Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor blocked—and later unblocked—Mercury 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 Merc’s 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 Levi’s Stadium management. Niner-friendly councilors Dominic Caserta and Patty Mahan applauded the Merc’s reporting, but Gillmor and her supporters called the piece riddled with inaccuracies. “The story was clearly wrong,” Gillmor tells Fly. During last week’s 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. “The facts speak for themselves,” Gillmor says. “I’m just disappointed that the Mercury News was presented with those facts and all we got was radio silence.” Merc managing editor Bert Robinson says the paper stands by its initial online report—even though it was altered several times—and couldn’t help but laugh about the usefulness of blocking a reporter on Twitter. “The signal that it sends is that the journalist has gotten under the politician's skin and the politician is being childish,” 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. Hillan succeeded 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 change—and not just for corrections. “We have not done that with clarifications,” he says. “Maybe we should.” 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.