Sunday, November 8, 2015

City of Sacramento Officials Unlawfully use Twitter

Back in September I submitted a public records request to the City of Sacramento asking to get a list of all the individuals blocked or muted on Twitter by the Mayor and Council Members.  On the 6th of October I received a response from the city informing me that most of the accounts in question were considered private.  You can read the full response here.

Below I've provided an analysis of four of these so-called private Twitter accounts that include those maintained by Council Members Angelique Ashby, Rick Jennings, Steve Hansen, and Eric Guerra.


@AngeliqueAshby




Angelique Ashby is currently the District One City Council Member for the City of Sacramento, however, just two weeks after I received my response Ashby announced her plans to run for Mayor of Sacramento.  Ashby even used her Twitter account to make the following announcement:


I reviewed Ashby's tweets through the beginning of September 2015 and discovered that she uses her Twitter account to post tweets that are public (i.e. the tweet is related to her official position), campaign related, and retweets that promote religion.  Angelique Ashby's Twitter account is a great example of how the public/private boundaries easily get blurred When Public Officials Tweet.

Below are just a few examples I found of Ashby's public, campaign, and religious tweets.  You can click on the date to link to the tweet.



Public Tweets:









Campaign Tweets:







Religious Tweets:







@RickJenningsD7




I reviewed the tweets that Council Member Jennings posted through the month of September 2015 and found that, basically, ALL his posts relate to his elected office.  Here are a few:



















@Steve4Sac



I reviewed the tweets of Council Member Hansen through mid-October 2015 and found his posts consist of both public statements and campaign promotions:


Public Tweets:





 Hansen even uses Twitter to respond to constituents:





Campaign Tweets:













@EricZGuerra



I reviewed the tweets of Council Member Guerra through the creation of his Twitter account and found his posts consist of both public statements and campaign promotions:


Public Tweets:









Guerra even uses Twitter to acknowledge support pertaining to his actions in public office from constituents:






Campaign Tweets:













Friday, November 6, 2015

CA Gov Jerry Brown Caught Using State Resources for Private Gain


A number of different news agencies began reporting yesterday about an incident involving CA Gov. Jerry Brown and his misuse of public resources for his own private gain.  He apparently had state officials research the geologic value of his family ranch to determine if there was any possibility for future oil drilling there.

I would like to add further evidence I uncovered of Gov. Brown's misuse of public resources.  Back in September I had submitted a public records request to see the list of individuals blocked or muted by the following Twitter accounts run by Gov. Brown's Office:

@GovPressOffice


@JerryBrownGov



@SutterBrown 

and
@ColusaBrown 


Gov. Brown's Office responded by saying that the @GovPressOffice account is public, but the@JerryBrownGov@SutterBrown, and @ColusaBrown accounts are private.  You can read the full response Gov. Brown's Office sent me here govblock.blogspot.com.

However, I wanted to point out that I included the accounts of Gov. Brown's dogs, @SutterBrown and @ColusaBrown, because they are both linked to the Governor's Office website:



This government website is paid for with tax dollars and, sadly, the governor finds it acceptable to use it to promote the private Twitter accounts of his pets.

Did you notice how @SutterBrown enjoys a larger Twitter following than the Governor's public @GovPressOffice account?



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Who are CA State Senate Members Blocking on Twitter?


Last week I posted the response to my public records request regarding the California State Assembly Member's Twitter accounts and who they block or mute.  Below is the response for the CA Senate records request and my analysis:












Twitter user @nevalloyd8 may have been blocked for the sexual nature of his tweet, however, @PoliticalPort was not blocked for this post:



  • Twitter user @Daggy1 was muted for posting the following comments to Senator Beall:






  • Twitter user @gellisllc didn't get blocked or muted for posting the following:



@MartyBlock39

  • Twitter user @DindooNuffin has posted only one tweet and did it not include Senator Block:


  • I found no evidence that @DasHoobert ever communicated with Senator Block via Twitter.




