A newly-created Facebook group, dubbed “Send Jack Schnirman Back to ‘Crookhaven,’” was launched last weekend and added some 200 members, several residents of whom wrote that they were added without their consent and asked to be removed from the page.
The group – which refers to Long Beach’s city manager who was the former chief deputy supervisor at the Town of Brookhaven – wrote at the top of its page that Schnirman and “his friends from Crookhaven have ruined the reputation of our great city. He has come into our city and managed to ruin our reputation, negatively impact our property values and hurt the image of the city we love. Hit the road Jack and don’t come back! We want a city manager who wants to improve our city, not just improve his resume!”
Facebook user Jarred Enzley is listed on the group’s wall as the creator, but it is uncertain if that is a real name.
Some users commented that they were added to the group through Enzley’s “friend” account, which was previously called Long Beach Matters, according to the Long Beach Herald, who also reported that the page’s administrator did not respond to an email sent on Tuesday and that Schnirman declined to comment about the group.
Resident Dave Yolinsky — who was among the users concerned that their unapproved inclusion in the group implies they support the group’s mission — wrote:
“In my opinion, the person in charge of the Facebook account Long Beach Matters has no right to put me in the group without my consent. His or her political views do not represent my own. This person created a Facebook account to get information out to the public, and used his newly acquired ‘friends’ to push his own political agenda without their permission.”
Others who wrote on the group wall wrote such messages as “Remove me from this please. I NEVER asked to be added to this nonsense,” and “Remove me from this, I never consented.”
On Tuesday, City Council Vice President Len Torres wrote on the group wall, suggesting that law enforcement should get involved: “We must stick together and fight moronic behavior … Facebook should have the person who started this arrested immediately.”
There was also speculation on the group’s wall that Jim Hennessy — a former Republican City Council member — created the group as a way to smear the Schnirman administration.
Hennessy also blogs for Patch and is highly critical of the new city manager and Democrat administration, but he denied involvement with the group and said that it is unfortunate that many people have resorted to anonymous blogging.
“If someone has something to say they should have the courage to speak their mind openly,” Hennessy told Patch in an email. “I think people are smart enough to simply ignore those who blog under fake and anonymous names. Democracy thrives when there is an open public debate; it enhances checks and balances in a Democracy. People should blog with their real name, and if they don't we should ignore them.”
Commenting on the Herald’s story on the paper's website, Long Beach resident Gary Pollakusky, a managing partner of the media agency Media Barrel, encouraged readers and elected officials to check out his self-described non-partisan Facebook page, Citizens for Long Beach, NY, which he created in the months prior to the November City Council election.
“I think it is important that social forums like http://facebook.com/citizensforlbny are not just used by officials to appeal to voters prior to an election,” Pollakusky wrote. “It is important that our leaders get involved in communicating with the public forums they are constructively communicating in! I don't think groups like the one that this article is focussed on, would ever appear if the public was satisfied with the communication they are receiving from City Hall.”