Blogger Jack Bogdanski
wrote Monday that it appeared Mayor Sam Adams
had blocked him from following the mayor's tweets on Twitter.
A spokesman for the mayor later told The Portland Mercury
the dis was unintentional and the result, apparently, of a technical glitch.
All of which raises an interesting question: Are the mayor's musings on Twitter a matter of public record?
, Portland's city attorney, and Michael Schrunk
, Multnomah County's district attorney, mulled this question back in July after WW
submitted a records request for the mayor's direct messages on Twitter. The mayor's office responded by handing over a 34-page PDF of hundreds of direct messages between the mayor and Portlanders. But a number of the tweets were redacted because they were "personal, non-city business," the mayor's office said.
In a three-page letter discussing the redactions, Schrunk noted:
The City contended that 'the fact that a document exists on a City account does not mean it comes within the definition of a public record.'
Schrunk then wrote:
The broad question to be answered is whether a city official has a reasonable expectation of privacy in certain of his or her Twitter communications with the public? If the communications are personal and are made on a private Twitter, the answer is yes. If the communication is on a government sponsored Twitter, the answer is more complicated. Unfortunately, the City has not provided this office with any City policy or guidelines explaining the limits (or allowances) on the use of a public Twitter for particular purposes."
That, it seems to me, means the question is still an open one. At least we now have the phrase "government-sponsored Twitter" to haunt our nightmares.