August 23, 2011
I am an appointed member of a standing committee of our local school board. I intend to run for the school board in November 2012, but have not either declared my candidacy or filed.
How much (or little) can I comment on in open social media forums (Facebook, blogs, Yahoo or Google groups, mailing lists etc.)? Do I have wait until I file? Until I publicly declare my candidacy? Or can I comment now?
Up to now I have not commented on issues that fall within the subject matter jurisdiction of the committee on the theory that I may inadvertently cause deliberation to occur between committee members when they read my postings on an open social media site. I have commented on issues on a restricted mailing list, knowing that there are no other committee members on it, and certainly not a majority of members.
What if I post to a blog that is maintained by a member of the school board? (I question whether he is allowed to post to a blog, but that's not the issue I'm interested in right now.) Is it permissible under the Brown Act to engage in an open discussion with members of the board that appointed me to the committee of which I am a member?
April 15, 2011
There is no law precluding you from using email or social media to discuss district issues with anyone, other than a Brown Act bar to discussing matters subject to your committee's review with enough other members of the committee to constitute a majrity.
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