Monday, April 21, 2008
Drive-by Webbings are the latest example of the potential violence of the internet. Post a blog and feel free to say anything about anyone you want with no practically little to no accountability. While most web postings can be downright funny - such as the T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. PROJECT (www.twinkiesproject.com), others can incite nonsensical responses.
The First Shot
This series of Drive-By Webbings started when a group dedicated to keeping Dominic Caserta from winning in his bid for the Assembly posted a website, "NotCaserta.org". I'll skip repeating here what they've said - you can read it on your own at your leisure.
Taking even a brief gander at the site, it's obvious the folks behind it are pretty steamed about Caserta's record during the previous election cycle concerning the BAREC property (www.SaveBAREC.org).
The Caserta camp appears to have tried to distance themselves by not actually responding themselves, but instead leaving that to Caserta's Campaign Consultant, James Rowen. As of today, Rowen has received $1,850 for his services.
Their Money's Worth?
Rowen would never be described as a slouch. To date, Rowen has produced fourteen (14) posts on his blog, missioncitylantern.blogspot.com with "NotCaserta" (more or less as the subject). More or less because at least two (2) of the posts have Caserta's name spelled incorrectly - as "Casera" or "Casrrta".
Maybe it'd have been best to let a sleeping dog lie. It's difficult to say how much publicity the website was getting before - after all, I didn't know about it - but now, it's getting a lot more attention. Not because there are any fascinating, stellar, must-read arguments there, but because Mr. Rowen did his job as Campaign Consultant, perhaps a little too well. Already steamed with Caserta's history, the NotCaserta folks became even more rankled when the first website they ran, "NotCaserta.com" was shutdown through Mr. Rowen's actions.
Freedom of Speech Issue?
The NotCaserta.org camp claims their rights to Freedom of Speech were trampled directly by Rowen and indirectly by Caserta who hired him in the first place.
There's really two issues here. Freedom of Speech and Legal Intimidation.
First, the Freedom of Speech issue. I ran the facts past a few lawyers along with the questions, "Is it a violation of their 1st Amendment rights to have their website - that they're paying for - closed by threatening emails?" The lawyer's response, "Quick answer, no. The First Amendment restricts only governental actions ('Congress shall make no law . . . ') That's why private businesses like shopping malls can bar protests [and] rallies on their property."
So, the claim of having their First Amendment Rights violated doesn't seem to hold much water.
Second, the threats of legal action. Rowen has several posts on his blog - missioncitylantern.blogspot.com - along with what's available on NotCaserta.org - that show the arguments made. From NotCaserta.org, we have two (2) parts of emails from Rowen - "Dominic - It is a federal crime... I am advising the authorities in the USA." and "....Get a lawyer..... Who are the people that registered this website with you."
Both pretty impressive looking emails, but both pretty laughable. Unfortunately, the NotCaserta.com website was shutdown because the web hosting company was intimidated - at least that's what NotCaserta.org says.
Racheting It Up
Having had their first website shut down, the people behind the NotCaserta effort opened a new website hosted by a different company and NotCaserta.org was born. Not having seen the content of NotCaserta.com, I can only conjecture that the content was much the same, minus of course, the news about the first website being shutdown.
I can also assume similar threats have either been made or will be made, but presumably, the new hosting company either has not or will not be intimidated - unless I assume, they're accompanied by "I've got a Court Order" - something I doubt will happen.
Up next: Strange Bedfellows, Love/Hate Relationships and Endorsements.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Rumors have swirled for the last several weeks about the ongoing negotiations between the San Francisco 49ers and the City of Santa Clara. Initial rumors were too wild to publish but recent revelations have been substantiated by anonymous sources close to the negotiations who are not authorized to speak for either party. Given the significance of these rumors, it is imprudent to not report on these events.
It is expected the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara will hold a joint press conference in the coming weeks to announce the signing of an agreement that would have the 49ers purchase a portion of the North of Bayshore Area to help secure and ensure a stadium gets built. Initial rumors that circulated for several weeks, had the 49ers buying the entire City for an undisclosed amount, rumored to be nearly $1 billion, but those rumors proved to be false.
A source close to the negotiations has reported to the Santa Clara Weekly, the 49ers and the City are close to announcing an agreement rumored to be nearly $600 million. The area involved in the negotiations is bordered by Great America to Lafayette Street and Tasman Drive and Mission College/Agnew Road. Part of the agreement will have the City still paying $75 million for their portion of the stadium (rumored to have been negotiated down from the original $136 million) but that has been negotiated into the price which is rumored to be close to $700 million before the stadium subsidy is taken into account.
The Players in the Deal
The 49ers and City officials refused to comment on the rumors but a source close to the 49ers who is not authorized to speak indicated the 49ers “are excited at the prospect of getting even more involved in such a thriving community. The North of Bayshore Area is, of course, the area where we’re already in discussions with the City and this just seemed to be a good way to move the process along. ” The 49ers have already indicated to Cedar Fair their intention to fully support Cedar Fair and any businesses that wish to object to any changes Cedar Fair wants to do will face having their leases either revoked or rewritten at substantially higher rents.” The fact the City does not currently own the land is not seen as a stumbling block as the City is expected to use the process of eminent domain to obtain the rights to the land under the various industrial parks. While it is possible some companies might choose to move if faced with higher rents, we feel the existing lower rates, lower utility costs and discounted tickets will be enough of a perk to keep companies there.”
No one at Cedar Fair was willing to go on the record, but Cedar Fair would still operate the theme park with rental revenues now going to the 49ers instead of the City. A person close to the negotiations for Cedar Fair who is not authorized to speak for the organization reported “Cedar Fair is excited about working with the 49ers. We assume under their leadership we’ll be able to get our new rollercoaster height approved, something we have not been able to do under the City’s tutelage. We’re already planning lots of 49ers themed items – a 49ers Hall of Fame where we hope to have 49er greats past and present on hand when it’s officially announced; 49ers themed foods including a ‘Gold Rush’ series of health foods such as smoothies, tofurkey and low-cal garlic fries.”
The City is also expected to announce a partnership between the City-owned utility, Silicon Valley Power, and the 49ers. While a name hasn’t been announced, rumors of the Silicon Valley Power Gold Rush persist in homage to the Power Company and the 49ers Gold Rush. “The Gold Rush Cheerleaders evoke so much energy among our fans that we think people will immediately see and appreciate the combined efforts. Gold Rush that are not busy with other duties are expected to work in the offices and on the customer service lines. “The Gold Rush are the face of the 49ers in the public and we expect people will be thrilled to be waited on by them when they contact the power company either on the phone or in person.”
This is a breaking news story – as news reveals itself, please return to this page for further updates.