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Censorship at Town Hall

Original post made by John P Johns on Sep 17, 2010

I have been told by a reliable source that Atherton employees have been prohibited from reading or posting on this Town Square Forum.

If this information is correct it would appear as though the City Manager and the Assistant City Manager are willfully violating the 1st ammendment right of those who work for the Town. This is of course very unfortunate.

Comments (9)

Posted by fed up, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Sep 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

[Post removed; stick to the topic; attacking other posters violates terms of use.]

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Mr. Johns:

I can see how the city could enforce this while city employees are at work, but how can they do so when the employees are at home? An employer has a right to control his equipment, computers, etc. and their use. So the city is within its rights telling employees they may not read or post while at work. If they are telling them they can't do it at home on their own personal computers then the city is wrong, but it is essentially unenforceable.

Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2010 at 11:35 pm

The censorship covers all reading and posting on this forum.

I know of instances in which at least one town employee has posted under an assumed name during non business hours,
for fear of retaliation. I know of other town employees who have denied reading the town square forum at all, apparently out of fear of the same kind of retaliation.

These conditions are a product of the Gruber regime.

Posted by The Black Helicoptors Have Landed, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 18, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Whoosh, woosh, woosh.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

As my friend Menlo Voter said, any prohibition, except during business hours and on town-owned equipment, is completely unenforceable. And you can never prevent people from reading anything.

I can, however, understand the town's reason for not wanting employees to post on this site, even using a pseudonym. No post is ever anonymous; the authorship can be almost always be discovered by court order (unless the author is using a public computer, such as at a library). It would look very bad for the Town of Atherton if, as a result of litigation, it was discovered that some employees offered opinions on this site that were contrary to town policy.

That said, I would advise Atherton employees (and anyone else) that what they do in their free time is their own concern. If Atherton ever retaliated against someone for doing this, you'd probably end up being a very rich plaintiff. This is still America, at least for the time being.

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2010 at 9:22 am

[Post removed. You can re-post if you have verification.]

Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I can repost if I have "verification?" Does Mr. Johns have "verification' of his claim? My post was conjecture and an observation. The observation: Furth's lousy legal advice is costing the city of Atherton money. Observation: it is a win-win for her - she gets paid for poor legal advice and she gets paid to defend the city when the city gets sued because of her poor legal advice. You have only to look to the John Johns case to have your "verification" of that observation.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Sep 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Two points...

1. Ms. Furth isn't a trial lawyer so she won't be the attorney who has to defend the town in courty (I suppose her firm might, however).

2. I don't think Ms. Furth will be around when this incident comes to a head, anyway.

Posted by John P Johns, a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Reading or posting on this forum wasn't even with town equipment during business hours wasn't something that was prohibited when I worked for the Town.

Unless the Town's rewrote its internet access policy, prohibiting the reading or posting on this town square forum even during business hours would not currently be enforceable during business hours. Additionally, the use of town equipment during non business hours was expressly permitted under the policy in effect when I worked for the town.

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