It would appear that Mayor Stephen Cassidy wrote to San Leandro Patch editor Tom Abate complaining about an article Abate wrote about the last City Council meeting. In the article, Abate characterized the City Council’s move to change the Zoning Code to help in the legal battle with the Faith Fellow Church as a “CYA* strategy”.
While Abate mentioned the complaint he received, he didn’t say who made it. Still, Abate didn’t deny that it was Cassidy when I so suggested. And Cassidy has a tendency of trying to influence the press On several occasions he’s written to me complaining about specific things I’ve written either on this blog or on Facebook. He actually e-mailed me to complain that the title of the article I wrote on the same meeting, “City Council Moves to Ban Entertainment in Most of San Leandro,” was misleading. It’s difficult to understand how that was so when the agenda for that meeting included a motion to approve an ordinance doing exactly that.
Cassidy is not the only Mayor who has wanted to assert his influence on the press. I’ve heard that the San Leandro Time’s editor had been called to City Hall under the previous administration – Santos objected to the publication of letters critical of the City’s actions.
Still, is it proper for a Mayor to try to influence the press? Is he just doing his job as the self-appointed head of PR for the City, or is he violating the first amendment guarantee to freedom of the press? What do you think?