her knowledge, then that's an invasion of her space and private life. Sorry, but who takes pictures like this AND lets family members have access to them.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I absolutely think public figures should have private lives. But, there is NOTHING private about my space. The name being My Space has nothing to do with it. It's up on the internet for the whole world to see! I don't think she should have been recalled, but come on, use your brain here. You can't post half-naked photos online and then claim that they're private.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
To be honest, as long as it's not illegal or horrendously hypocritical, their private lives should stay private. And it's not like she did this while she was in office, and she's not actually nude... this is serious overreaction.
katie_c katie_c 9 years
i'm really all for the privacy of life outside the office for those in the spotlight but my head keeps coming back to when a trial in being built and witnesses are drilled to determine their credibility. to me the same idea plays out here. yeah, what they do in their private life and world isn't any of their business; but if it affects their ability to lead and do their work then we have a problem. but exposure should be done tastefully and carefully.
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