Monday, November 24, 2008
Politicizing the Neighborhood Associations
We are working on an entry concerning abuse of city resources for partisan political activity. We are presently awaiting a response from the Fayetteville City Attorney and the Neighborhood Coordinator before posting, and we will await their responses until noon. We know that the City Attorney is very concerned about any political viewpoints being expressed on the former forums that were banned from the Government Channel, so this should be an easy call. More later.
UPDATE: We have received no response from the City Attorney Kit Williams, but Neighborhood Coordinator Julie McQuade commented here with a very informative message from her official perspective. The nut graph was: "No one should be distributing partisan political messages as an officer or representative of the Fayetteville Council of Neighborhoods."
The messages in question were sent from the account email@example.com, asking the Neighborhood Association officers to distribute a rather negative and decidedly partisan message from the Dan Coody campaign to the membership. From information received, some of the NA contacts distributed the campaign messages to their members, and some ignored it. The logs of the city computer servers might document how many were distributed by whom, but that is now almost irrelevant.
The first request from the Coody campaign to distribute the message was sent on Thursday, 11/20/2008 11:36:10 A.M. A second message was sent on Sunday, 11/23/2008 4:01:30 P.M.with the notation, "I apologize for having to send his [sic] again, but several people have asked that I do so because the first message did not go through as sent." Both messages were essentially the same, attacking Lioneld Jordan and the letter supporting Jordan from the men and women of the Fayetteville Fraternal Order of Police.
The Mayor and his wife can legally ask anyone to forward their negative campaign propaganda. Whether it is ethical for them to ask Neighborhood Association representatives to do so in violation of the By-Laws is a question of character.