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CITY HALL BLOGGER SPILLING SECRETS.

Byline: Rick Orlov Staff Writer

Who knows what secrets lurk in the hearts at City Hall?

The blogger for the Fourth Floor does. With apologies to the classic radio drama ``The Shadow,'' the modern-day version of Lamont Cranston's alter ego lurks in the cyberworld of City Hall, spilling some secrets, passing along gossip and offering some amusing insight into local politics.

The Fourth Floor blogger is staunchly defending his anonymity, insisting in a series of e-mail exchanges that it gives the protection needed for City Council staff workers to pass along sometimes-sensitive information.

``My position plays into the mission of the blog, which is to provide information, news and perspectives that affect council staffers,'' the blogger wrote. ``City Council aides, and all city employees, need a place where we can bounce ideas off each other and communicate openly.

``I can hardly think of anyone better qualified to report on inside information than someone who is actually on the inside.''

During its brief existence, the Web site, www.fourthfloor.squarespace.com, has posted job openings in council offices, a memo from Mayor James Hahn on city workers being responsible for traffic tickets, links to news stories and comments that chide council members for being rude to the public or late to meetings.

``The purpose of the Fourth Floor is to focus on news and other issues affecting City Hall staffers on a daily basis,'' the blogger wrote. ``The participation and interest of like-minded staffers determines the success of this page.''

As an added note, the blogger said staffers contribute to Fourth Floor on their own time and without using city computers.

Trying to identify the Fourth Floor blogger has become a game in itself at City Hall.

``I have my suspicions,'' said Councilman Eric Garcetti, among the most technologically savvy of council members, as he ticked off the names of a number of council aides who have shown interest in the cyberworld and related issues.

``But I can't say for sure,'' Garcetti added. ``It is great fun to have a safe place to gossip.''

Some officials said they only recently learned of the blog.

``I have a hard enough time keeping up with my e-mails and pager,'' Councilman Martin Ludlow said.

Hahn has not read the blog himself, aides said. But aides keep abreast of it and tell him what's on it.

``We have no problem with what they're doing,'' spokeswoman Shannon Murphy said. ``We'd just like to know who's doing it.''

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 4, 2004
Words:420
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