BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Just two months in existence and BocaNewsNow.com has been threatened by Assistant City Manager Michael Woika.
Woika demanded that BocaNewsNow.com remove the Boca Raton City “Seal” from a story listing the qualifying dates for Boca Raton residents interested in running for elected office, including City Council.
The Seal is on a press release on the City’s website — a press release available to the public and media. BocaNewsNow.com believes it is contradictory to distribute a press release with the City Seal, yet prohibit the media from displaying the Seal in its coverage of the story that the City of Boca Raton initiated.
Here is Woika’s first email to BocaNewsNow.com:
On the current BocaNewsNow.com page, the seal of the City of Boca Raton is displayed. This is not an authorized use of the City seal; only City Council can approve its use. Please take the City seal off the site immediately.
Should you have any questions on this matter, please let me know.
Asst. City manager
City of Boca Raton
We responded with our belief that the City does not have exclusive use of a Seal in the public domain when being utilized for news reporting purposes — purposes initiated by the City itself on a PDF. Here is Michael Woika’s response:
“165.043 Official county or municipal seal.—The governing body of a county or municipality may, by ordinance, designate an official county or municipal seal. The manufacture, use, display, or other employment of any facsimile or reproduction of the county or municipal seal, except by county or municipal officials or employees in the performance of their official duties, without the express approval of the governing body is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Please remove the City seal from the site immediately.”
This is the press release on the City of Boca Raton website. The Seal is displayed in the upper right hand side.
We are awaiting a response from the Boca Raton City Attorney, but in the meantime question why the City would want to disuade the media from effectively communicating election qualifying dates to the general public.