Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda used tax dollars to pay for an advertisement in the Chronicle-Telegram to promote a blog on the city's website of which she is the sole author.
"For the rest of the story, read Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda’s new blog. www.cityofelyria.org. Factual, Real Time, Unbiased City News & Information," reads the ad.
Brinda told the Chronicle-Telegram that she was hopeful the ad would generate traffic to the city's website, but some Council members worry the ad might be too politically motivated.
“Residents have the right to know and expect that their tax dollars are being spent for necessities, not the mayor’s personal agenda items,” Councilman Gary Gibbs told the Chronicle-Telegram. “With the city millions behind in our neighborhood roads and infrastructure maintenance programs, I’d have to say that’s not being very frugal with taxpayer funds.”
Brinda's definitely on point when she acknowledges that social media is an effective communication tool, and that “it is the responsibility of the mayor to articulate the administration’s position on a lot of different issues," but one recent topic on her blog — just for instance — was her appearance on a local celebrity cooking show.
Recently, she's been inviting residents to help her salute fallen soldiers and celebrating volunteer efforts for Elyria's Pride Day* and stuff:
My most sincere thanks to the over 500 citizen volunteers who took personal responsibility to sweep streets, wash windows, haul trash, and plant flowers. When I walked into Elyria City Hall this morning all I could do is smile as I passed the beautiful purple, pink and yellow petunias adorning the planters around the square and on Broad Street.
Woah! SO MUCH UNBIASED NEWS AND INFORMATION!!!
A politician is never not campaigning, but if Brinda was truthfully trying to generate traffic to the city website, why not promote the city's web presence writ large instead of her blog alone? Politicians aren't really even supposed to provide "unbiased city news and information."
That's what journalists are for.
*In Elyria, "Pride Day" is literally about having pride in Elyria. It has nothing to do with gays.