Complaints allege Councilmember Erickson violated 1st Amendment by blocking Facebook comments.

A West Hollywood resident filed complaints with the city and the American Civil Liberties Union alleging City Councilmember John Erickson violated the First Amendment by blocking his access to the councilmember’s Facebook pages and restricting the ability to comment on certain posts.

West Seegmiller lodged his first complaint with WeHo City Clerk Melissa Crowder in an email dated Aug. 7.

“This message is to notify you of a serious violation of First Amendment protections of free speech committed by Councilmember John Erickson,” he wrote. “On Thursday Aug 5th, Councilmen Erickson removed me from his Facebook page, thereby disabling my ability to comment. This is in clear violation of my Constitutionally protected right to engage in public dialogue on a Elected Official’s media platform, as determined by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Seegmiller included a quote from the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the court’s decision:

“Specifically, the court recognized that when a public official uses a Facebook page as a tool of governance — that is, when she uses it to inform the public about her government work, solicits input on policy issues through the page, and swathes it ‘in the trappings of her office’ — she is controlling the page as a government actor.”

Erickson served as president of the ACLU Southern California, according to his campaign web page.

Seegmiller included screenshots from Facebook to demonstrate his allegations. The interfaces of these posts appear to lack the field in which users can ordinarily type and post comments.

Crowder responded to the e-mail on Aug. 11, saying that Erickson had re-enabled comments on his posts.

On. Aug. 20, Seegmiller filed a second complaint, saying he was still unable to comment.

According to Crowder, the City Clerk’s Office confirmed with Erickson that he hadn’t changed any of his security settings in Facebook and that anyone was able to comment on his post(s). Crowder scheduled a Zoom meeting with Seegmiller and the City Attorney, and during the Zoom meeting Seegmiller indicated that the issue was resolved.

On Sept. 20, Seegmiller filed a third complaint with Crowder via voicemail. Crowder responded:

“We were unable to identify the alleged problem and asked you to share more detail on the posts. You shared screenshots of a few posts that did not appear to have a comment option. While the posts and comments that you were attempting to comment on were not necessarily directly related to City business, when made aware of this issue, Councilmember Erickson once again updated his security settings to enable the comments.

“Facebook’s security settings are ever-changing and for many users they are confusing, and the privacy settings may even differ for each post depending on who is tagged and the tagged person’s privacy settings. The City appreciates and understands your desire to have full access to a Councilmember’s social media content if those social media accounts have been used to convey City business or communicate about City business with constituents. After your first complaint, Councilmember Erickson has diligently worked to ensure that his posts (even non-City business posts) allow anyone to comment. The City Attorney and I are satisfied that he has met his requirements under the law as a public official.”

On Sept. 20, Seegmiller also filed a complaint with the ACLU, who conducted their own investigation.

In a public group comment and a private conversation with Erickson via Facebook Messenger, Seegmiller reiterated his accusations and alluded to several events of unknown veracity or relevance. Names in this conversation have been redacted to protect parties uninvolved in Seegmiller’s complaints.

Note: The names above has been removed to protect the identity of a well known local board member and former city council candidate who is said to have had an affair with Council member Erickson.

All the documents referred to in this article were made public by a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to Seegmiller, Erickson has now complied with his requests, allowing complete public access to his Facebook page and comments.


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Weho Tarnished
1 month ago

John Erickson is so vile. It is no wonder he marched against Duran while also engaging in the same questionable practices – “The he/him/his doth protest too much, methinks.” How long until the City’s taxpayers are spending millions to sweep his indiscretions under the rug? I give it at most one more year. Good grief!

George
George
1 month ago
Reply to  Weho Tarnished

How did the awful person get elected?

DesertBob
DesertBob
1 month ago

Facebook is private propetty. First Amendment protections do not apply.

Obviously, most in here either never took or flunked civics in high school…if they were even afforded the class, which was trashed by the Ronnie Ray-Gun administration as part of the loony far-right “dumbing down of America.”

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  DesertBob

Nope. There is precedent for this:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/internet-speech/court-rules-public-officials-cant-block-critics-facebook

I enjoyed Qanon nut job Marjorie Taylor Green having to unlock a bunch of people on twitter this past year 🙂

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  DesertBob

Still venting about Reagan?

