NCR’s Rumor Mongering

Red squiggly boxes indicate inappropriate tweeting.

In my role as a person with a Twitter account and a seat on a neighborhood association board, I sometimes hear curious things about myself. One of these things involved the Neighborhood and Community Relations department, which oversees and assists Minneapolis neighborhood organizations. This prompted me to do a public records request. Many of the emails obtained in that records request are posted here.

Last May, NCR’s Michelle Chavez had some questions about me. Instead of asking me these questions, she used them to provoke an emotionally disturbed neighborhood resident into wild speculation. Chavez’s words:

…what does he gain from “At Wedge Live?” Is this a conflict of interest? Does he think that he can use his board position to drive more people to his twitter feed?… Does he get paid for his writing about neighborhoods?

Over the course of her conversation with the resident, Chavez used the following words and phrases to describe me: “tear the neighborhood apart” … “creates false pictures” … “biased” … “does [Wedge LIVE] need to go away?” Obviously, you’re allowed to think I’m bad news, but a city employee should use another platform to express those opinions (Twitter maybe?) rather than spreading official-seeming rumors using her dot gov email address.

For the next several months, the concerned resident remained in frequent contact with NCR. He submitted a large number of .pdf printouts and screenshots documenting my twitter activity. In August, the resident sent Chavez a deeply researched conspiracy theory, in which he concludes that I am likely a professional propagandist on par with the oil company scientists he saw in a movie. In another email forwarded to NCR, the resident speculates that I work for the Urban Land Institute.

The world is a canvas to the imagination.

Now, I’d prefer NCR back off my tweets, stop trashing me to neighborhood residents, etc. But if we’re going down this road, let’s apply some equal scrutiny. I often see a particular neighborhood board member using Facebook to compare city actions to Hitler/genocide/ISIS. That’s over the top, worthy of ridicule, and offensive to many–but it never dawned on me that I should lodge a complaint with the city over it. It would be a shame if I’m getting special attention because I’ve occasionally pointed out some ways that NCR might do a better job.

Finally, I need to answer NCR’s original question and put all the rumors to rest: No Michelle, I don’t get paid for any of this. What do I have to gain? Just the undying hatred of neighborhood lunatics–the same crowd of people you’re encouraging.

Some things to note for context: May 21 is the day after I became a LHENA Board Member. Here’s what I was tweeting during this period of time. On July 14, this happened.