  • Twitter user @KellyHaasJewel was blocked after posting these comments to Senator Mitchell:


  • Twitter user @PeterdiPierro has been blocked for posting multiple non-offensive tweets expressing his  negative opinion of Senator Mitchell, including:


  • Twitter user @Kay15Judy was blocked after posting some of the following comments:

  • Twitter user @sanmartin2015 is blocked, but has only ever sent Senator Mitchell the following tweet:


  • Twitter user  @bifrosty2k was blocked for the following comment:


  • I found no evidence that @firemedixx ever sent Senator Mitchell any communications via Twitter.

  • The @AlamedaC4L account was blocked for this tweet:

  • Twitter users @BayArea_OC@StopAB144, and @CriminalsUnion were blocked for posting multiple tweets requesting the Senator to not support Assembly Bill 144.  Some examples include:




@MikeMorrellGOP

  • Twitter user @poop01713298 posted the following non-offensive tweet to Senator Morrell, but may have been blocked strictly based on the adult content of his Twitter account:


  • Twitter user @Daggy1 was blocked after posting the following tweet:

  • Twitter user @christ2287 was blocked after posting a few tweets to the Senator about his own run for political office:

  • Twitter user @mrwhiteacre was blocked for the following conversation:

  •  Twitter user @KeiranLee was blocked for posting the following tweet:


  • Twitter user @daRRyLhaNaHxxx has been blocked for posting multiple requests for the Senator to not support Assembly Bill 332.  Some examples include:



  • I found no evidence that @JeffAlbertson ever communicated with Senator Morrell via Twitter.



@GeneralRoth




@SenAndyVidak

  • Twitter user @Amendment2nd was blocked for posting the following two tweets to Senator Vidak:





The following Senators claim their Twitter account is private.  However let's take a look at some of the public announcements they post from their "private" accounts.



@DrPanMD






@MrTonyMendoza




@BobWieckowskiCA
   







Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who are CA State Assembly Members Blocking on Twitter?


Last month I submitted a request to the CA State Assembly requesting to see the block/mute list of a majority of members who maintain Twitter accounts.  I received the following response a few days ago:







I find the state's response curious for two reasons.  The first is that they take the view of what is a "public record" based on if the account is maintained using legislative resources versus taking that same law (CA Gov. Code Sec. 9072(c)) and realizing that when an elected official tweets about their public office then that account becomes public record.  To argue otherwise, would make it acceptable for an elected official to privately gain from their public position.

The second problem I have with the state's response is that they let Twitter's terms of service trump your First Amendment rights to free speech.  Honestly, this makes me more angry than confusion over the concept of defining a public record.  I have more to say on this issue, but I'll save it for another blog.

Now, let's evaluate a few of the block lists.  Keep in mind that the comments below do not represent my own political views.

@toniatkins CA ASM Toni Atkins
  • @TonyLandis4U dropped the F-bomb in a tweet to Asm. Atkins, but other people have used "strong language" in their tweets without being blocked:


  • @MomsGarage is being blocked for nothing more than the fact that she is a political opponent.





@NCamposAssembly  CA ASM Nora Campos
  • @sanjoseinside is being blocked for nothing more than retweeting news articles about Asm. Campos.
  • @ssharmon may have been blocked for his article:

@asmMelendez  CA ASM Melissa Melendez
  • @toni9jean was blocked for the following comment:
  • Asm. Melendez blocked @slackadjuster after engaging in the following conversation with him: 


@kevinmullin CA ASM Kevin Mullin




Let's now take a look at some of the personal Twitter accounts.

@AsmLuisAlejo



Here are some of the public tweets Asm. Alejo has posted to his private account:













@mikegatto


Here are some of the public tweets Asm. Gatto has posted to his private account:










@PhilTing



Here are some of the public tweets Asm. Ting has posted to his private account:









@MarcSteinorth


Here are some of the public tweets Asm. Steinorth has posted to his private account: