City of Menlo Park Censorship flip flop

Dave Price Editor and Co-Founder of The Daily Post
Dave Price Editor and Co-Founder of The Daily Post

It’s a trend. Governments are releasing embarrassing news on Friday afternoons. This started in the Bush administration and we just keep seeing it happen more and more. The thinking is that people pay less attention to the news on the weekends.

On Friday at 2:35 pm., Menlo Park Assistant City manager Sharla Jerome-Robinson posted the following on the City Council’s website: “last week, approximately a dozen emails to CCIN [that’s the website on which the public can post emails to the council] were deleted.

After reviewing the original postings that were removed and balancing the interest of the employees involved and the public’s interest in the consultation with the city attorney, we will be reposting the original emails.”

Outrage over teacher’s firing

A week earlier, the council’s website was flooded with emails from residents who were outraged at the firing of gymnastics teacher Michelle Sutton from a city-run program for preschoolers.

Every email I saw praised Sutton as an outstanding teacher. Yet somebody at City Hall – we still don’t know who – began deleting these emails. City Attorney Bill McClure said the emails were removed because they might result in lawsuits.

The deleting of public comments appears to be a new policy since people have used the council’s email site to complain about city employees for years, and those messages weren’t removed. Deleting the messages was like turning off the microphone at council meetings when a resident had something controversial to say.

Unanswered questions

While the city has reversed itself on deleting emails, questions remain:

* Whose idea was this?

* Since the emails praised the teacher, who was the city trying to protect by deleting them?

* Why has nobody on city council spoken up about this censorship?

Editorial / Opinion Today – Daily Post by: Dave Price

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