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Thread: Setting the record straight

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default Setting the record straight

    I just received an SOS update that I would like to share since it is not yet on their site www.soswayland.org. I apologize for any formatting lost in the transfer. While people are gathering facts to make informed decisions about upcoming elections, it is important to be able to trust sources. I am glad to know that the confusion regarding the meetings and domain name is clear and hope that everyone can get back to the issues.

    The update reads:


    Setting the Record Straight & Moving On
    To Concerned Residents of Wayland,

    Over the last few weeks, we have been discouraged that certain individuals have spent an inordinate amount of effort attempting to distract voters from the important issues facing our town. We wish to share the facts with you in hopes that everyone will move on and focus on passing the two tax-neutral debt exclusion questions on the ballot on April 7th. Passing these questions will secure important capital items for the town and allow the town to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity to secure state funding to study our High School facility problems.

    This SOS Update provides details on:

    Domain Name Issue: Public records indicate that in September 2008, Jeffrey Baron, a candidate for School Committee, registered the domain name soswayland.com. Note that our organization's domain name, registered since 2005, is soswayland.org.

    February 24 SOS Volunteer Meeting: The only reason our meeting is unusual is that we are the only group that has taken the initiative to hold such a meeting. Any individual or group can invite town officials to speak at any location.

    We will release a regular SOS Update on Friday with an overview of the issues on the ballot on April 7.

    The following lays out the truth about our volunteer meeting and the domain name issue.
    What was our motivation for holding this volunteer meeting?
    Plain and simple, a desire to get accurate information out to SOS volunteers about the most pressing issues facing Wayland today. Because we want to get the facts, we ask the people most connected to the issue.
    How did we get the speakers to attend?
    Just as anyone can invite public officials to speak one-on-one or at any group meeting, we contacted the chairs of relevant boards well in advance and asked if they or someone on their board would speak at our meeting. (A summary of their comments was issued in our March 5 Update, available on our website).

    Who was invited?
    A large number of active SOS volunteers were invited. Our volunteers represent a wide spectrum of Waylanders who do not agree on all issues nor on all candidates, but who come together in common cause based on the mission and ideals of our organization. Due to the overwhelming response to attend our meeting, we sent subsequent emails stating that, due to space constraints, only those people who had RSVP'd could attend.
    Was Alan Reiss invited?
    No. Mr. Reiss, a candidate for Board of Selectmen, has not been an SOS volunteer.
    Did Alan Reiss attempt to invite himself?
    Yes. Someone forwarded our email invitation to Mr. Reiss. He asked if he could attend. We politely told him that due to space constraints, only active SOS volunteers were invited.
    Was our volunteer meeting legal?
    Absolutely. We have been so advised by multiple lawyers who work regularly with the Open Meeting Law. In fact, anyone can organize a similar event. If someone does host a meeting like this and we are not invited, we assure you that we will not attempt to invite ourselves, we will not show up unannounced, and we won't gripe about it.

    On Wednesday, February 25th, the day after the volunteer meeting, it was brought to our attention that a URL, www.soswayland.com, was being circulated around town via email. Since this URL was remarkably similar to our SOS URL, www.soswayland.org, we were naturally curious. When we, and many other people, clicked on the link, it brought us to a video posted on YouTube. The video included negative comments about our meeting and, at the end, specified its copyright by Alan J. Reiss.
    You can imagine our consternation, and that of many SOS volunteers, that someone had not only registered a domain name that could only be construed as designed to confuse people with ours, but also used it to link to a video that negatively portrays SOS. A basic search on the internet determined that the domain ownership was privately listed, which means that the owner could not be identified. As you may recall, we issued an SOS Alert on February 26, as we felt compelled to protect our name. Most importantly, we wanted the owner of the domain name to transfer the name to us to ensure against future abuse.
    No one contacted us to transfer the domain name registration to our organization. However, we learned about a publicly available resource: www.domaintools.com. By registering for a free trial, anyone can use this site to track the history of the ownership of any domain name. According to publicly available records on domaintools.com:

    (a) in September, 2008, Jeffrey Baron of Woodridge Road, Wayland, MA, registered the domain name "soswayland.com", and

    (b) in February, 2009, on approximately the same date that this URL was circulated linking to Mr. Reiss' video, the owner, Jeffrey Baron, or someone privy to his user name and password, switched this domain from public to privately listed.


