Best Facebook Update (2009)

Christa Severns

It wasn't as ill-advised as blabbing about her sex life — or noting something euphemistically suggestive like "Christa is higher than a kite." But Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's soon-to-be-ex-wife, Christa Severns, certainly touched off a firestorm when she posted this on Facebook last spring: "Christa Severns is thinking of changing careers and taking up lobbying the city of Phoenix. Hell, everybody else does. I can write a fabulous RFP."

The update was immediately assumed to be a dig at her ex's sister, Gail Gordon, who works as a lobbyist and whose team had been hired by the winning bidder for the airport Sky Train project. The Arizona Republic reported on the comment, reportedly without even contacting anyone it was quoting — and that angered at least one state public information officer to the point that he de-friended his reporter "friends." (Yes, the fallout did remind us of junior high schoolers getting their notes intercepted in the hallway.)

For her part, Severns, communications director for SCF Arizona, handled it with grace; we've heard she's agreed to be a guest speaker in at least one journalism class this fall. And she taught us all a valuable lesson in Media Ethics 101: Reporters are your friends only until they can use you for some really juicy copy. Sorry!


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