US District Judge Marsha Pechman issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the city of Sammamish from deleting citizens’ comments on its Facebook page. The injunction was issued in the course of the First Amendment lawsuit filed against the city by three citizens.
“Plaintiffs have demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claim [lawsuit],” Pechman wrote in her ruling. “Accordingly, the Court GRANTS the Motion [for a preliminary injunction] and hereby ENJOINS Defendants [the City and its communication manager, Celia Wu] from enforcing its rule prohibiting comments that are ‘not related to the particular article being commented’ for the pendency of this litigation.” (Capitalization in the source.)
The City of Sammamish and its communications manager, Celia Wu, have been named defendants in a lawsuit in federal court alleging infringement of the First Amendment for ongoing censorship of protected speech on the city’s Facebook page.
The plaintiffs in the case, Sarah Hawes Kimesy, Tarul Kode Tripathi and Catherine Freudenberg, are asking the court for an injunction preventing the city from continuing to violate the Constitution and an award of damages, including punitive damages.
A hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for October 22 in front of Federal Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle. (update: the hearing has been rescheduled to November 5)
The Sammamish Comment will provide a special coverage for this development story.
Sammamish yesterday refuted allegations by former city employee Sarah Hawes Kimsey that Sammamish Comment reporting about concurrency traffic modeling was inaccurate.
Jeff Elekes, the public works director, wrote Kimsey asking for a correction to her blog in which she used an email from Transportation Planner Doug McIntyre to assert Sammamish Comment and Miki Mullor lied about how the city’s transportation model had been manipulated up to 2017 and beyond.
“…[Y]ou re-printed an email from a Transportation Planner on my team, Doug McIntyre,” Elekes wrote. “Both Doug and I are were very surprised to learn how his email to you was used and promoted in your blog.”
Elekes said, essentially, that Kimsey mischaracterized the traffic audit as a traffic modeling analysis to conclude there had been no manipulation in the past.
“However, I can confirm that Sammamish’s traffic modeling data under previous administrations has been manipulated in the past in favor of development,” Elekes wrote. “This has all been clearly documented through discovery and analysis. I am writing you now to set the record straight and give you the facts, which I expect you will use to correct your blog post.”