Most Wildwood City residents expect a modicum of privacy and security regarding their electronic communications. Many would be surprised that any email they send to their council representative, city employee or mayor are considered public record according to Missouri's Sunshine Law, and are available by request to anyone, including businesses, spammers and others with possible ill-intent.
This would include lists of email addresses for such things as new residents, recipients of the city's electronic newsletters, and virtually any and likely all other communications with the city.
During the July 24th Wildwood City Council meeting, Council Member Steve Taylor made a motion to explore protections for Wildwood citizens' privacy and confidentiality, in respect to email communication with the city. The motion requested that the council, "ask our city attorney to investigate the legality of closing certain email lists and other sources of personal resident information, within the constraints of Missouri's Sunshine Law in order to protect privacy and promote public safety".
Council Member Crystal McCune, who seemed dead set to derail the effort to protect resident privacy rights, demanded that Taylor submit to the council the names of residents who expressed concern about the city's privacy policies, and the nature of their complaints.
Livestream of council meeting where McCune demands that Taylor name those Wildwood residents who disagree with city policy. (Note: Edited video. Complete video available at cityofwildwood.com)
Not only was the demand to turn over names to the council rife with irony given the topic of residents' privacy, it was being made by a council member that previously threatened political retaliation against a resident for political expression.
Ultimately, McCune's attempt to defeat Taylor's motion failed and the measure was sent to the Administration and Public Works Committee, on which both Taylor and McCune are members.
The thick irony of McCune's demand for the names of those Wildwood residents who are seeking privacy, conjures the memory of an historic abuse of power that demanded the names of private individuals over their alleged political viewpoints. Here is part of Edward R. Murrow's 1954 response to Senator Joseph McCarthy:
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