Wow, some people...
In February of 2007 I started this blog, Bike Cobb, to document and archive information on the Cobb Commissions actions on the Columns Drive ordinance. At the time I was involved with other cyclists fighting this, attending commission meetings and spreading the word. Many people were involved and we won a partial victory and a partial loss- as a single file ordinance that is unenforceable by state law was passed. I immediately advocated trying to primary the commissioners supporting and voting for this- which was all of them, including Joe Thompson who introduced and championed the ordinance as well as Sam Olens the chairman.
Last night we primaried Joe Thompson and gave him more time to spend with his family, as Bob Ott won the Republican runoff for the District 3 Commission seat. This is great for cyclists. We have a voice and should use it. Annette Kesting who voted for the ordinance was defeated in her primary runoff, but that had more to do with shooting herself in the foot than it did with any cyclist.
So back to the past. A year after I started this blog and spent a lot of time fighting the Columns issue, I get an email to the Bike Cobb email address from Joe Seconder. It reads:
are you available to chat?
I've started www.bikecobb.org
Now I am thinking, this guy just sent an email to Bike Cobb, surely he is not stupid enough to name his advocacy group "Bike Cobb." He knows this blog exists, is named Bike Cobb, existed a year prior to this, and the efforts made to fight the Columns ordinance? I really did not give it a thought. Well, he was stupid enough, as I realized a few months later. At the time, I decided not to make any decision on it yet.
Well, during the last month of primaries, many people were posting on various triathlon yahoo groups, cycling yahoo groups and Joe's little yahoo group "Cobb Cycling," which he at least did not name Bike Cobb. As it turns out, Joe Seconder will delete your posts if he does not like the content. I posted about how Kesting and Thompson were outed, but Sam Olens wasn't and added that he was probably untouchable. Joe posted back how much he liked Olens and thought he was "open-minded in working with progressive ideas." This is the Sam Olens that voted yeah on the Columns ordinance. (And at the same time pushed through an ordinance that still allowed private and commercial burning in residential areas.) I thought that was odd, but remember Joe also posts on his bike advocacy about the Columns issue: "I Wasn't Around. Single Focus Effort. In the Past." He does not seem to concerned about it. I posted back that Sam is not concerned with cycling or cyclists, and I did not think he was progressive. I cannot give you the post verbatim, because the post was deleted by Joe. He also deleted another post:
Woody Thompson defeated Annette Kesting in the District 4 Commission seat Democratic primary. He may not be a cyclist supporter.
During the Columns fiasco at a commission meeting, I talked with Paul McNulty, president of one of the townhouse associations on Columns. He was one of the people speaking for the anti-cycling ordinance. Even back then he spoke about how Woody Thompson was going to challenge Kesting for the District 4 seat, maybe changing parties to do so. He said he was friends with him and seemed to be a big supporter. So Woody may not be our friend.
Hopefully Woody will stay away from anything anti-cycling, but I doubt he is somebody we can count on. Like Joe Thompson, he seems to be from the old boys club in Cobb County. He does have to face Republican candidate Barbara Hickey in the general. This may be another race cyclists may want to get and give feedback on.
He sent me back an email, which I assume covers both posts, which read:
I don't mind some personal opinions on this message board, but let's keep the banter to a minimum.
I've met with Sam. He's the chairman and I'm not going to get into the negative speech here. Feel free to keep the negative stuff to your old message board, please.
This is the message board he named "Cobb Cycling - Bike Cobb," the same name my blog was named a year prior. (BTW- I am opening a new store to sell all kinds of stuff. It is called Target!)
So what do you do? I hate to see somebody running a group using a name I originally used for a blog a year prior, who seems to have an agenda other than cycling issues? I hate to see that person using that name censor a group's posts because they do not match his beliefs or opinions. If somebody is going to have a non-profit for cyclists, opinions should at least be open for discussion. Kingdoms usually suck. Kingdoms with stupid and tyrannical kings suck more.
In any case, I am glad for the change at the commission. Two of the five commissioners who voted for the Columns Ordinance are gone. We have a shot at replacing two more in two year. Cyclists have a little muscle to flex now.
Well Joe Seconder decided to post his version of events leading up to his use of a name for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County that was already being used:
I'd like to set the record straight and provide full disclosure on a situation that has arisen.
I originally moved to Cobb County in 1984. I left the Atlanta area in 2001 and lived in Europe until the end of 2006. When I was in Europe, I regained my love of bicycling. Instead of just talking between friends about how the bicycling scene is inadequate in the Atlanta area, I wanted to get some advocacy initiatives started. I was really impressed with BikeRoswell, and how they collaborate with their elected representatives and government officials. I felt it was all about networking and getting a broad-based coalition going for the long haul.
I wanted to find a Cobb County version of the BikeRoswell group and get involved. I came across the bikecobb.blogspot.com in January. I saw there hadn't been a posting since September, 2007. On the homepage, there is an owner email account, so I sent an email. It went unanswered so I started the Yahoo group. Then I registered a couple of Websites (at my own expense). Then, between a few initial folks, it was mutually agreed upon that the name "BikeCobb" would be most appropriate. So we stuck with that, and used www.bikecobb.org. On June 2nd, the bikecobb.blogspot owner requested to join this Yahoo group and was approved. This was the first communication the group had with this person, and there was never any discussions regarding infringement, names, etc.
To make a long story short, I believe in life that "you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar".
Today, on the BikeCobb blog, the owner has posted a VERY shortened version of my original email from January. He also posted another personal I sent directly to him. This blog owner then emailed me today with what I consider inappropriate language between fellow bicycle advocates. I will not share his message publicly.
FYI, below is my full UNEDITED email I sent (unanswered) to the owner of the bikecobb blog.
You can read that here.
First off, full disclosure means telling you what he wants you to know. He does not mention deleting posts with opinions on candidates or elected officials he does not agree with. Two of my posts and at least one other were deleted. There was nothing profane, actionable or in bad taste in any of these. Somebody else called Kesting a slob, but that was the worst, and I don't think anybody would disagree with that.
Second, the email I posted from him was verbatim. I received it in March. The one he posted was received in January, which just illustrates that he decided to name his website for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County, GA, in February, "Bike Cobb" knowing another website using the same name for bicycle advocacy in Cobb County already existed. Not real smart. Just because I receive emails for coffee and talk does not mean I have to accept or even respond. I certainly do not give up any rights by doing neither.
My not posting while nothing newsworthy was going on certainly does not release any rights or the name of my website. I have no obligation to post a certain number of items a month. The website stayed active and did have traffic, including Joe Seconder. For him to choose to use that name knowing somebody else was using it for the same purpose in the same county and state was just poor judgment.
As far as "inappropriate language?" I called him a dick for deleting posts and I said he was an idiot for thinking Olens was "progressive." Believe me, for my general manner of speaking, that was mild. I am all about inappropriate language!
I asked to join "Cobb Cycling" on Yahoo groups as he said to post information on elections and to read what was going on with "Bike Cobb." I had still not decided how to pursue the matter, or if I wanted to. After seeing how Joe was deleting posts that did not jive with his opinion, I decided that it would be better to demand Joe change the name of his advocacy group so it did not reflect upon my blog and efforts. I have notified him of my intent and will send an official cease and desist letter shortly. Seeing how inexpensively he can change the name and domain, keeping the old domain to redirect to the new one, I hope he takes this avenue to avoid any litigation. Surely he accepted this risk when he chose tho use a name already in use.
It is sad that this has all happened on a day when we should be celebrating a victory, but Joe assumed this risk by using a name already in use and deleting people's posts that he did not agree with. I am not going to shirk away from my rights on any day, however.