Update: Citizen group files complaint concerning “defamatory” counter site
A local group that says it formed to “end voter apathy” is claiming it has been impersonated and defamed by unknown detractors who have compared their efforts to an anti-government political movement.
The “Get out and Vote: Take Back the Cape” Facebook group released information this week that contained a link to a website created through GoDaddy.com, which states that the group is made up of union employees who are, in actuality a “shadow government” running the City of Cape Coral.
The website – which uses takebackthecape as its domain name – says that public employees and private special interest groups, including “Local Unions of Painters and Allied Trades, Industrial & Public Employees Local 2301, Police FOP Lodge 33 & Professional Firefighters Local 2424, with MWH and KBR, the Old “Civic” Guard”, are attempting to “overthrow the City Council.”
The website also claims these groups are “preparing for an all out war against the City Administration”, and compares their efforts via Facebook and online forums and comments to “organized mob racketeering”.
Eileyn Sobeck-Bador, along with Kirsten Thompson, began the original Take Back the Cape group and Facebook page which now has more than 1,000 “fans.”
Sobeck-Bador said Thursday that a complaint has been filed with GoDaddy.com, but it’s still unknown who put the counter website together.
Sobeck-Bador and Thompson sent the informational release and link to the website to all of the city’s top administration but have not received any reply, according to Sobeck-Bador.
Sobeck-Bador said she and Thompson are deciding whether to seek a subpeona that would require the release of the name of the person in whose name the counter site is registered on the domain.
She said she feels threatened by the website, which includes the Take Back the Cape logo along with scenes of violence and protest.
She added that she does not feel as if her life is in danger, but she is “not taking it very lightly”.
“I feel very sad, that we would be under attack wanting to encourage people to get to the polls and vote,” she said.
Sobeck-Bador said the original Facebook page was started to get more Cape Coral citizens to vote and that it does not represent any “special interests.”
The last municipal election saw fewer than 18 percent of the registered voters cast ballots.
Councilmember Pete Brandt used the term “shadow government” to describe the Take Back the Cape Facebook group duing his townhall meeting on Feb. 19.
Brandt said he doesn’t agree, specifically, with the statements written on the anti-facebook site.
“It looks to me we’re talking about the same thing, but they’re making a lot of statements I cannot subscribe to,” Brandt said. “We’re talking about the same situation but they’re saying a lot of things I cannot accept or subscribe to.”
Cape Coral Professional Firefighters Union President Mark Muerth said he has not seen the website personally, but thought its message was “ridiculous.”
“I am by no means planning to overthrow the Cape Coral government,” Muerth said. “If the people who put it together are taking this seriously, they have some serious issues. Whoever put it together … they need to seek help.”