Trollin' ain't easy, but is banning John Foddrill, and others like him, unconstitutional?
Published: December 12, 2012
"[Foddrill] did not display any signs of mental illness nor was he a danger to himself or others," they continued. "[Foddrill] seemed to be very credible and had documentation to substantiate his accusations. He stated he was frustrated with his inability to reach anyone within the city to help him out. He has been without a job for approximately five years and feels the city is preventing him from being able to get employment elsewhere."
The John Foddrill SAPD mental health officers met that night stands in stark contrast to the one downtown Councilman Diego Bernal encountered in the online world.
Soon after he took office in 2011, Bernal became the latest public official to openly engage Foddrill and hear out his claims. Via email, Bernal asked to see Foddrill's criminal trespass notice and other records related to his allegations. Foddrill would include replies like, "You realize that you are in the middle of a massive criminal conspiracy to hide three decades of police/public corruption."
Things went downhill quick.
After one nasty response, Bernal wrote Foddrill, "Got it. Thanks. Making a target out of someone who is willing to listen is impolite. Thanks." Foddrill sent more mass emails, claiming to have delivered complaints to the Bexar County elections department and the Secretary of State's office demanding a full investigation of Bernal's "illegal swearing-in." Bernal ultimately blocked Foddrill from his Facebook page. "In many ways it runs afoul of my open-government position, but once he started to attack other visitors to this page, he made the decision for me," Bernal wrote.
Foddrill's venom didn't end there. When local Occupy San Antonio protestors began organizing actions in the fall of 2011, Foddrill seemed a natural ally. But online communications soon broke down with Occupiers and activists claiming to be with the hacktivist collective Anonymous when they chose to ignore Foddrill's allegations against the city. More mass emails followed, ranting about "the masked little boys who lead the movement and their flock of sheep-like followers" who "find a need to protect corrupt city politicians." It's at that point Foddrill began circulating bizarre allegations that Bernal was colluding with Occupy and Anonymous activists to harass and threaten him, all in a concerted effort to keep the claims of fraud and corruption buried.
To Bernal, Foddrill is not your average disgruntled citizen.
Bernal says he's grown accustomed to folks like Jack Finger, a staple at Council meetings who regularly and aggressively launches into tirades against Bernal and other city leaders at the dais. "I'm used to that, I'm used to people sometimes screaming or sometimes berating me, I'm OK with that," Bernal said. "No matter how angry they get, if and when I see them outside Council, I know they don't like me but that's the end of it."
> Email Michael Barajas