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Blakespear Facebook Page Fight Flares Again as Users Threaten Another Suit 

A group of residents who claim Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear has blocked them on her official campaign Facebook page are threatening a lawsuit after she allegedly failed to comply with the terms of a previous settlement agreement.

They filed a Tort claims with the city of Encinitas todaywhich is the first step before filing a lawsuit against a public entity or government employee.

Dozens of Facebook users last month accused Blakespear of blocking or deleting comments on his mayor’s Facebook page after leaving comments under one or more of his posts. The coast reported first.

Users said the comments were not threatening or harassing, but included questions, concerns and sometimes criticism of Blakespear.

Blakespear is running for the 38th seat of the state Senate district, and the Facebook page stated that it also acts as its official campaign page.

The group, led by Robert Nichols, former chairman of Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, sent a letter of suspension and cessation to Blakespear and both parties reached an agreement earlier this month. The group is represented by Michael Curran, an attorney at Curran & Curran Law.

Nichols said he found up to 30 users who said they had either blocked or deleted their comments. They include former Encinitas Planning Commissioner Rubén Flores, former Encinitas City Council candidate Susan Turney, local firefighter Steve Meiche and former Encinitas Union School Board candidate Matt Wheeler.

Blakespear agreed to the terms of the regulation May 16, who said he had to release everyone, give a public apology and pay $ 5,000 for the fees of the resident attorneys who represented them.

Saturday, Blakespear took over Facebook apologizes. In the 10th paragraph, she said she received a lot of comments and messages of assistance and threats on her personal social media page, as well as her campaign page, especially as a female political figure.

Blakespear said in the post, “To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the complainants have posted or asked others to post any of the threatening, humiliating, or harassing content online I’ve detailed here.” simply describe the environment surrounding my social media pages. ”

He continued to apologize “anyone who did not have full access [her] Facebook campaign pages or other social media accounts. ”

Blakespear also points out that the page is not an official social media page sponsored by the city or funded by the city and that the government has not made any decision on its social network page.

But according to Curran, the page has become a bit of a public forum, where agenda items, politics, and city and business campaigns are discussed, therefore blocking comments or users is a violation of free speech.

Blakespear’s apology post now has more than 600 comments, most of which are from people who criticized his apology and shared their own stories that were blocked or deleted.

Encinitas resident Jedidiah Stuber commented under her post, “I was blocked because I was simply asking you to describe your ‘true homeless solution’ because I know you don’t have one.” This is not an excuse as much as it ‘s an excuse for why you think censorship is okay. ”

Curran said Blakespear’s apology was unfounded and that he had not paid the $ 5,000. But all users have been blocked since they were unlocked, Curran said.

He confirmed that a wrongful claim had been filed with the city of Encinitas today accusing him of violating free speech.

Encinitas will have 45 days to either resolve or deny the claim. If he is denied or ignored, he will be followed by a lawsuit, Curran said.

Blakespear’s campaign manager Kevin Sabellico told the San Diego Voice in an email that this is a “politically motivated right-wing attack.”

“No one is blocked from Blakespear’s campaign Facebook page,” Sabellico wrote. “We welcome everyone to participate in the campaign and hope that people will practice civility in their interactions.”

Sabellico declined to answer my question regarding the $ 5,000 that Blakespear was supposed to pay as part of the settlement agreement.

Encinitas Council member Joy Lyndes accused both of blocking a user on his Instagram account.

He told Voice that he blocked the user because he found the comments inappropriate. Within 24 hours he unlocked them and gave a public apology on his campaign website. He said all parties had followed the terms of the confidential settlement agreement and the situation concluded.

“I understand that it’s an area of ​​the law that’s a little gray, and it’s getting clearer with time passing, so I’ve learned a lot about it in recent weeks,” Lyndes said.

In other news

  • Boating and fishing in the Lake Hodges Reservoir in North County will be suspended for about five months during the city of San Diego. repair cracks in front of Lake Hodges Dam. Lake Hodges, often enjoyed at recess, primarily serves as a fountain for county residents. (Union-Tribune)
  • The future of the KABOO music festival in San Diego is still uncertain as it’s wrapped up a lawsuit with the San Diego Padres. Padres claimed that KABOO, which is trying to return to Del Mar, violated a multi-year contract signed in 2020. Del Mar Fairgrounds said they were not in negotiations with KABOO. In the meantime, many people who bought tickets for the 2020 festival have not yet received a refund. (Union-Tribune)
  • Carlsbad saw a 20 percent decrease in its homeless population, according to annual Point-In-Time data released last week. Across the county, San Diego has seen at least a 10 percent increase in its homeless population. (KPBS)

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