NJ council members won’t be banned from blocking constituents online
Remember that proposed ordinance in Hoboken that would have levied fines to council members who blocked constituents on social media (other than for targeted harassment)?
Well, it came up for a vote this week and the measure failed, 5-4.
The idea came from Councilman Phil Cohen. According to NJ.com, Cohen, along with fellow member Emily Jabbour released a statement saying, “We strongly maintain that any official social media account which communicates about official city business must not unfairly censor individuals and infringe on First Amendment rights.”
According to CBS 2 New York, the action seems to be based on one council member blocking people who have questioned some of his decisions, like traveling internationally during the pandemic; the member in question, Mike DeFusco, told CBS 2 that it is all just politics and that political opponents have used the sites to post “false, personal attacks against me in an attempt to bully me and my supporters.”
The measure would have allowed for fines of $500 for each instance of blocking an account on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
So, no matter how nasty the political attacks get, there will be no blocking of accounts in Hoboken (except, again, for targeted harassment) although what crosses the line from legitimate political gripe and harassment is a little unclear.
The City Council also decided some more important items about development in the city, you know, the actually important stuff, but that’s not nearly as entertaining as council members sniping at each other.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.