The West Hollywood City Council tabled a discussion at its Tuesday night meeting about posting campaign literature from local municipal elections on the city’s website.
Based on an ordinance that the city of Los Angeles has, this ordinance would have required copies of all campaign literature to be submitted to the City Clerk who would then post that material on the city’s website within two days. Email blasts regarding candidates would have been covered by the ordinance as would literature sent out from registered independent committees.
Councilmember John Duran expressed doubts, noting that West Hollywood election campaigns can get “really rough” especially toward the end. He noted that some campaigns send out hit pieces in the final days before the election and the candidates don’t have time to respond.
Councilmember John Heilman was worried about defamatory materials that are often sent out, concerned that the city might in some way be held liable by reposting the defamatory items on the website.
Heilman also expressed concerns about the city’s website becoming an archive for these campaign materials, worried that years later people might not understand the context of some of the materials.
Mayor Jeff Prang said he didn’t want to contribute in any way to the nasty literature that gets sent out, concerned that people might specifically create literature just so it would be posted on the city’s website.
The Council voted 5-0 to table the matter.