Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor blockedâand later unblockedâMercury News reporter Ramona Giwargis on Twitter last week over an article that questioned the legality of an expensive PR flack hired by the city. The Mercâs story suggested that Gillmor ran afoul of the city charter by using $450-an-hour Banner Public Affairs consultant Pete Hillan to help craft her message on issues related to the 49ers, who have been at odds with the mayor and her City Council allies over Leviâs Stadium management. Niner-friendly councilors Dominic Caserta and Patty Mahan applauded the Mercâs reporting, but Gillmor and her supporters called the piece riddled with inaccuracies. âThe story was clearly wrong,â Gillmor tells Fly. During last weekâs council meeting, Caserta cited the Merc article to advance his claim that Gillmor broke the law. But City Manager Deanna Santana and interim City Attorney Brian Doyle repeatedly refuted those assertions. After a heated back-and-forth, punctuated by Caserta telling Gillmor she should be ashamed, the council voted 5-1 to approve another deal with Banner. Gillmor tells Fly she hoped Giwargis would follow up on her story by writing about the vote. âThe facts speak for themselves,â Gillmor says. âIâm just disappointed that the Mercury News was presented with those facts and all we got was radio silence.â Merc managing editor Bert Robinson says the paper stands by its initial online reportâeven though it was altered several timesâand couldnât help but laugh about the usefulness of blocking a reporter on Twitter. âThe signal that it sends is that the journalist has gotten under the politician's skin and the politician is being childish,â he says. Though Gillmor admitted she was wrong to block Giwargis, the mayor sticks to her claim that the article is littered with errors. Robinson says the updates were due to PR consultant Hillan, his former boss at the Merc, having unique access to editors because of his past work with the paper.Â HillanÂ succeededÂ in pressing editors to revise a specific passage regarding the city charter. Those changes, however, were only noted by an updated timestamp, leading Santa Clara blogger Robert Haugh to call out the accuracy of the story and the transparency in how it was reported. Robinson says the daily paper of record will consider adding endnotes to better explain how stories changeâand not just for corrections. âWe have not done that with clarifications,â he says. âMaybe we should.â One last takeaway: If Santa Clara still plans to pay Hillan an extraordinary amount of money to craft media statements and op-eds against the 49ers, how exactly is this saga ever going to end? Maybe an even higher-priced mercenary has the answer.