CECIL CHATTER: Name Games; Patriot’s “Recommendations” in Cecil County Council Races
Dirty Web Trick Targets Diana Broomell in County Exec Race
While searching around the Web, we came across a website that misappropriates the name of Cecil County Commissioner Diana Broomell (R-4), who is running in the Republican primary for Cecil County executive, and links her name to a Wikipedia definition of “obstructionism.”
It’s not the first time that some name games have been played with web domain addresses in local politics. (A few years ago, another local blog outed a “Sossi for Senate” domain name registry that showed Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36) had registered the site name, apparently aimed at pre-empting its possible use for a potential run for state Senate by former Del. Dick Sossi.)
But this time, someone actually created a misleading website, after the domain was registered anonymously through a private registry service on 2/11/12, according to the “Whois” directory of Internet addresses.
The website, www.dianabroomell.com links to a Wikipedia page that defines and discusses “obstructionism” and offers examples, such as “workplace aggression” that is “intended to hinder an employee from performing their job or the organization from accomplishing its objectives.” The page goes on to define obstructionism “in politics” as “the deliberate interference with the progress of legislation by various means…”
In the long and sorry pantheon of Cecil County dirty politics, it’s not the worst offense, but it is one of the first of the current campaign season. And, unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last.
But the digital “theft” of a candidate’s full name is particularly odious, and should be subject to removal if the real candidate sought legal action or filed a complaint with the domain registry.
Broomell told Cecil Times Monday that she had been made aware of the phony website recently and has begun steps to deal with it. She said the county’s IT director had offered to contact the GoDaddy website agency, through which the phony address was created, as he would for any County Commissioner whose identity had been misappropriated in cyberspace. She said she would write a letter, on her official letterhead, to be forwarded to the registry, informing them of the mis-use of her name.
Broomell was more dismayed than angry about it, saying that it just “showed the opposition for what it is, and it shows where the struggle is coming from.”
“You can get bogged down in fighting something you really can’t address but I think it’s better to focus your efforts in a more productive manner,” Broomell said.
She said it was “ironic” that the word “obstructionism” was highlighted, since that is the word she has used against some of her fellow County Commissioners who have opposed her efforts to revise the county ethics code and zoning rules governing drug treatment clinics.
Broomell said she did not plan to create a website for her County Executive campaign but would soon be creating a designated Facebook page to promote her campaign.
[UPDATE: Shortly after our article was posted online, the bogus website was disabled. In addition, the domain registry was modified on 2/28/12. The domain name was the same used by Broomell in her past campaign for county commissioner but she had let it expire, thus opening the door for someone else to acquire it.]
[UPDATE UPDATE: In March, Broomell got control of her digital name and claimed ownership of the web address, and is now using it to re-direct visitors to a Blogspot blog on which she is promoting her campaign.]
# # #
Cecil County Patriots “Recommend” Hodge, McCarthy for County Council
The Cecil County Patriots, the local “tea party” organization that has become a vocal and influential force in local political discussions, announced Monday that its steering committee “recommends” two candidates—Robert Hodge and Dr. Alan McCarthy—in the Republican primary for County Council seats.
The Patriots’ statement includes pictures of the two preferred candidates and asks voters to “stand up for the candidates who will stand up for you.”
Hodge, an incumbent County Commissioner, is running for the new County Council seat in District 5 under the new Charter form of government that will be put in place after the 2012 election. McCarthy, a veterinarian from Chesapeake City, is challenging incumbent Commissioner James Mullin in District 1 in the GOP primary.
County Commissioner/Council members must reside in their local districts but they run countywide and residents of all areas of the county are able to vote for all candidates.
The Patriots’ group held non-partisan candidate forums in the 2010 election season and is sponsoring question and answer sessions for candidates this year. The group has held a County Council candidates’ forum and will hold a session for County Executive candidates this week, on Thursday, at 7 p.m. at the county administration building on Chesapeake Blvd. in Elkton.
In the 2010 election season, the Patriots declined to endorse specific candidates and the decision to “recommend” some candidates this year is a change in direction.
Jackie Gregory, a member of the Patriots’ steering committee, told Cecil Times that the organization was “new” to local politics in the last election and wanted to learn more and become more involved in local meetings and issues before siding with individual candidates.
But now members of the group routinely attend County Commissioner worksessions and meetings and they have seen the “adverse effects” of some current elected officials’ actions.
“We’ve decided there is a need to identify candidates who have experience and support our fiscal priorities,” she said. Those priorities include limited government, lower taxes and openness in county government operations.
Gregory said the group has not yet decided if it will “recommend” any candidates for county executive.