A right to write



Government officials at both ends of the state have told local activists to stop contacting them.

In Pahrump after a wild horse gather was cancelled, William LeRoy wrote to dozens of Southern Nevada officials—elected and otherwise. The message read, “Hopefully they will prevail in court and this will be the beginning of the unraveling of the lies and hidden agendas, and perhaps the beginning of some true transparency and real change as opposed to the false faced BLM [Bureau of Land Management] public relations misdirection and rhetoric.”

Many of the recipients were put off by the message and soon LeRoy was receiving one message after another telling him to remove names from his mailing list. Finally, LeRoy wrote back to say that he would remove the names of any private citizens, but that he would continue communicating with public officials.

LeRoy wrote, “[I]f you were asking to not be contacted by a private citizen who has every right to express their views … then you will be disappointed, as I have every intention of continuing to express my great concerns regarding your various efforts in this regard.”

In Reno, Guy Felton—he was one of the candidates excluded from the special September U.S. House election ballot by a Nevada Supreme Court ruling—sent a message to a long list of local figures attacking Republican candidate Mark Amodei. (“WE MUST VOTE FOR THE REPUBLIC AND AGAINST AMODEI !!! … Amodei, the choice of our party’s bosses in Nevada, is just another pile of business as usual.”)

Some of the Felton mailings went to county officials, elected and otherwise, prompting Washoe County Manager Katy Simon to send Felton a message asking him to remove from his mailing list “any email addresses with the extension @washoecounty.us…” She said it “is a violation of Washoe County Code to use the county email network for campaign activity.”

A review of the code shows it prohibits use of county resources—notably vehicles—for political purposes, but does not place any restrictions on political communications originating with citizens and directed to county officials.

Simon said, “Individuals can certainly express opinions to elected officials, but the network can’t be used to send or receive political campaign type messages to/from employees. Campaign activity is restricted to their home email addresses and off-duty time.”

Neither LeRoy nor Felton used the BCC function and so their entire mailing lists got to read the back and forth exchanges, which in LeRoy’s case involved a couple of dozen messages.