    Why would anyone register a domain name that is virtually indistinguishable from ours?
    In our opinion, such purpose is unmistakably clear, and it was certainly not done to promote our organization's mission.

    We take great pride that SOS has always traveled the high road over the years, sticking to the issues. With this letter, our intention is to set the record straight and move on to the important issues facing our community. Some people may disagree with us on the issues - but the facts stated here are indisputable.

    We are proud of the work that SOS does and what we have accomplished over the years. We are honored to work with amazing people of all ages and political viewpoints in our town. We stick with the facts, we express our views on the issues, and we encourage people to participate in town government to make positive change.

    Wayland has a rare opportunity to secure state funding for the High School design and schematic at the polls on April 7th, and to invest in critical emergency medical equipment and the Assessor's Full List and Measure, among other items - all without increasing our property taxes. That is what we, as a town, should focus on together. We hope we can all rise above the division and distraction purveyed by certain parties in Wayland, for whom the end of securing elected office appears to justify even the most cynical means.

    Respectfully,
    Lori Frieling, Cynthia Lavenson, Claire Sehringer and Lisa Valone
    Save Our Services Co-Chairs


    Save Our Services (SOS) Wayland is a grassroots organization that continues its efforts to preserve Wayland's services and quality of life in a fiscally responsible manner.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    117

    Default Messageboard under Town Crier Article

    The editor of the Crier seems to have shut down the message board under the article on the SOS website. Does anyone know why?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default www.soswayland.com ownership

    To continue with setting the record straight, the data record below (the first of five) is taken directly from the publicly available domain search at www.domaintools.com regarding ownership of the site www.soswayland.com. This is confusingly similar to the site for SOS (Save our Services) which is www.soswayland.org. The most recent record, Feb 26, 2009 shows the registrant changing the ownership from public to private. This is the same day the Reiss video was put onto the site.
    Everyone can draw their own conclusions, but the registration facts are clear.
    ______________________
    Main Content

    Soswayland.com on 2008-09-13 - Domain History


    Next
    Domain: soswayland.com - Domain History
    Cache Date: 2008-09-13
    Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
    Registrant Search: Click on an email address we found in this whois record
    to see which other domains the registrant is associated with:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Registrant:
    Jeffrey Baron
    [Address deleted at the request of Mr. Baron]
    Wayland, Massachusetts 01778
    United States

    Domain Name: SOSWAYLAND.COM
    Created on: 11-Sep-08
    Expires on: 11-Sep-09
    Last Updated on: 11-Sep-08

    Administrative Contact:
    Baron, Jeffrey jeffrey.s.baron@gmail.com
    [Address deleted at the request of Mr. Baron]
    Wayland, Massachusetts 01778
    United States
    [Phone number deleted at the request of Mr. Baron] Fax --

    Technical Contact:
    Baron, Jeffrey jeffrey.s.baron@gmail.com
    [Address deleted at the request of Mr. Baron]
    Wayland, Massachusetts 01778
    United States
    [Phone number deleted at the request of Mr. Baron] Fax --

    Domain servers in listed order:
    NS29.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
    NS30.DOMAINCONTROL.COM


    [moderator's note: Ms. Scheidemantel's post included a copy/paste from a publicly available database which contained phone and address information for Mr. Baron that would have been easily retrievable by automated programs seeking such details; at Mr. Baron's request we have deleted this information, but to maintain the completeness of the post, we have attached a graphic which shows some of the deleted content]
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 03-25-2009 at 11:41 AM. Reason: phone and address information deleted at the request of Mr. Baron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    96

    Default disturbing, indeed

    On March 19, the Town Crier published an article about the registration of a domain (www.soswayland.com) by Jeff Baron, candidate for School Committee, that virtually duplicates the SOS domain (www.soswayland.org).

    From the Town Crier article and independent research, we know four hard facts:

    (1) Mr. Baron created the duplicate registration.
    (2) Mr. Baron linked (or allowed someone else to whom he'd given his password to link) Alan Reiss's copyrighted video about the SOS meeting on his duplicate domain.
    (3) On the same date that the address for Mr. Baron's duplicate domain was circulated linking to Mr. Reiss's video, Mr Baron (or the "someone") changed his domain's public listing to private, thus making it harder for Mr. Baron to be identified with the domain that he had registered.
    (4) In the Town Crier article, Mr. Baron did not deny or explain his actions, instead making the weak and self-serving claim "'I've done nothing wrong".

