- Lakeway, Texas City Council
- United States of America
This is a nonpartisan issue!
By signing this petition, We DEMAND AN INVESTIGATION BY LAKEWAY CITY COUNCIL/Attorney General and County Attorney to look into if Mayor Joe Bain violated any laws by creating a fake social media profile online during an election cycle and weighing in on bond proposals.
Here is the Austin American Statesman Article where Mayor Bain Admits guilt:
Lakeway Mayor Joe Bain told neighbors on the Nextdoor online forum site Wednesday that he deleted an account he had been using under a pseudonym after realizing it was “inappropriate,” according to screenshots sent to the View by multiple sources.
Posts made under the name “John Smart” included advocating that residents vote for incumbent City Council candidates Bridge Bertram and Ron Massa.
“I created the John Smart account many months ago to communicate with Nextdoor users without a perceived bias,” Bain’s post on the website under his own name reads. “I now realize this was inappropriate and have deleted the account. There was never any intent to bully or cause confusion and all the information posted was accurate and factual. The screenshot that was posted with voting recommendations was deleted within minutes after I decided it was also not appropriate. Again, I apologize for my error in judgement.”
Bain confirmed by phone Thursday evening that he was behind the “John Smart” account, elaborating on his reasoning Friday afternoon.
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“I felt the need to express my opinions as an individual, and I didn’t want to have the full weight of the mayor behind that,” Bain said by phone Friday. “I’m uncomfortable with that perception … I deceived the citizens of Lakeway by posing as a name that’s not my own, and I want to apologize for that particular misstep.”
Bain also confirmed that he did “accidentally out” himself when sending messages to a resident, adding his real name and mayoral email address at the bottom of a post by ‘John Smart’ while messaging a resident on Nextdoor from his phone.
Nextdoor.com is a discussion forum site designed to facilitate conversations between neighbors in a specific geographic area. Screenshots indicate residents were using the forum to discuss matters such as the upcoming election, in which residents will vote for or against a $23 million bond to build a new police station, as well as vote for two of three candidates for City Council.
“Vote for Bridge Bertram and Ron Massa – they actually volunteered for the City and worked hard to make it better, unlike the other candidate that hasn’t attended a council meeting for a long time nor has every [sic] done any work to try to improve the city – no committees, commissions or any other volunteer work,” a post by John Smart reads.
Bain also said on the phone that he “probably did advocate for the bond as a citizen.”
In other posts, “John Smart” questioned City Council candidate Tiffany McMillan’s volunteer work.
“Just curious, what has Tiffany done with the city of Lakeway?” the post reads. “She wasn’t very specific at the forum.”
In another comment posted on a thread about nonprofit Citizen Advocates for Animals in October, “John Smart” asked for the nonprofit’s “current financials” and donation amounts.
“Apparently they are not interested in posting financials,” ‘John Smart’ later commented. “I guess we need to investigate who to turn them in to?”
Screenshots of conversations on Nextdoor indicate some residents had previously expressed a suspicion that “John Smart” might be a fake identity, noting “John Smart’s” familiarity with city finances and policies.
“I think it’s totally unethical, and a lot of people think he ought to resign over this, and I don’t disagree with them,” resident Hamil Cooper said in a phone interview. “It’s a very sneaky thing that he did. I couldn’t condone a mayor doing that.”
“Joe Bain’s use of a Nextdoor account under a fake name was deceitful and unethical for an elected official,” resident Amy Talaber said via email. “His actions made me lose trust in our city government and question his ability to serve as mayor.”
McMillan has asked for Bain’s resignation on Facebook.
“Joe Bain has breached his duty to the Lakeway community and violated the trust we should have in our highest official,” McMIllan said by email. “This behavior is unethical on every level. Mr. Bain must resign. He has betrayed his position & our community.”
Bain told the View he intends to continue serving through the last year of his three-year term as mayor.
“I’ve been on the city council for six years, mayor for two years, and I’ve got another year left on this term,” Bain said. “I’m passionate about doing what’s best for the city and the citizens. I agree it was a misstep, but I’m going to continue to do the best I can for the citizens.”
We DEMAND AN INVESTIGATION BY LAKEWAY CITY COUNCIL to look into if Lakeway Mayor Joe Bain violated any laws by creating a fake social media profile online to weigh in on candidates and bond proposals during an election cycle.
The INVESTIGATE "Catfishing" Mayor Joe Bain of Lakeway, TX petition to Lakeway, Texas City Council was written by Lake Travis Progressives and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.