We reported here yesterday that City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz posted personal information on Facebook about two citizens who had emailed criticism about her pressuring of City Manager Milton Dohoney to remove the Occupy Cincinnati protesters. The news quickly spread on Twitter (which you can follow in our live aggregator below), and Ghiz removed the posts shortly thereafter.
The incident might not seem like the
hugest deal — largely a petty socio-political discussion on a
conservative's personal Facebook page among a bunch of likeminded
people. But the publication of the home and email address of a
citizen who opposes an elected official crosses a major ethical line.
We purposely didn't publish screen shots of the posts due to the
private information involved. It would have been relevant only in
demonstrating the pettiness with which Ghiz offered the critics'
opinions to her collection of angry friends. “These are some of the
lovely emails my campaign has been getting because I believe the law
should be applied evenly and equally to everyone,” the first
introduction reads. How does she expect people to react to such
sarcasm? “Oh dear,
Leslie, I also care not for such a movement and its collection of
anarchic rogues. Let me set down my tea cup and console you."
In terms of
explaining why this incident occurred, Ghiz either made a mistake posting the personal info or was
acting out of spite.
It certainly could have been a mistake. Ghiz is an adult — she's entitled to make the same social media gaffes we commonly see in the form of teenagers and athletes firing uneducated rants out into the world and then getting in trouble for them. Maybe this is one of the first times Ghiz has made such a mistake and she'll be more respectful of the power of social media and of her constituents' privacy going forward.
More likely, Ghiz was annoyed by the emails — one of which was respectful and the other somewhat mean-spirited — and copied and pasted them over to an online forum that would certainly ridicule them accordingly. Whether Ghiz was consciously trying to single out two individual constituents or not doesn't make the action any less irresponsible and/or childish.
Ghiz earned a law degree from Capital University in Columbus in 1994. It stands to reason that she understands the difference between the First Amendment lawsuit currently challenging the city's ability to close a public space and the legality of the city's parking enforcement practices, which was another of her petty responses to a federal judge's order that the city stop ticketing protesters while seeking a compromise. Lawsuit over the right to peacefully assemble vs. parking system anarchy ... this city is really going down the tubes, isn't it?
Ghiz's decision to accuse the city administration of purposely refusing to enact the city's laws is illogical at best and misleading at worst. She's a lawyer. Protesters have sued the city over their right to exist in a public space after bedtime. A federal judge forced the city to stop ticketing. Suggesting that the city stop enforcing all other laws due to this situation is one level of ridiculousness. Doing it with a law degree hanging on your wall is another.
It's typical of uber-conservatives to take such a stance against protesters while waving their flags all over the place during any other discussion of freedom. But we've seen a remarkably respectful response by the city administration and police department to this group of Americans airing its grievances. It would be in the best interest of educated leaders such as Ghiz to at least make an attempt at demonstrating class rather than riling up the angry masses.