The empire (or at least the City of Geneva) strikes back!

The empire (or at least the City of Geneva) strikes back!

As you all already know, I’m not terribly shy about sharing my far-too-frequent thoughts on all sorts of subjects. In fact, I consider that magnanimous capacity to comprise a great portion of my vast and endless charm.
And yesterday was certainly no exception.
Having spent a great deal of the morning sweating over a keyboard flamin’ hot from the friction, I decided the least I could do was share my “Blinded by the white” blog effort with my fellow Genevans. But the sad thing is, this endeavor turned out to be just as tricky as FOIAing those Geneva police eligibility lists.
To wit, my first attempt at simply post my commentary directly to Geneva’s Facebook page was summarily shot down. It’s not that they don’t accept these kinds of posts – there were a number of ‘em from other citizens – it’s that they apparently weren’t too enamored of mine.
So, being the ever resourceful one, it was on to plan B!
This time, I added a link to my column as a comment on an already existing post. And it worked like a charm – until Geneva took it down. So I put it back up! And then Geneva took it down. So I put it back up again. And Geneva took it down again.

Geneva City Manager Mary McKittrick
Geneva City Manager Mary McKittrick

Having generally been endowed with a warped middle school mentality that, more often than not, gets the best of me, this put-it-up-and-take-it-down battle raged on for about four hours until Geneva blocked my comments completely.
The nerve of those people! Why is it that no one in that entire city administration seems to appreciate the immense benefit of constructive criticism? Ah well! As Inspector Clouseau once opined, “But, it’s all part of life’s right pageant, you know.”
Fearing all was lost, I, once again, turned to the same former managing editor whose advice set me upon the very FOIA quest that led to yesterday’s column. And he reminded me that, barring foul language, the courts have consistently ruled that public entities cannot bar citizen commentary from publicly funded social media pages.
And as you may recall, I managed to keep my foul mouth in check for all 633 words of that piece.
Before we continue, I’d highly encourage you all to befriend at least one reasonable former newspaper managing editor. Considering all the industry layoffs since 2006, there are plenty of ‘em out there. You see, they’ve had to regularly deal with every form of recalcitrant public official on the planet as well as all manner of utterly incompetent newspaper executives. And if that experience hasn’t rendered them mentally unstable, they tend to come up with the best solutions to any number of dilemmas.
But I digress.
Armed with this new information, I very politely explained the error of their way and suggested that the City of Geneva either take down their Facebook page, or allow the kind of unbridled commentary that the law and the courts demand.
Geneva Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dawkins
Geneva Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dawkins

They have yet to respond.
But here’s the amazing irony. Had the City simply provided me with the eligibility lists as required by law, none of this would’ve happened.
There would’ve been no need to consult the city attorney and write a two page FOIA denial letter. There would’ve been no need for a lengthy appeal response to the Attorney General’s office which required even more city attorney time. There would’ve been no attempt on my part to post to the Geneva Facebook page, and thus, no ensuing demand to cease the illegal blocking of my eminently sage commentary.
So now, depending upon their response to this one, the City of Geneva is facing a lawsuit! How does that old parable go? “For want of a nail…?”
Tomorrow! The return of the Jedi (or maybe just a curmudgeonly columnist). We’ll discuss why Geneva’s failure to post police eligibility lists actually violates state statute.

0 thoughts on “The empire (or at least the City of Geneva) strikes back!

  1. It appears Geneva’s city officials will run their offices as they please, the law and the public be damned. As long as Geneva’s voters continue to close their eyes to it, choosing to re-elect
    these same people to multiple terms, these abuses will continue.
    And, Geneva taxpayers will pay the court costs and fines, again, and again, and again…

  2. The gifts just keep on coming, don’t they? It seems their head is so far up their alimentary canal they can’t even get to short-sighted. I will point out that while your post did not use any bad language, you might want to edit your reply to me on the last post. You did use the “f word”. Didn’t offend me at all, but that might be an excuse for them.
    And yes I do consult Funk and Wagnall, and do have a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on the porch.

    1. Jeff,
      I cannot believe you remembered Carnac, much less the the Funk and Wagnall’s porch thing. I really was LMFAO. Carnac was my favorite Carson character. Wacca do, wacca do, wacca do. Rip – puff- “What do you look for when you’re tracking three waccas.”
      And now it’s my turn to be psychic! One of the only legally enforceable caveats in Geneva’s social media policy is no links to other websites. So once again, being a generous individual, I offered to post the ENTIRE column on Facebook which would completely mitigate that issue.
      And yes! By their bizarre and insistently bad response, the City of Geneva has elevated my voice to the most important in the City. The blog is going nuts, we’ll be covering this on the radio show tomorrow, and I can’t wait for their next response.
      Life is good!

      1. But didn’t you say there were other posts on there that included links? If they let other people do it and don’t take those down like they did yours, wouldn’t that selective enforcement in effect void the policy?

      2. Jeff, Absolutely! But the real policy is basically we will take down whatever we don’t like which is illegal. And beyond that selective enforcement, they simply can’t violate the court precedent which states you can’t silence social media critics.

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