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
1 month ago

Commenter Stripe and Yellow I agree with your Articulately said candor and concise language in your effort to acknowledge what elected officials must exhibit or demonstrate in order to have and keep in the role of serving the citizens of West Hollywood as an elected Councilmember. Moreover, it’s what is in the public’s interest not personal interests that must be unequivocally prioritized instead of loathing about being criticized or preventing dissent or objection by one constituent or others, whatever the issue might be. Agree to disagree but city officials either become disengaged or desensitized or get in the habit of… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamie Francis
Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
1 month ago

I would block him too. If he is so obsessed with complaining about council members, I wonder what his true motivation is (Duran)

Follow the rules
Follow the rules
1 month ago

Your history shows how little you know and nothing you ever said came true. There are rules for public officials and that is the law. Perhaps you might ask what is the Council members motivation ?

Dump the SHE
Dump the SHE
1 month ago

CM Erickson is a strange duck. He has a Phd in religious studies and lists himself as Dr Erickson in connection with his day job with Planned Parenthood. (He thinks he’s Dr Jill Biden.) So weeks ago up pops the Texas abortion bill. Erickson invites any women seeking an abortion to come and stay at his home in an announcement on social media. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment on Fountain. He is a single man, who claims to be gay, but some money hungry woman stays in his apartment and then says he attacked her. A lawsuit. He’s an… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dump the SHE
Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago

CM Erickson seems more than willing to meet with constituents who have a beef or a complaint or a difference with him. I know this from personal experience. He also has a right to not answer me if he chooses, which happened after the survey hoopla.

Monica Siegel
Monica Siegel
1 month ago

Haven’t been reading wehoVILLE in quite a while (could yiou rename it WeHo VILE?), but this has got me laughing! 
 
So Seegmiller, the self-proclaimed “sex worker” (we call ‘em prostitutes) is bitching about being blocked on Facebook by Council Member Johnny Erickson but he isn’t mentioning that John Duran, Seegmiller’s boyfriend, also was blocking people on Facebook when he was on the Council. Hmmmm. 
 
I also wonder if Seegmiller, the anti-vaxxer, is legally required to tell the bottoms who pay him for sex that he isn’t vaccinated against COVID. Maybe the City Council should put that requirement on its agenda!

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  Monica Siegel

The attempts to malign Mr. Seegmiller’s life choices (choice….good word, we usually celebrate personal choice!) is a sad attempt to deny, deflect and divert from the issue he raised. I can simultaneously disagree with his anti-vax crusade (which is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand) while also applaud his advocacy work and transparency of cause. To make it a point of attempted shame and judgment is sad. Pivoting to character assassination is never pretty. I’m glad Larry lets the inanity of commentary see the light of day.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Monica Siegel

Very enlightening. Yeah this Seegmiller person seems truly unhinged and consumed with conspiracy theories.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Monica Siegel

Definitely not written by “Monica”.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Monica Siegel

Isn’t it interesting how the gays that spread AIDS and HIV willingly want to now tell healthy people without AIDS or HIV, who took care of their own health, not to enter establishments because they don’t want people who took care of their own health to have the same rights? Pathetic and disgusting hypocrites. Sorry I ever fought for your dignity because you have neither that nor integrity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Graham
Jimmy Palmieri
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

This response is one of the most vile I have ever seen in Wehoville.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimmy Palmieri

Truth hurts doesn’t it… Libs could use a little dose of it

Jimmy Palmieri
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

Truth never hurts. Ignorance does. Your blatant homophobia is something that truly shows yours.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago

Greeneyedguy will be mad about this.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Touche! There will be other sycophants and apologists and defenders of the status quo incestuous cabal that is WeHo politics. Politics requires a thick skin, and a sense of humility that one is a public servant called to the noble good, not to ego and personal agenda.

Earl Eason
Earl Eason
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Thanks Al! You’re my favorite old gay boomer, and I agree 100%. I think our attitudes explain why we’re both single. LOL

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  Earl Eason

Thanks, Hank! Miss you! 🙂

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

And Erickson has neither thick skin or sense of humility. He must go. (and hoping he takes Shyne with him).

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Why would I be mad about someone having to unblock a tweaker anti-vaxxer on facebook? Who even uses facebook anymore?

