Steve's Thoughts and Campaign News

Why I Post on Social Media


In 2017, I attended a League of California Cities conference for newly elected officials. One of the livelier sessions was about social media. Every panelist provided the same advice: stay far away from sites like NextDoor and Benicia Happenings. Only bad things happen to elected officials who dared to engage online with their constituents, they said. In fact, most politicians avoid social media like the plague.

I see it differently. To me, these sites are where people are engaging in civic issues. I believe there is no greater thing to strive for as an elected official than transparency. Opening the operations of the City through these posts allows people to better understand the issues surrounding them. And Benicians are smart enough that, given enough information, they will hopefully better understand the difficult decisions the Council must make. So I post not only information that can be useful to residents affected by Covid-19, but also on more specific City topics of interest to the community.

There is obviously a risk in doing so. Criticism comes much more often than praise, and you have to have a thick skin to talk about things that are not going to be universally accepted. I have published about all of the most difficult issues: street maintenance and repairs, water rates, pensions and district elections, to name only a few. Since I am the only Council member writing about these subjects, I have taken most of the heat from people who don’t like our decisions. Nevertheless, I see a big part of my job as a Council member to reach out to the public on issues of common concern.

The way I see it, all candidates should let people know where they stand on important issues rather than just running slick advertising campaigns around election time. And, in my experience, even when we disagree on policy, I always come away with a deeper and better understanding of the citizen’s needs and desires. And, hopefully, people come away with a better idea of who I am and where I stand on the issues.


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