Sign Up for a Class in Irvine? Shea Has Your Email

In spite of the City’s established Privacy Policy on protecting your email address from unauthorized use, Council Member Christina Shea trumped the City’s Privacy Policy to use a California Public Records request to go around the city’s rules.  Now she has your email address “for a newsletter.”

Ten bucks says the database is going to a campaign styled newsletter or has been sent to the Irvine Tattler to bolster their sagging readership. I’m sure they’ve scrubbed my mail, but please feel free to alert us to emails you get from Shea or the Tattler that you didn’t ask for.

More after the jump.

Here’s the note I got from City Manager Sean Joyce:

Thank you for your email inquiry regarding the privacy of email addresses provided by residents who have registered for community programs and services.  Councilmember Shea obtained email address lists by filing a California Public Records Act request with the City Clerk’s Office.  Pursuant to the provisions of the Public Records Act, which in this case prevail over the privacy policy, this information was deemed a public record and disclosed. 

The issue of protecting email addresses and other personal information was considered by the City Council at its meeting of May 27, 2008. These discussions included the specific privacy policy addressed in your email inquiry. The action taken by the City Council at this meeting was as follows:  Direct the City Manager, in consultation with the City Attorney, to 1) determine the extent to which e-mail addresses and related personal information held by the City of Irvine have been provided to others and used for purposes other than the purposes for which such email addresses and related information were originally provided to the City; 2) ascertain whether the confidentiality of e-mail addresses and  related personal information already released to others can be reestablished and maintained in confidence; and 3) return to the City Council at the June 10 meeting with a legal analysis and recommended policies and ordinances to ensure that the confidentiality of email addresses is safeguarded and that the privacy interests of citizens communicating with the City are not compromised.  This matter has been scheduled for further City Council review at its June 10, 2008 Council Meeting.  The Staff Report for this matter is available by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 949 724 6205, or by accessing the City website. Sean Joyce

  11 comments for “Sign Up for a Class in Irvine? Shea Has Your Email

  1. christina shea
    June 11, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I would like to respond to the email question above. I wanted to create a newsletter similar to that of Councilmember Steven Choi, Sukhee Kang and Mayor Beth Krom. I asked our staff how to get started. I was told to ask the City Clerk to provide me with any emails that were available to the public, which I did. This request was approved by the City Manager, Sean Joyce, the City Attorney and the City Clerk. Additonally, the Conservancy and the Great Park PR staff all asked for and received larger lists, then I did, for their outreach programs, as approved by our City staff.

    I also am aware that Council member Sukhee Kang has a very comprehensive list of all addresses and birthdates of all Irvine residents. I am not sure if he was given this from the City or where he got his extensive list of private birthdates and addresses.

    However, the City Attorney is reviewing our privacy policy to see if these emails can be given to the public , as they have been given out in the past.

    But if you receive my non politcal newsletter, I hope you enjoy what is going on in Irvine!

    Thank you
    Christina Shea

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    June 11, 2008 at 8:54 am

    You can review the privacy policy on the city’s website yourself. As for the lists other council members have put together, ask Dr. Choi how he got his list. As far as Krom’s and Kang’s lists go, database development is a grassroots effort.

    I’m sure my email is scrubbed from your list, but I doubt its a non-political newsletter.

  3. christina shea
    June 11, 2008 at 11:55 am

    My newsletter is non politcal as it has to submitted to City staff each time I send a letter out . Newsletters can’t be politcal in nature if they are sent from City Hall.

    I am trying to find out what lists others have used as I actually am the only one that has disclosed my entire list for discussion.
    Beth Krom stated she only sends out 765 newsletters, all emails she received from residents cards, but our staff said her data base is in the 1000s.

    I am also curious how Sukhee Kang has all the addresses for the citizen’s of Irvine and most importantly, their private birthdates. As I mentioned previoulsy, this is very curious and having in his possession, all the birthdates of all Irivne residents pales in comparison to having very public emails that no one ever sees and, in fact, are available to everyone. This is an issue to be raised under our “privacy issue” at our next Council meeting.

    If you would like to receive my newsletter please forward to me your email address and I will put you on my newsletter list. This way all your fears of my newsletter being “politcal in nature” will be dissolved

    I don’t know how a “grassroots data base” is able to provide Councilmember Sukhee Kang with everyone’s birthdates in the City of Irvine … not too many people would believe that to be true.

    And finally, I just wanted to ask you Dan, how did Sean Joyce’s email, my City Manager, post on this blog? He told me he didn’t agree to this, nor did he authorize you to post it on this blog. Isn’t that a violation of his privacy to post his email without his consent? Aren’t we talking about privacy rights here?

    Have a good day

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    June 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    When a resident completes a form for a class or a service through the city, they must provide an email address and the privacy policy by the city states that email address would only be used by department staff. Not city council members.

    Gosh, you meet with Sukhee and Beth twice a month; can’t you just ask him how he got his information. I’m sure he got mine when I filled out my forms to write him a check for his candidacy for Mayor (and a check for Krom and for Agran)

    As to the email from Mr. Joyce, I have no privacy exemption in the tag of the email prohibiting me from using it here. The response to my query was well written. not political and I felt appropriate to post. He didn’t post it; I did. When I send email asking for a records request, I know you are copied on the letter.