    This is a very disturbing matter, particularly since Mr. Baron is a candidate for School Committee, one of the highest elected offices in Wayland. His registering the duplicate domain may have been nothing more than mischievous, but its use to mislead someone who visited it into thinking that that they were visiting the authentic SOS domain is, in my opinion, duplicity. The removal of the public listing of Mr. Baron's name as the duplicate domain's owner raises the question of an attempted cover-up.

    I had hoped that Mr. Baron would be asked about this matter at last night's LWV "Candidates' Night", but although there were numerous written questions on this topic, none of them were asked, and Mr. Baron did not address the matter. Perhaps Mr. Baron has a benign and credible explanation for these actions. If so, he should give it: Wayland voters deserve more than Mr. Baron's own self-serving assurance that he's "done nothing wrong". If he doesn't provide such an explanation, then Wayland voters can draw their own conclusion about Mr. Baron's suitability for elected office.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    96

    Default

    I just saw in the online version of the "Wayland Town Crier" a letter from Jeff Baron that addresses the SOS-like domain that he registered. Mr. Baron's explanation is as follows:

    "Let me set the record straight regarding domain names. I certainly never sat down with any intent to register the name and did not do so maliciously. Like most things, there is more to the story than what appears in a short newspaper article. In regards to a name for a group of concerned Wayland citizens who were seeking with me to organize and protect our schools, a search using words such as "supporting schools," "save our schools" and "Wayland" produced an automated list of available domain names. As one of several potential domain names for the group, I bought it for $9. I had the domain name for months, never formed the group and, thus, never posted any content to its site. When SOS called me a couple of weeks before their public campaign to ask me if I’d registered it, I truthfully told the caller that I had and why."

    Mr. Baron has thus provided a benign explanation for his original action. Is it credible? Readers can judge for themselves.

    However, Mr. Baron has still not addressed, much less explained, the linking of Alan Reiss's video to his (Mr. Baron's) SOS-like domain or the de-listing of his name as the domain's owner from public to private at the same time that the video was posted. Mr. Baron?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    My response to Mr. Baron's horrid guest column is here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default What if our kids did this?

    My main point:
    I am concerned about a candidate for SC who could be put in the position of making confidential and critical decisions regarding the education of our kids.
    I wonder if Mr. Baron realizes that what he did would send a Wayland High School student to the Principal's Office. Hypothetically, if a student were to register a domain name similar to WSPN and distributed it linking to a spoof site, depending on the nature of the spoof, that student could face suspension! And I don't think "I did nothing wrong" would be the response I would encourage.

    Some feel that because it was legal for him to do so, that it's no big deal. Maybe not, but I think it shows alot about his decision making and how he reacts when someone questions him. He pushes for transparency, but does he practice it?


    My thought process on this situation:
    From the time that I started this thread, I have been trying to understand why Mr. Baron had ignored requests to explain what he had done. I wondered if he might say that in retrospect it probably wasn't such an appropriate action.

    I am shocked at his explanations. He did "a search using words such as "supporting schools," "save our schools" and "Wayland" produced an automated list of available domain names. As one of several potential domain names for the group, I bought it for $9"?

    It just keeps getting worse- Now it sounds like he didn't pay attention and somehow did not connect that he purchased soswayland.com (vs. soswayland.org)?

    So, if that is the case...then maybe he is someone who recklessly and without proper attention purchased a questionable domain. Then months later, on the same date that Reiss's video was PUT on the site and circulated virally, Mr. Baron paid a third party proxy to cover his personal information as registrant. Why would he do that? On that very day? Maybe he realized he had made a bad decision? Could he have answered SOS's public request for transfer of the domain name? It seems like he waited until they took the high road and contacted him directly to confirm the claim. They fact checked directly with him. Maybe Mr. Baron could have given an explanation for this other than he "did nothing wrong"?

    If Mr. Baron really feels there was "nothing wrong", then why does he seem so dismissive and defensive when questioned--he is running for office, doesn't he want to reassure the voters of the courage of his convictions?

    This is not smear or dirty politics, I am just a voter trying to understand what I am hearing about a candidates decisions and actions.
    Last edited by TracyScheidemantel; 03-27-2009 at 10:21 AM. Reason: spelling! and reworded some run on sentences.

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