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City Councilman James Rodriguez Gets in a Fight on Twitter

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Yesterday the Houston City Council passed some pretty important law regarding payday loan lending. And then things got really interesting when District I City Councilman James G. Rodriguez took to Twitter to let everyone know his feelings on the subject. Obviously when a politician wants to be an ass, Twitter is the place to go.

He started by congratulating Chron reporter Lisa Falkenberg on the law getting passed, asked what Mayor Annise Parker's role was and then hashtagged the whole thing #BushLeague. Because, even on Twitter, this is a classy guy.

Chron sportswriter Jose de Jesus Ortiz then stepped up on behalf of his colleague, while noting a spelling mistake:

What ensued was a Twitter skirmish between Rodriguez, aka @cmjrod, Chron sportswriter, de Jesus Ortiz, aka @OrtizKicks and Noah Horwitz, aka @NMHorwitz, creator of the political blog, Texpatriate.

None of the tweets are on Rodriguez's account anymore, but luckily for us Horwitz -- a Houstonian who started the blog as a way to keep engaged with politics after he moved to Boston to attend Brandeis University -- took screenshots, recapping the whole fight on his blog, Texpatriate.

Horwitz wrote the original post criticizing Rodriguez's initial tweets about the payday loan deal. Rodriguez was going back and forth with @Texpatriates when he made a crack about Horwitz's dad, who ran for city council a while back:

jroddad.JPG
Screenshot by Noah M. Horwitz

Going after his dad was going too far, Horwitz said. He switched over to his personal Twitter handle and started responding to Rodriguez. Again this was another excellent point for Rodriguez to log out of Twitter and go take a walk or something. "When someone brings in my family, I get a little upset," Horwitz said. "I didn't reference anything but politics. He was the one who escalated it."

Horwitz then turned around, took a screenshot of that exchange of Tweets, and updated his blog post. "Everybody has bad days, but I guess the internet isn't the best way to express that," Horwitz said, noting you can rethink and delete a tweet from your account all you want, but online is forever.

It finally ended with the Twitter equivalent of, "I know you are, but what am I," from Rodriguez. Maybe someone wrenched the smartphone from his hands at that point. Despite subsequent deleting, we are left with an excellent example of how not to handle yourself on Twitter, if you happen to be a politician.

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