  5. June 11, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    “I asked our staff how to get started”
    Staff, though highly trained professionals, are not responsible for setting policy and making these types of decisions, that is the job of our elected officials. The people of Irvine voted you to exercise judgment and work on their behalf, two things which have not happened. It is ridiculous to blame staff for the choices you make. I would ask if they deserve credit for your accomplishments, but I can’t think of a single one.

    “This request was approved by the City Manager, Sean Joyce, the City Attorney and the City Clerk”
    Who are looking for legality, not is something the right thing to do. It can be legal to lie, but that does not make it right to do. Legality is just not a defense to charges of poor judgment and abuse of power.

    “Additonally (sic), the Conservancy and the Great Park PR staff all asked for and received larger lists, then I did, for their outreach programs, as approved by our City staff”

    LIE – Conservancy & Park received much more limited lists, the Conservancy from those who attended the Stakeholders meeting and the Park those limited to the park. No one but Shea has in the history of the city requested or received “all email addresses available to the public”

    Regarding newsletter and mailings, the issue is not about sending out newsletter, no one has ever criticized you for sending out a newsletter, this is a transparent attempt to divert attention away from the real issue, that a public official would think they are entitled to spam all of the citizens in their city. If you had a newsletter mailed to people who requested it, and did not request a list with 18,000 emails and 190,000 regular addresses, no one would be talking about the newsletter. I do, however, think it very interesting that you and Choi are the only ones who use tax payer funds for this purpose. I’m not sure that is the highest and best use of my tax dollars.

    Regarding Mr. Joyce’s email, just like the memos you wrote that you want to hide, it is public. He is a public official, responding to an inquiry about his public duties. This is the exact opposite of requesting 18,000 private email addresses. If Dan requested from the city clerk 18,000 emails and started spamming them with advertisements for the blog, then you could compare your actions with his.

    You make lots of speculations about people and the things they are doing (me for example), without any idea of the truth. You use this to deflect from your well documented abuses of power.

  6. Harvey Liss
    June 11, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    This is a response to Councilmember Christina Shea’s explanations.

    It seems to me Christina Shea totally misses the point of this discussion. I strongly believe that it’s a huge and important responsibility for a City official to protect the privacy of its citizens. If I were in her shoes (so-to-speak), and I discovered that I could have access to this vast array of private information submitted to the City so easily, I would immediately take steps to protect our citizens rather than leaping into the breach to take advantage of it, regardless the purpose.

    What would I do? I would issue a directive to City staff to immediately delay the release of any such information to anyone requesting it under the Public Information Act to the limit the law allows, and put into place a firm policy approved by the City Attorney and the City Council before the further release of any such information. If anyone complains that the City can’t do this, they can sue, but the higher value is that our privacy would be maintained and I would fight all the way to the Supreme Court for this cause.

    These discussions about the intended purpose of gathering this information or the specific content of a newsletter is totally irrelevant to the critical issue of immediately protecting our citizens’ private information.

    Further discussions of newsletters and relative trivia can be held after this giant problem is solved.

  7. Irvine Resident
    June 12, 2008 at 6:26 am

    When reading this, I became deeply disturbed. My family and I have signed up for multiple city classes & activities. When you sign up, the form has a statement about how your information will be kept private, and only used for the purpose requested, or something like that. Now a city councilmember broke that promise? All of her words seem just like excuses, I think Mr. Liss is right about what a responsible leader would do.

  8. Clueless Shea
    June 12, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Wow,

    And finally, I just wanted to ask you Dan, how did Sean Joyce’s email, my City Manager, post on this blog? He told me he didn’t agree to this, nor did he authorize you to post it on this blog. Isn’t that a violation of his privacy to post his email without his consent? Aren’t we talking about privacy rights here?

    I just read through this and saw Shea whining about violation of the City Manager’s “privacy rights”.

    Is she that clueless about the Public Recorcs Act that she doesn’t realize that any communication from a city hall email address is a public record? Is the City Manager equally clueless, or is this a classic misrepresentation of a staff comment through the weird prism of the myopic Shea vision of the world.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    June 12, 2008 at 9:37 am

    “I don’t know how a “grassroots data base” is able to provide Councilmember Sukhee Kang with everyone’s birthdates in the City of Irvine … not too many people would believe that to be true.”

    The fact that you’ve been in politics as long as you have and you don’t know how to develop one of these lists on your own really defies logic.

  10. Misha Houser
    June 12, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve signed up for classes through the city in the past, and although i don’t live in the city, this is very disturbing.

    Anyone with half a brain knows that when the fine print (online AND in print) says that the info is not shared with ANYONE, that is the rule. It is in fact a contract.

    I think if I lived in Irvine and got one of these supposed newsletters, then I would consider a class action lawsuit. Ms. Shea is completely out of her mind if she thinks that using private information is ok.

    Oh wait, the current administration thinks it’s ok to eavesdrop and spy on all of us, so I guess she’s no different.

    GOOD REASON TO ELECT DEMOCRATS!

  11. Sean H. Mill
    June 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    “GOOD REASON TO ELECT DEMOCRATS! ”

    So is Janet Nguyen!!!

Comments are closed.