OMKJ not OK: Say no to mayor’s hidden emails

Here’s what we now know about Mayor Kevin Johnson’s email:

(1) The mayor and his staff use private Gmail accounts, labeled “OMKJ” for Office of Mayor Kevin Johnson, for a vast majority of public work. This according to former staffers and what is evidenced from the few public records we’ve acquired.

(2) The content discussed in these emails is a mix of public city business, private K.J. work, and also fundraising, initiatives, national business—and even campaign activity. The lines are thoroughly blurred.

(3) This use of Gmail is a coordinated and official top-down policy to avoid scrutiny from colleagues, the media and the public.

(4) The mayor does not use a city computer or cell phone.

All of this is no good. Yet the city attorney and city manager continue to ignore the problem. They hide behind ongoing litigation, currently in front of the California Supreme Court, which will rule on whether private emails should be public record.

SN&R sees K.J.’s email scheme differently:

First, this isn’t about private email. This clearly involves a strategy by the mayor to hide public records, emails and documents. That’s very different than the case being heard by the state supreme court.

Second, the discussion at City Hall shouldn’t be about what’s legal and what is not. It should be about what’s ethical.

Let’s ask the city attorney and city manager this: Do you think it’s OK for any public servant, including the mayor, to dodge public-records law? If the answer is no, then they must compel the mayor to turn over all Gmail records now.

OMKJ is not OK.