Saturday, January 16, 2016

Los Angeles Mayor and Deputy Mayor Unlawfully use their Twitter Accounts

My previous blogs have focused on how people who serve in public office are using their personal Twitter accounts to conduct public business.  The problem is that your average public official creates a Twitter account and wants the best of both public and private worlds.

Yes, a public official can have a personal Twitter account, but they should keep it personal and refrain from posting anything that would fall under the Public Records Act.  A public official can also have a public Twitter account, but there should be specific guidelines for use so that the account remains in compliance with the Public Records Act.  Currently there are no guidelines and,as you can see from the results of my public records requests regarding who public officials and agencies block on Twitter, that accounts are easily used as a form of government censorship.

So, now I want to share with you how Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell are guilty of abusing their public/private/combo-mix Twitter accounts.  Again, both men claim on their profile that their account is private, but what does that mean when they use their account to make public comments related to their position?  Below you will see a number of public comments that were posted to their private account.

  • Mayor Garcetti's Comments 

As a matter of fact, this morning on Garcetti's Twitter page a number of tweets were actually responses to public inquiry:

  • Deputy Mayor Gorell's Comments

Friday, January 15, 2016

City of Compton Mayor Aja Brown Unlawfully uses her Twitter Account

Yesterday I blogged about how Suzy Loftus, the San Francisco Police Commission President, was misusing her Twitter account.  While looking over the Loftus account I noticed that the Mayor of Compton was guilty of doing the same thing.

You will notice that Mayor Brown mentions what her public position is in her Twitter profile and that the links to, which is the website for the City of Compton.  Also, just like Commissioner Loftus, Mayor Brown warns readers that views expressed are her own.  However, you will notice that she uses this apparently "private" account to discuss public issues:

Somehow the idea that  an elected official cannot use their public position to promote their private interests got lost when they were introduced to the idea of creating a personal social media account.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The SFPD Social Media Policy gets an Update (of sorts)

The San Francisco Police Department has been busy trying to update their social media policy to help make sure that it remains transparent and compatible with all applicable laws.

Here's a quick look at what will get your comments either deleted or your account blocked:

Their policy isn't perfect.  It doesn't even comply with the California Public Records Act.  The SFPD's social media accounts are public record and the Act provides no 48 hour stipulation to deny one access to public records.  However, I applaud them on their effort to perfect it anyway.  That is why I wanted to share with you the problems I have found with the Twitter account of Suzy Loftus, the San Francisco Police Commission President.

You will notice that Suzy has included in her Twitter profile what her public position is and that her account links to a taxpayer sponsored website.  She does warn readers that opinions expressed are her own.  That's nice, but not all her tweets are private.  Some cross the line into her public life.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Politwoops Returns to Twitter

Twitter recently announced that they will once again allow their API (secret code) to be used for the preservation of politicians deleted tweets on websites like Politwoops.  This is great for transparency and accountability.

I found three different accounts that illustrate the questionable ways elected officials conduct themselves on Twitter and why preservation of their tweets is so important.

  • US Congressman Ted Lieu

Rep. Lieu has his public account, @RepTedLieu.  On it you will see that he posts retweets from his private account, @tedlieu:

However, Lieu uses his private account to retweet posts from his public account, discuss public business, and to either endorse or oppose political candidates:

  • Virginia House of Delegates Rep. David Ramadan

Rep. Ramadan took an opportunity to use his Twitter account to call a woman a troll because she dared to inquire about his campaign finances.  Ramadan's response was deplorable:

Ramadan's term ends this week.

  • Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

What can I say about Kenney?  He just became mayor of a major city and he has a history of using profane language:

Mayor Kenney just posted this tweet:

So, with the return of Politwoops I hope that these tweets, and the many others just like them, continue to be saved in order to further promote transparency and accountability in our government.