Twitter has taken the local political world by storm, even San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, who has been tweeting about topics important to him such as the city’s “high number of unwanted kittens” and remembering “to turn off your sprinklers during this rainy period.” Still, there are limits to His Honor’s dalliance with media, new or old. Last September 8, the city Environmental Services Department’s public information officer José Ysea emailed Darren Pudgil, the mayor’s director of communications, and Sanders PR aide Rachel Laing with word that the Reader had just started following him on Twitter. “Hey, I know that the Reader is off limits as far as giving information and interviews… Do you want this to apply to Twitter?” said Ysea’s email, obtained from the City through a Public Records Act request. “I did notice that they are currently following Mayor Sanders as well.”
Continued Ysea: “I can certainly block them, actually, I would prefer to block them to avoid them receiving a twitter message from me and then having them call wanting to receive more information. What is your recommendation.” Laing, who herself is one of the City’s more prolific tweeters (“Tiger’s press conference totally unwatchable. Ach. Don’t apologize to ME, dude. I don’t care who you’re schtupping”) responded later that day.
“Thanks for asking,” wrote Laing. “No need to block them. The info is in the public domain, so you have to expect anything you put out there can be used or quoted by any news media, just like our Web content. However, their seeing something on Twitter or a Web site that interests them does not automatically grant them right to interviews, and we should continue to refrain from talking to them.” The mayor’s office did not return calls.