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Nextdoor – OP-ED

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.

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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.

 

Rob Jerdonek,

Member of Rivermark Nextdoor Community in Santa Clara, CA

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7 Comments
  1. Mary Grizzle 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    I agree, I don’t often read next door because I feel so many people speak out against something without getting the facts ie many of the readers thought that Randy Lamb was going to destroy the homes in Homestead and Monroe, when in fact he has found a place for each in the Old Quad.

    Going back to Harbir, it is our duty as a voter to be able to hear both sides to make a determination of who to vote for. If you have banned her from speaking out you are doing something against our constitution. Let everyone have there say and then vote

    • Anon 3 weeks ago
      Reply

      Just for clarification, No one is attacking the constitution. Harbir’s words on Nextdoor are what got her removed. She did it to herself, others were insluted and attacked by her when their thoughts didn’t agree with hers. No constitutional violation there, just Nextdoor protecting its users.

  2. Richard 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    It’s happened to me. When you don’t meet ND’s guidelines, they can and will disable your account. It has more to do with your conduct not your political stand.

  3. Roger T Dist4 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    ND blocks an account due to non-compliance and personal attacks more than political affiliations. Please read the user agreement carefully. I don’t think this has anything to do with anything else but her own doing.

  4. Concerned about Bhatia's Behavior.. 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    Rob Jerdonek you well know what Harbir did and why she got suspended. I was on Nextdoor and privy to her insulting and bullying like comments against people who didn’t agree with her. I also know that you’re a next door community moderator and KNOW that Kathy Wantanabe has nothing to do with her getting suspended off Nextdoor. That decision was made by NEXTDOOR EMPLOYEES who received reports about her comments.
    You better bet that as a concerned citizen about Harbir’s behavior that I will be going around and telling others about this article and the LIES filled in it. And as Roger said, she did it to herself with her negative and belittling behavior. I’m sure the community saw it for themselves and have already decided that it isn’t fitting for a potential city council member. It’s disgusting that has a community moderator for Nextdoor you would pass LIES around.

  5. Pot Calling the Kettle Black 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    That’s funny because the only removing that happened by a candidate was by Harbir and her friends who clearly removed Kathy as a moderator for a Rivermark Northside Facebook group.

  6. Concerned about Bhatia’s behavior (still) 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    Also, if Bhatia wants to point fingers she should put her money where her mouth is and share the email ND sent her. That has all the honest answers we need but I HIGHLY doubt that we’ll ever see that. I don’t want a liar as my city council person.

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