September 17, 2013
City’s cybersquatting is wrong on all levels
The city of Issaquah spent tax dollars to trick taxpayers.
Just let that sink in for a minute.
Issaquah and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District have been involved in a series of disagreements of late. One of the more recent involved Issaquah’s plan to use a water filtration system a few hundred feet from one of the district’s wells. Issaquah says it will be fine; the district fears contaminated water.
The water district set up a website telling its side of the story and Issaquah set up something similar. Then, the city of Issaquah went a step further. The city bought a website name similar to the district’s — just a few keystrokes off. Now, people who thought they were going to explore the water district’s take on the issue were routed to Issaquah’s site and its viewpoint.
The practice is called cybersquatting. It’s become routine in business and political campaigns.
In this case, Issaquah used taxpayers’ money to do it. Seeing this happen once begs the question of how many times the city has engaged in similar deceptive activities. The administration has severely damaged its credibility, as well as that of the city.
How is it that anyone at the city could have thought this was OK?
Now Issaquah looks like it’s the one trying to hide something. Now it looks like the city is afraid someone might consider the water district’s point of view makes sense. Did Issaquah leaders fear it couldn’t be successful on the merits of its plan, so it had to cheat?
The speed with which the administration ended the program after the water district discovered the trickery only re-enforces how the city knew that what it was doing was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The administration has failed the people. The City Council needs to demand answers and hold involved administrators and staff members accountable for their actions.
It’s the first step toward a more ethical city government — the one we thought we had.