Friday, March 30, 2007

Just when I hoped it was all blowing over...

The plot thickens greatly....
Unsurprisingly, it turns out there is more than one side to things.
I highly suggest reading this QCTimes article about the whole VanFossen/Webb thing. I even more highly recommend reading the private (nothing's private when you're a city employee) emails and correspondence about this. The documents, which the Times obtained through a FOI request, can be found on the QCTimes site under Multimedia. Of course everyone's favorite citizen, Susie Bell, plays her own part as well.

It turns out its all us bloggers' fault. By providing a place where anonymous people can say things, we are somehow the cause of all this. Or... maybe its a certain Alderman that can't seem to control himself. Nope, must be the inanimate blogs. Fortunately its the Colonel who people are after this time, so my not-so-anonymous self is relatively safe. Especially considering this quote from the QCTimes article:
Jan. 23, 2007 — Dolan, via e-mail, asks Malin whether he should look into the blog allegation. Malin responds and says, “I think Cindy may have grounds for legal action against the author and the blogmeister — she isn’t a public official and shouldn’t be subject to this kind of stuff.”

I'd like to post this piece of legal info for anyone who feels like coming after "blogmeisters."
Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code states:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

That means that just because this is my blog, doesn't mean I'm responsible for everything some dingbat says on here. Its a good thing. (For more info, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation's bloggers rights section, whose banner has quietly resided on the link bar of this blog for over a year)

So... what now, besides a big giant mess that could have been avoided if the 1st Ward had gotten to know the person they were electing?

I think the number one priority should be to block anything ending in .blogspot.com from all city computers with the exception of the Library, Public Information folks, and possibly the council. This extreme measure was taken in the past for Fly's wildly popular blog. I don't really like this solution. I know a lot of city folks read the blog, and even sometimes provide information that helps citizens. If a city employee is trying to get information out there, a blog shouldn't necessarily be looked at as so different from any other form of communication. Unfortunately though, some people have spoiled it for everyone, as always seems to happen. The citizens of Davenport aren't paying our employees to sit around reading about political happenings, and CERTAINLY not sit around posting confidential, personal information or rumors.

I hate to say it, but ban us Craig.

20 Comments:

At 3/30/2007 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can ban them from reading blogs at work, but you can't bad them from reading and contributing from there homes.

 
At 3/30/2007 9:38 AM, Blogger cruiser said...

Sounds like passing the buck to me. If they do ban blogs, would it really solve anything?

 
At 3/30/2007 10:19 AM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

Malin's comment that Webb is "not a public official" seems odd to me. If the city is signing her paychecks, I'd say that qualifies her as a "public official" (unless of course she works for a 3rd party contractor or something). No, she is not an elected official, but neither is Malin or 99% of the city's staff!

It sounds like some of the comments on the blog were off-base (I didn't read them), but I'd hate to lose this channel of feedback to our public officials (elected or not).

 
At 3/30/2007 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you read the Iowa Civil Rights Commission Complaint Form, the complaint never mentions the blogs or talk radio. But here is a quote..
"Alderman Ron Van Fossen has continued to make sexual statements and sexual innuendoes to me while I am working in the Davenport City Council Office in January and February of 2007. He continues to make objectionable and explicit sexual statements to me, including the use of vulgar and obscene words."

 
At 3/30/2007 10:48 AM, Blogger Antoine LeClaire said...

what has happened to my beautiful city?

 
At 3/30/2007 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antoine - his name is Craig Malin.

 
At 3/30/2007 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I close my eyes each night and pray " Oh Lord, Please make this council and all their problems go away!"

 
At 3/30/2007 2:34 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

If only we could go back in time and tell the 1st ward!

 
At 3/30/2007 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blog sites are already banned on most city computers. Banning sites is done by user. Certain users are exempt by Malin directive. Legal, HR for example can access everything as well as Emperor Malin. Don't you find it scary that no one blacked out information of personnel matters related to Ms. Webb's accusations against another employee? Then the QC Times published those? If anyone has a case to sue shouldn't it be that person?

 
At 3/30/2007 3:34 PM, Anonymous Living with it every day said...

I love the CYA memos by Malin & Dolan. From personal experience working with them I can tell you their memos in these situations intentionally leave out comments they made that they know aren't appropriate. And sorry Charlie, Malin does swear (I have tape recordings to prove it). Taping conversations is legal in Iowa & admissable as evidence so long as one party to the conversation consents. Note to all in city hall: record your conversations with Malin & Dolan like I have done. Proves very helpful in dealing with their fictional accounts later.

 
At 3/30/2007 3:58 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Cruiser, I forgot to address your comment about banning blogs solving anything.

It wouldn't solve the problem, but it would hopefully solve posts like the one above, and other employees who disagree with Malin but take to the internet to slam on him, possibly while on the clock.

What's the downside of banning them, in your opinion? We're not paying these people to read political blogs.

 
At 3/30/2007 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI, I don't think any city employee is dumb enough to blog on company time. Notice the time, not all employees leave work at 5 pm.

These people also give valuable info and insight to situations that we aren't privy to. Thank you city folks!

 
At 3/30/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger cruiser said...

These people wouldn't say anything against Malin in the office, so they have to turn to blogs if they like their jobs. As for doing it on city time, everybody gets breaks, and commenting doesn't take that long anyway. As to the downside, everyone is concentrating on one small section of a very big problem. If everyone is talking blog rights, they're not talking about who actually did wrong in this mess.

 
At 3/31/2007 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI - why would you hope a sexual harassment suit would just blow over? This crap is serious and the city is exposed to a lot of loss here.

 
At 3/31/2007 6:35 PM, Blogger sensible sally said...

QCI,
I never thought you would go as far as trying to silence criticism of Malin by urging a curtailment of basic rights. While personnel matters are off limits to the media, nothing should stop citizens from commenting on any issue that they feel important. For the claims you make regarding blogging activity on city time you sure havent given much substantiation. Does being a devoted Malin lover require one to make wild accusations without substantiation?

 
At 3/31/2007 7:11 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

All I'm saying is there's no reason for city employees to access blogs on city computers. How is that silencing free speech? They can go to the library, or access the blogs from their homes.

 
At 4/01/2007 1:46 PM, Blogger Snarky Chick said...

I don't think banning the blogs from city workers would be silencing them. As QCI says they can post from home, not when my taxes are paying them to work. On the other hand, many people take breaks at their desk (I always have) and surf the net instead of going for a walk.

What I find interesting in all the documentation is that Malin never documents that he notified the Mayor as our city code requires him to do anytime an alderman's contact potentially puts the city at risk. That should have been one of his first steps.

 
At 4/01/2007 5:22 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Keep in mind also that the QCTimes might not have posted all the documents they received. There are a number of things that say "see attachment" that are missing, and nowhere in the QCTimes-posted stuff does it have any blog web addresses.

 
At 4/02/2007 12:12 PM, Blogger Snarky Chick said...

Very true QCI, but if Mayor Winborn was notified the city code also calls for him to immediately call a meeting of the council to discuss the situation. I haven't heard that was done either. On the other hand, nobody's perfect and I don't think either one of them overlooking this required step is going to make a huge difference in the long run.

 
At 4/02/2007 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QCI, I am the poster on this thread that you keep accusing of posting about Malin on City time. You are wrong, like Malin I'm hardly that stupid. Perhaps we could do lunch and I could educate you? You can reach me thru af. Sensible Sally, great to see you on the blogs and thanks for the kinds words. Call me sometime, I miss talking to you.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home