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

apparently Erickson.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

Facebook is vile. Deleted that years ago

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

Greeneyedguy desperately trying to steer the conversation away from Erickson.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

You are obsessed with me. It’s really creepy at this point.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Yes, somehow it has become about people who don’t want to get vaccinated and about Facebook itself.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Spoken like a true gay that spread HIV and AIDS and now wants to tell people what to do with their health while supporting woman and Erikson that murder babies but want to let them choose… Psycho much?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
1 month ago

It appears to me that CM Erickson, City Clerk and City Attorney have all been very responsive to the concerns once brought to their attention. Shame on WeHoVille for including the final message string. As an elected official, CM Erickson will have to deal with negative accusations and negative criticism, but the inclusion of the DM referencing an unnamed individual was gratuitous and inappropriate. It adds no validity to either the claim CM Erickson was blocking comments nor did it support any response Mr. Seegmiller may have sent the City in showing his 1st Amendment right to participate in a… Read more »

Stripe & Yellow
Stripe & Yellow
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Yes, this seems a gratuitous piece of information for public display. However it starts with the participants who appear to be in great need of self-examination which should lead to taking personal responsibility for themselves and interactions with others on any level. Diplomacy is key since no one must be the giver or receiver of unreasonable, undignified comments or petulant attitudes. When people repeatedly exhibit this behavior is is a sign that they are out of their element and perhaps not suitable for their job, office or place in the community. Time out to seriously reevaluate one’s self and learn… Read more »

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
1 month ago

I acknowledge the Articulately said candor and concise language in your effort to acknowledge what council members must exhibit or demonstrate in order to have and keep in the role of serving the citizens of West Hollywood as an elected Councilmember. Moreover, it’s what is in the public interests not personal interests that must be unequivocally prioritized instead of loathing about being criticized or preventing dissent or objection by one constituent or others, whatever the issue might be. Agree to disagree but city officials become immune or get in the habit of Deleting people or deleting public discontent! It is… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamie Francis
WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Josh – you said “journalism” in reference to WEHOville. Journalism wasn’t included in the contract of sale, so Hank Scott still owns that component.

West
West
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

I value your parsing out of the principle amidst the unessential intrigue. I agree -and will take your appeal to heart ❤️

:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

Where is my comment? It was made a half hour ago. Second comment today that was not posted. Please advise?

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
1 month ago
Reply to  :dpb

Perhaps the editor had to use the commode coincident with reading what passes for your thoughts.

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
1 month ago

Wes, I am glad you exposed this and yet another reason why council members aren’t being held accountable for their actions! I think you are uncovering the real reason that council members want to or are finding ways to avoid constituents comments and their opinions and observations of political misconduct or perpetrating self-interests on social platforms albeit by blocking them. We voters and constituents have a right to express disdain and dissatisfaction with how the council members are misbehaving at council meetings or on video conference or online. It’s been almost 21 months since city residents have been allowed in… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jamie Francis
William Seegmiller
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Francis

Thanks for recognizing the importance of protecting constituents’ first amendment rights. Even though it took three complaints, Erickson eventual came into compliance like every other member of CC has been on their online platforms.

To be honest the direct message wasn’t intended for others eyes. It was included in the FOIA request and I guess public record. It’s harsh but I’m a human being too. I regret if it’s publishing insinuates shaming of anyone’s life experiences.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

Please get vaccinated.

WeHoMikey
WeHoMikey
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Or don’t. Either will make WeHo a better place, just in different ways.

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHoMikey

Your advocating no vaccines ? Should be a shamed of yourself. Your probably stuck in a rent controlled apartment and live off the city social service programs because it’s clear you lack any intelligence.

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy

No adult calls himself Mikey… The unvaxxed can’t wait until all of those same companies that created baby powder, the HPV Vaccine, Zantec, you know all of those great drugs they swore were so good for you? Which have murdered and maimed millions of people. start getting sued out of existence for all of the physical damage these vaccines will cause in the long run….stupid is trusting people with their track record that only care about money and don’t give a f*** about your health. Dumb a** child. How can you pretend to care about someone when in the same… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Graham
:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

Just another move by Erickson showing that he thinks he is superior and above the residents he believes he reigns over. Hate to tell you dude, you are not important or smart. You are an embarrassment to the city along with Horvath and Shyne. This isn’t the first time Erickson has ignored rules and protocols and the law.- he was caught texting with Shyne and Horvath during city council meetings. This man with such disregard for the law, he just keeps going. I support a recall. NOW.

Last edited 1 month ago by :dpb
JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  :dpb

I agree.

HonestOne
HonestOne
2 days ago
Reply to  :dpb

I agree as well, but who will initiate that process, I’ve only witnessed his behavior at a Planning Commission where he dismissed everyone’s concerns and spoke to them with such disdain that it was shocking. Never had I seen a public official behave with such arrogance, so aggressively ambitious, or rabid for power. He is only for himself and from what we saw that night may be serving some unscrupulous developers,

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