Various public officials have received an email calling for a rally in support of Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and his decision to have police investigate a Twitter account that depicted him as a drug user and a sexual deviant.
A source forwarded the message to 1470 & 100.3 WMBD on Monday evening. The same source says the email, which was unsigned in the format in which it was received, was sent by retired Dunlap schools superintendent and Ardis’ former education liaison Bill Collier.
The note says Ardis and his family were wronged by @peoriamayor, and that the mayor was completely justified in having police open a criminal investigation into the Twitter account. That investigation ultimately led to a search of the home of Jon Daniel, who says he started @peoriamayor as a joke for his friends.
While Daniel was never charged with a crime, a roommate was arrested for pot possession and several electronic devices were seized by police. The American Civil Liberties Union has now filed a lawsuit against the City of Peoria and several city officials, including Ardis, on Daniel’s behalf, claiming his First and Fourth amendment rights were violated by the criminal investigation and ensuing raid.
The email indicates Ardis’ reaction to the Twitter account was right, evidenced by the fact that City Manager Patrick Urich, former Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard, two police officers, and three judges agreed that the account was illegally assuming Ardis’ identity and damaging his reputation. It goes on to say that, since @peoriamayor was not initially marked as a “parody,” no one would ever know that the real Ardis was not behind the vulgar tweets being sent out in his name.
It also says Daniel was, “an immature 30 year old who wanted to play the role of a jerk, did and got his butt in all kinds of trouble including finding drugs in his house.”
The writer says the proposed rally isn’t only in support of Ardis; it’s in support of everyone in the public light that might fall victim to the “havoc” that social media can inflict on good people.
The message asks for all of Ardis' supporters to rally at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday ahead of the City Council's regular meeting.
You can read the full message below:
“As I have added some age I find that I am a little more reserved when it comes to public statements regardless of how important those statements might be. I worry greatly about how un-civil our country, our state and even our local community has become. Good people do not become engaged in many civic activities, especially political activities, as they know that sooner or later they will be taken to task or even attacked for something they have attempted to do. I do not need to tell anyone receiving this email about the twitter account controversy and resulting public ridicule that has overtaken many in our city.
I will not try to sway anyone as to who may have been right or wrong in this unfortunate situation. I can only tell you that I have read the various items and they are as vulgar as anything I have ever read. It would be difficult for anyone, not knowing either the Mayor or the person posting the items, to know that it was not the Mayor making the comments. His picture, his personal information, his official information, nothing indicating it was a "joke". I am of the age that believes that a person should be able to say what he/she wants, when and where he/she wants but that he/she must "own" it. Put your name on it.
I may not get as in-depth in analyzing the situation as many others who want to talk about legal and illegal versus right and wrong. What has happen to the Mayor and his family is wrong. Period.
What bothers me the most is:
We have a Mayor who is simply a very fine person and hard working Mayor--he thinks he was wronged.
We have a City Manager who is an outstanding person and city employee--he thought the mayor was wronged.
We have a Chief of Police who is a first class guy--he thought the mayor was wronged.
We have police office #1 who is highly qualified in IT crimes--he thought the Mayor was wronged.
We have police office #2 who investigated the issue--he thought the mayor was wronged.
We have Judge #1 who issued a search warrant to see if there had been a crime--he thought there was enough concern to issue the warrant.
We have Judge #2 who issued a second search warrant--he thought there was enough concern to issue the warrant.
We have Judge #3 who issued a third search warrant--he though there was enough concern to issue the warrant.
On the other hand we have (my words) an immature 30 year old who wanted to play the role of a jerk, did and got his butt in all kinds of trouble including finding drugs in his house. Own it!
I am siding with Jim Ardis and in another sense with all elected and appointed government officials, school teachers and officials, business leaders, anyone who is open to today's "social media" and the havoc it can inflict on good people.
Tuesday evening at 5:45 PM, before the City Council meeting gets started, a high number of supporters of Jim Ardis the man will hold a rally at City Hall. Some plan to speak at the council meeting. From his work with St. Jude, Peoria Promise, HOPE and on education in Peoria Jim deserves much support on this issue. Please consider attending the Rally. Take a step back and think about all that the Mayor has done for people in our community. He supports so many people, activities and events that fairness now dictates that we support him.
I have given almost 10 years volunteering on education issues for Mayor Ardis. I can think of no one I am more willing to stand up for than him. It is all about right and wrong, owning what one says and standing up for the good people in our community. I hope that you will stand up this time around. You will be proud of yourself for taking that stand. Some receiving this are well known and true leaders in our City. Do not take a pass on this. Step up, be seen, maybe even heard, but do not sit back and allow this to take place in our community."