I didn't think the local kleptocracy would stoop to this, but Janesville "officials" along with the Janesville Gazette aren't finished punishing the lone council member who dared to stand with the pro-Monterey Dam Janesville residents against the design of the master plan.
Now they're claiming he violated council policy because he was seen communicating (texting) on his cell phone with his father who was in the audience at the six hour long meeting.
The Gazette does their part by running a headline that Councilman Jens Jorgensen "denies" texting about the Monterey Dam during the meeting. Talk about fake news. But that's about all they have because council policy shuts down the newspaper's fishing expedition.
Janesville City Council Policy 88 discourages the use of electronic devices by council members except to search the Internet for information related to a topic the council is discussing. The policy prohibits council members from using electronic devices to communicate about city business with anyone not at the meeting.
You'd think the Gazette writer would have stopped on that and told the editor, "You know we have nothing here, Council Policy 88 exonerates him of everything we're trying to accuse him of."
But no. They figure maybe some of their gullible readers will drink up thinking he violated something. But obviously not current council policy.
As the only independent government watch dog in Janesville, I however was shocked to learn that they still allow communication on electronic devices during a council meeting at all.
As long as it's permitted, any council member could have an open browser or mail box during a meeting. In fact, Council Policy 88 defends exactly what they accuse him of doing. Council members can "browse" for information so long as it's related to the topic. Check. And communicate on city business with anyone at the meeting. Check.
Of course, "discourages the use" is not enough. It should be prohibited. They can check their phones during a council break or in the bathroom. If a council member finds something on the Web pertaining to an issue, they can download it on a USB stick or SD card to show on the monitor so everyone can see. But claiming he violated the spirit of the policy is nothing more than tinkering around the edges for a witch hunt.
Council members should be taking this latest experience as evidence to clarify and support new council policy prohibiting the use of electronic devices - not join in with the deeply partisan Gazette in a petty smear attack.
From my count in the last two weeks, there are at least five city hall issues that require immediate attention. It is my opinion that Jens Jorgensen should lead the way or second the motion on all of these important city hall reforms.