I sent the following email to our elected officials this morning. I am concerned that the new administration will use town resources to promote passage of the upcoming ballot issue (to change our form of government by replacing the elected mayor position with a paid administrator). The Public Disclosure Commission clearly states they cannot use public resources, nor can they promote this issue using anything other than “normal” means. Since the town newsletter has never promoted a specific point of view, I would hope the mayor would not risk using this forum to promote their personal agenda.
The rules also allow the council to pass a resolution taking sides on this issue (which they have done), as long as they allow equal time for dissenting points of view to express their views. This is not even close to how the current Ruston council handled the issue. They did allow comment at one study session, but no public comment was allowed at the regular meetings when the issue was discussed on several occasions (including when a formal resolution was passed).
On a side note, has anyone noticed how alive the Ruston Connection web site is this week (run by new mayor Everding’s wife)? The web site’s format was changed to a “private” venue about the time the Ruston Connection newsletter editors were sued (along with the Chinese Christian Church) by Point Defiance Casino. The change in format meant that most features were no longer available unless you were a pre-approved member. Only those who agreed with them were allowed as members. Most local issues were no longer discussed publicly, and only members could comment on those that were posted.
Mr. Everding, then council member, also stated at the time he no longer had any email, although last night he mentioned having a personal email account that some folks have been using for town business.
There are 9 new posts on the RC web page since last Friday. A few contain the usual complaints about the former mayor and promote the current council and mayor’s agenda. As difficult as this is for me, I encourage town residents to check out their information. I hope you will also continue to check here for balance and alternative viewpoints that are not welcomed by the current town leadership. And Ruston will have an official town web page soon. Pretty good for a 5-square block town!
Here is the email sent today. The full list of PDC rules is available on Ruston Reports.
Just a friendly reminder to our public officials that the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) does not allow the use of Town resources to promote one side or the other on the upcoming ballot issue (to change the form of Ruston's government). I believe that would include any discussion in the Town newsletter or any communication from you in your capacity as elected officials. A full copy of the PDC guidelines will be posted on the Ruston Home blog by the end of the day.
If you intend to promote this issue as council members or mayor, I'd like hear any other interpretations of these rules from you. I look forward to an open dialog on this issue.