Who is Joe Publius?

Borderline and 49 other people -- most of them current residents of Newton who are involved in or follow the local political scene -- have received a series of emails from someone calling himself "Joe Publius." The emails, and the website they directs us to, are dedicated to questioning the use of CPA funds for the Newton South Astroturf project.

Here's the text of the first message, which Borderline received on November 10:
Hello. On June 21, 2006 the Community Preservation Committee voted 7-2 to recommend to CPA funding for the Newton South synthetic turf improvement project.

Now the Board of Aldermen is being asked to okay CPA money to pay for something that is essentially a School Department proposal.

Says who? Check out the clips from the CPC meeting – statements by the committee members Mr. McMillan and Mr. Dickson on www.joepublius.com.

Here attached is a clip from www.joepublius.com. Enjoy!

For more on this and other insights go to www.joepublius.com.

Feel free to share this e-mail with the grassroots growing near you.
The second installment came on Nov. 12, and followed the same format, referring us to the clips he had gathered (see sample), apparently by pointing a digital videocamera at a television screen, which was showing the CPA/Astroturf debate.

By now people on the email list were beginning to notice, and someone fired this message off to all recipients, including Borderline:
I asked privately and now I ask publicly: I would like to know who is behind Joe Publius. You have answered that you don't want to "distract" the reader's ability to get the facts by knowing who is putting up the web site. However, you have provided parts of people's conversations from a variety of meetings. These bits and pieces can be edited and put back together in ways which support or not. Unless you are willing to say who you are - I for one find that fact a huge distraction to the believability of the material you present.
This email prompted a reply from Jeff Seideman (also on the list of 50), who agreed that the anonymity was distracting, but noted that the clips seemed legit and also presented the community preservation committee in a new light.

So who is Joe Publius? Stay tuned ...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what I don't get. You call people to task for not identifying themselves, but you don't identify yourself either.

I think you do some great writing, but I wish you'd sign your name.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Borderline said...

Actually, I didn't call Joe to task for being anonymous. Someone else did that, the person who responded to Joe's email message. I merely asked who this person is, and pointed out that this unusual debate is taking place.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Borderline said...

Thanks for the compliment, too. But there's no way this blog would exist if I couldn't be anonymous. It allows me a freedom to write about what I want, and say what I think.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Borderline said...

Cats out of the bag! Joe Publius, or Joe's "managing editor", is Guive Mirfendereski. He sent an email to the mailing list on Nov. 24, and also updated the joepublius.com website to reflect this.

Borderline interviewed Guive for "Newton's CPA Astroturf scandal: Interview with Guive Mirfendereski" at beginning of this year, a follow-up may be in the works. Stay tuned ...

9:45 PM  

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