Regardless of the legitimacy or lack thereof of Uber’s issues with the city of Houston, it’s difficult to think of a more clueless way for the city attorney to respond than with a cease-and-desist order … because too many people are contacting city officials through e-mail accounts used for official city business. Uber delightedly posted the demand on its website:
From: Feldman, David M. – LGL
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:46 AM
To: Miller, Robert
Subject: Uber Cease and Desist
Robert – Please consider this as a formal demand that your client, Uber, cease and desist from transmitting or aiding in the transmission of form e-mails to City officials regarding the adoption of an ordinance to accommodate their enterprise. Despite my informal request to you by telephone on Monday, the excessive number of e-mails has gone unabated, to the point that it has become harassing in nature and arguably unlawful. Failure to cease and desist will be met with appropriate action by the City.
David M. Feldman
City of Houston
Which Houston office-holders specifically are tired of hearing from their constituents? Mayor Annise Parker, who’s been in city government for almost half of her adult life? Someone had to tell Feldman to send this tone-deaf demand to Uber, after all. Houstonians might be interested to know which of their politicians are far too busy to deal with voter feedback.
Here’s a thought: why not just change all of the e-mail addresses, or hide them from the public? Congress does that, forcing constituents to communicate through its website. Making that change might create a political kerfuffle, but it’s a lot smarter than sending cease-and-desist demands to people with business before the city government.