2013-02-08 / Front Page
Judge’s Facebook activity scrutinized
This week, City Councilmember Mike Judge was called out not for his political views or votes but for his online profile—specifically, the types of pages he “likes” on Facebook, some of which contain scantily clad women in suggestive poses.
An anonymous email addressing these concerns was sent out Sunday afternoon to local media, the city manager and city attorney, and the City Council—all except Judge, who is serving as mayor pro tem.
Using the identifier “Simi Mother,” the email sender states that she is a concerned parent whose daughter was “exposed to less than becoming behavior” by the councilman, characterizing the pages Judge “likes” on Facebook as “pornographic in nature.”
“He has the audacity to do this in the public eye and share this information,” the email reads. “I find it incredulous that someone of his status in the community would act so carelessly. Does Mr. Judge not realize that each time he ‘likes’ his smut websites it goes out for people to see? He’s brought his private bedroom behavior to our bedroom community.”
The concerned “Simi mom” called out seven pages in particular, via screen shots of those pages attached to the email: Fap Fap Fap, Tactical Girls, Hot Chicks With Abs, Models Universe, Hot Mirror Shots and The Cougar Club. The other page name is not suitable for print; the page posts revealing photos of women, focusing on two body parts in particular.
Like the latter, four of the pages do regularly post provocative or sexually explicit photographs, as well as crude jokes and humor.
Tactical Chicks appears to simply be a business page aimed at selling shooting equipment to women. And while Hot Chicks With Abs may have what some consider sexy images, its angle is more about showcasing impressively fit women.
When the Acorn called Judge about the matter, he said that while he did like the pages referred to in the email, he wouldn’t characterize them the same way.
“There’s no porn on my Facebook,” Judge said. “I know what pornography is, and I don’t consider any of that pornography.”
When asked if he was surprised by the email, he said he wasn’t because someone is stirring up trouble for him at his job with the Los Angeles Police Department as well.
“I know it’s the same person. In fact, if I had proof I’d tell you who it was,” he said. “There’s one person on Facebook that has been hounding me for a while, and I know it’s the same person.”
Judge’s personal Facebook page—he has a separate fan page called “Mike Judge Simi Valley City Council” that he initiated when he ran for City Council in 2010—had 985 likes on Monday morning, which could be seen without being his “friend.”
Judge’s “likes” archive dates back to 2008, but the pages in question were liked in 2011 and 2012, with just one liked in 2013: Models Universe.
Though the page sounds harmless, the profile picture featured Monday, and at press time, showed a woman’s bent-over backside covered by little more than a thong.
Judge said he knew his “likes” were viewable to the public. When asked if he was worried at all about how his “likes” would reflect on his character, he simply said “no.”
The council member said that he didn’t go “trolling” for the pages but that he liked them after friends shared them with him.
“I have a lot of friends in the military, a lot of friends in law enforcement, so I get a lot of these things,” he said. “Some people might find them distasteful, some might find them funny, that’s the way it is. I also post a lot of puppy pictures.”
Judge went on to say, “I have male friends that are mostly in the alpha category, and they look at these kind of pictures and I sometimes do too, but I don’t make a habit of it.”
The city’s Code of Ethics and Conduct for Elected Officials does not specifically address this kind of situation.
City Manager Laura Behjan said there is a social media policy in place for city employees, though it only addresses usage of the city’s social media sites, such as the police department’s Facebook page. The city doesn’t monitor employee’s personal social networking usage, she said, nor does it monitor that of elected officials.
Though Behjan read the email, she didn’t look at the pages referred to and said she didn’t have enough information to make a judgment as to whether any “thresholds” had been crossed or if the matter rises to a level of concern.
Mayor Bob Huber, to whom the email was addressed, also didn’t know how to respond to the matter and had not viewed the pages. However, he was suspicious of the sender’s true motivations.
“It seems to me that this is politically motivated to spend the time to go through someone’s ‘likes,’” he said.
Whatever their motivations, the sender was correct—Judge liked those pages. When the mayor was asked if that is a concern for a council member to like those kinds of pages publicly, he was hard-pressed to give an answer.
But in an email the next day, Huber said Judge doesn’t answer to him—he answers to the voters.
“Mike Judge is an elected official and is responsible for his own actions,” Huber said, adding that he reviewed the city’s ethics policy and consulted with the city attorney.
“No one is alleging corruption, conflict of interest or the commission of any crime—this is a private matter between Mike Judge and the people of Simi Valley, if true.”
On Monday evening, Judge posted on his City Council Facebook page that he would be more careful about what he “likes,” saying he “found out the hard way” that it is not wise to “like” any and everything a friend may share.
“I should have known better, and from now on I will keep a tight control on what I ‘like.’”
Judge no longer “likes” any of the pages referred to in the email, except Tactical Chicks.
He’s also “un-liked” eight more pages since Monday that may have featured offensive content.