On Oct. 9, 2020, the Nextdoor account of Harbir Bhatia was disabled in the “Rivermark” Nextdoor community in Santa Clara. I am writing to request that her account be reinstated.
Harbir is a highly regarded member of our community. She is very well known for her volunteer work and service to the community. Currently, she is a candidate for Santa Clara City Council to represent our neighborhood district in the November 2020 election.
It is a huge loss for democracy to silence Harbir on this platform during such a critical time in the election. I have observed Harbir’s comments, and they were often firm and direct, but always very respectful. In many cases, her political opponents were making false allegations against her and she needed to respond to defend her integrity and reputation.
I would also like to point out that Harbir’s sole opponent in the City Council election is Kathy Watanabe, who is the Lead for Harbir’s “Rivermark” community. During such a contentious election, I believe it is a conflict of interest for the Lead of our Nextdoor community to be a candidate for office in an election where her sole challenger is in the same Nextdoor community. I am not accusing Kathy Watanabe of any wrongdoing. However, Kathy Watanabe has publicly stated (on Nextdoor) that she is not doing any moderation of political postings since that would not be considered “appropriate”. However, I feel that this very lack of moderation by an impartial lead is causing the toxic political climate to prevail on the Rivermark community.
I would understand if specific posts by Harbir were removed by the normal Community Review process. However, disabling her entire account is a drastic action that adversely affects our democracy.
Member of Rivermark Nextdoor Community in Santa Clara, CA