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.