We have reason to believe that Maureen Carson, Dan Carson's wife, is involved in halting discussion on Nextdoor posts deemed damaging to her husband. Twice now, a piece that Joe has posted on Nextdoor politely and factually discussing city staff and city council actions (and well within Nextdoor's guidelines for community discourse) has had its comments section closed suddenly and without any explanation within hours of its posting.
Both of Joe's recent posts addressed the corrupt process leading to the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Arroyo Park and the city and council's lack of response to what appears to be illegal and certainly irregular acts by staff and vendors. Joe's first posting, which begins "Some may be interested in our posts...," includes links to our related articles in both The Davisite and Davis Vanguard. It was posted September 30 and closed to discussion less than 24 hours later, after it had attracted 23 reactions and two comments. Joe's second posting, dated November 3, begins "Since the information below was just published..." and includes a pasted-in version of our Davis Enterprise opinion piece. Over the next several hours it received 19 reactions and 20 comments but shortly after the comments brought up Dan Carson explicitly, it, too, saw its discussion closed.
Curious why this was happening, we looked closely at Nextdoor policies and links. According to Michael Mierzwa, who is a Nextdoor moderator in the "Birch" neighborhood, the only people able to close comments on posts, besides their author, are official Nextdoor moderators ("leads" and "reviewers") in the original neighborhood. Scrutiny of the list of our local Nextdoor moderators reveals a reviewer named "Maureen C." (the only one of seven moderators not using their full last name). With a review of Maureen C.'s posts, it was not hard to discover that she lives at the same address as Dan Carson, and, of course, is his wife.
We think it is appalling that someone with such an obvious conflict of interest, especially on the cusp of an election that will determine her husband's political future, should be in a position of monitoring and influencing community dialogue. Because there were no grounds for removal, both posts remained intact and standing but muted, and withering from public view. It looks very much like Maureen, or a Nextdoor moderator in her circle of influence, has found a way to actively stifle free speech, including the discourse that is more important to our community now than it ever has been.
This afternoon Joe discovered he can now re-open the comments section on each of his posts, which he has done. The dust-up about comments to the recent post being turned off, or Janet writing the Nextdoor lead (so far unanswered) must have done the trick. The lead or a reviewer must have reversed their decision, or the lead may have overruled a reviewer. Be assured, Joe didn’t turn off comments on his posts.
We feel strongly that Maureen Carson, regardless of her level of involvement in these two instances, should be removed as a Nextdoor reviewer for as long as her husband is serving on the city council. And we hope it goes without saying that we welcome any insights Maureen and her local moderator colleagues may have on the accuracy of our observations and conclusions.