Enterprise-Record by Robin Epley
October 22, 2019
CHICO — The mayor of Chico and two city councilors are in probable violation of the First Amendment by operating political Facebook pages where they’ve blocked constituents, said legal representatives from the First Amendment Coalition and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said it is pursuing a similar case in Sacramento.
A California Public Records Act request issued to all seven city councilors last month revealed that as of Sept. 20, a total of 25 people and pages were blocked from Mayor Randall Stone, Vice Mayor Alex Brown and Councilor Scott Huber’s political Facebook pages, including 19 from Stone alone. These are publicly-available pages where the councilors identify themselves as government actors, post about city issues and invite comment from constituents on those issues.
The other four city councilors — Ann Schwab, Sean Morgan, Kasey Reynolds and Karl Ory — by their own self-reporting, either do not operate political pages or do not have a blocked list to declare.
The pages in question are titled “Mayor Randall Stone,” at www.facebook.com/electstone; “Vice Mayor Alex Brown,” at www.facebook.com/alexbrownforcouncil; and “Scott Huber Chico City Councilmember,” at www.facebook.com/scotthuberchico.