Saturday, October 28, 2006

E-Mail Usage

I have answered to every local source of media regarding my use of my city e-mail account for campaign business. An article came out in The Independent today, and the Pleasanton Weekly will cover this story tomorrow. I have been consistent with my response. The Government Code is clear that government equipment, including e-mail accounts, may not be used for campaign matters. Unfortunately, with 3 accounts, I did inadvertently answer correspondence that came into my City account inappropriately. I have apologized, and I here apologize, again. But, this isn't about me - this is about preserving the public trust in local government. As such, City staff, with my blessing, sent off all of my e-mails (37 total, if you count all inquiries and my responses) to Tom Orloff, District Attorney for Alameda County. Mr. Orloff has indicated that while this happens inadvertently all the time, he will take a look at my e-mails and render a decision as to whether my misuse rises to the level of violating the Government Code.

The D.A.'s office will apply a two-part test: First, in order to determine if the subject of those e-mails was "campaign activity", the D.A. will consider whether the use was "minimal" or "incidental." Here, the number amounts to less than 4% of all e-mail activity on my City account over the past year. But, if the D.A. finds that the use was more than "minimal" or "incidental", then the second part of the test is whether this use amounted to any economic loss to the City. Hopefully, we'll get his decision sooner, rather than later.

I am not being investigated by the City, nor am I being "charged" by the D.A.'s office. My staff suggested, and I concurred, that this entire question would best be put to rest by the top - in this case, the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

I trust Mr. Orloff's office will render a decision which will find my use of my City e-mail account, inadvertent. Now, hopefully, we can move on to discussing the many issues currently facing our City, rather than answering to what amounts to smear attempts. Really, I think the people of Pleasanton deserve better! I'll just bet you think so, too!