Citizen group to take legal steps to seek domain holder
“Get out and Vote – Take Back the Cape” co-founder Eileyn Sobeck-Bador said Friday she will seek legal action to reveal the registered domain user’s name of a website that accuses her and others of trying to “overthrow” the city government, if those names aren’t revealed through a complaint process filed through Domains by Proxy.
Domains by Proxy offers domain privacy through sites such as GoDaddy.com, where a website called takebackthecape.com was hosted, stating public employees and private citizens are in league against the current city administration.
Sobeck-Bador said Get out and Vote – Take Back the Cape was formed to end voter apathy, and this new website has impersonated and defamed their attempts by comparing them to an anti-government political movement.
Sobeck-Bador said Domains by Proxy should either reveal or deny their request by early next week.
She added her web-related efforts have always been public, while the makers of the other site are hiding.
“We’re out in the open, we haven’t hidden our identity. I question the integrity of an individual that’s trying to hide,” Sobeck-Bador said.
The “Get out and Vote: Take Back the Cape” Facebook group released information this week that contained a link to the counter website created through GoDaddy.com, which states that the original 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 “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.”
Sobeck-Bador began the original Take Back the Cape group and Facebook page, which now has more than 1,000 “fans,” with Kirsten Thompson.
The two 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.
She said she feels threatened by the new website, which includes the Take Back the Cape logo along with scenes of violence and protest.
Sobeck-Bador said 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, adding her site 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 during his townhall meeting on Feb. 19.
Brandt said he doesn’t agree, specifically, with the statements written on the anti-facebook counter 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.”
General Employee union President Wally Ilczyszyn said Friday he thought the counter website was comical, and said the makers clearly didn’t understand the collective bargaining process.
The General Employee’s bargaining unit recently negotiated a 3 percent pay reduction and a 2 percent increase in pension contributions, a move the website says “bought them time to launch their aggressive election campaigns”.
Ilczyszyn said the reduction in pay and increase in pension contributions remains the same even though the contract expires Sept. 30.
“Whoever wrote that doesn’t understand the process of collective bargaining,” he said. “The loss in pay and the added contribution stays with us forever until we go back and re-negotiate.”
Critics, many of them supporters of the current council majority, have said that Sobeck-Bador’s and Thompson’s efforts are not intended to inspire voter participation, but instead insult and shame sitting council members and the city manager.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion of her efforts, she said, but in the end, the original Take Back the Cape Facebook page just wants to encourage more than 18 percent of the Cape’s population to cast a ballot.
If Domains by Proxy fails to reveal the domain user’s name, legal recourse will be the next step, Sobeck-Bador said.
“We’ll do whatever we legally can,” she said.