Robert Marino and Matthew Parker have egg on their snouts!
NYC DOG PETITION FULL OF DUPLICATE NAMES!!!
In summary, NYC DOG is guilty of:
• Making false accusations that JPCA was responsible for rigging our own online petition.
• Attempting to defame and discredit JPCA because we are opposed to off-leash policies.
• Submitting their own petitions which are not credible due to duplicate signatures, lack of compliance with stated controls and encouraged manipulation.
• Using false statistics and encouraging the manipulation of online polls to create the illusion of popular support for off-leash policies.
The following excerpt from NYC DOG's press release alleged that someone with the password to JPCA's website had uploaded names from an excel file to JPCA's online petition:
"Instead of people actually signing on to the petition web site to type in their name, someone who had username and password access to the JPCA online website was uploading Excel Spreadsheet databases of names."
...the company confirmed that rather than individuals signing the online petition, one user who has administrator access to the JPCA online petition side [sic] uploaded an Excel database of phony names. – Matthew Parker, NYC DOG from FIDObrooklyn.com
The following proves that anyone with internet access could have altered the petition, including members of NYC DOG!
From iPetitions Support:
NYC DOG continued: "Since the fraud was exposed and the names removed, not a single additional signature appeared on the JPCA anti off-leash petition. This, in itself, calls into question their entire petition – including the remaining names."
"The petition was no longer recording signatures after the hacking attempt," said Christina Wilkinson, author of JPCA's petition. "It would tell the signer that their signature was recorded, but it would not appear. Whoever sabotaged the petition accomplished what they set out to do and that was to shut it down." The 2,178 remaining signatures were printed out and submitted to the Parks Department as part of JPCA's written testimony.
"The directory string shows that a file called All Names.xls (.xls is the standard Excel file extension) from the desktop of a user who calls his/her computer login "citybirder." An anti-offleash blogger who runs the one man so-called "Prospect Park Advocate" blog also solely runs a blog called "The City Birder." This same person is known to work with the JPCA on their anti-offleash activities. "The Advocate has a link on his blog directly to the JPCA anti-offleash petition now called into question."
The person who runs Citybirder and Prospect Park Advocate is not a member of JPCA. If he is the person that NYC DOG is accusing of doing the "cheating" then why does the headline of NYC DOG's press release accuse JPCA? The fact is that JPCA has been the victim of relentless harassment by NYC DOG. Below is an excerpt from NYC DOG's own website about JPCA:
"From [Bob Holden's] perspective, Juniper Valley is HIS park, and he wants to control it. The JPCA's vitriolic statements against Commissioner Benepe stem from the commissioner's reluctance to give the JPCA carte blanche to control Juniper Valley Park..."
"Ironically, just three years ago the JPCA honored Commissioner Benepe with the '2003 Community Service Award' possibly because Parks spent $1,800,000 renovating the ball fields in Juniper Park. Coincidentally, the President of the JPCA coaches baseball teams which use the new facilities. It all seemed pretty chummy..."
"By filing the lawsuit, the president of the JPCA is vindictive enough to try to take down a successful 20-year Off-leash Hours Policy that benefits hundreds of thousands of people in the five boroughs of New York City in his effort to teach Commissioner Benepe and anyone else a lesson about what will happen in 'his' park..."
"It has also been rumored that the president of the JPCA has political ambitions for elected office. He could also be using this issue and the lawsuit to flex political muscle and generate publicity for self-aggrandizement, possibly hoping to achieve what he would consider a political 'victory' that could be bandied about to garner votes in a future election, perhaps for City Council."
In addition, our previous petition, was sabotaged on multiple occasions. It had to be shut down because off-leashers were posting derogatory comments about JPCA on it. Everywhere you see "line voided" or "signature deleted" is where such an infringement occurred. With the new petition, when this happened, the petition author could go in and delete the offensive comments without having those words appear.
NYC DOG has been trying to discredit JPCA for months. They apparently thought that putting out a press release about an alleged conspiracy to inflate petition statistics would do the trick. Doing this just before the hearing would take the focus off of our valid points regarding the dangers of off-leash dogs in NYC. Unfortunately for them, it didn't work.
Business as usual for NYC DOG consists of exaggerating. The press release they sent out contains contradictory information about their very own organization. The release's header reads: "Representing 35,000 NYC Dog Owners." Bob Marino's included e-mail to ipetitions says, "A small civic assoc. opposes our 30,000 member group." And a court document submitted this past summer said the following: "(NYCDOG) ... now includes approximately 25 groups throughout New York City representing over 20,000 dog owners, and growing." It's quite laughable that NYC DOG doesn't even know how many members it has or at the very least sticks to one number. But membership numbers are not the only thing that they like to exaggerate:
"...their petition is poised to cause major problems on a public policy issue in New York City involving our 1.4 million dogs."
In 2003, the NYC Department of Health, the official governmental agency overseeing all veterinary affairs of the city, estimated the dog population of NYC at 530,000 dogs, with only about 110,000 of them having been licensed. Mr. Marino and NYC DOG have repeated the phony "1.4 million dogs" line ad nauseum along with, "At the end of every leash is a voter," in an attempt to put pressure on easily intimidated government officials and to make the public believe that there isn't enough room in dog runs to accommodate all the dog owners in the city who wish to use them.
Here's more blatant dishonesty: "The NYCdog on-line petitions contained filters that prevented multiple entries. Additionally, these filters enabled Internet (IP) address tracking, and all signatures must gain approval on an individual basis prior to final posting."
Matthew Parker must have disregarded his own rules and filters because he approved hundreds of multiple signature entries and submitted them to the Department of Parks. Samplings taken from one of his online petitions appear below:
Above are just a few of the duplicate names that were found on NYC DOG's petition. There is no way to tell how many signatures were submitted from each unique IP address. They also submitted handwritten petitions, and no check was made to see if the people who signed those had also signed an online petition. In fact, several dog advocacy groups encouraged people to sign multiple petitions.
NYC DOG: "Please use both your first and last name when signing the online petition. First names only are disallowed."
Glance again at the above screenshots and you will see that they also broke their rule of not accepting only first names. To use their own words, "This, in itself, calls into question their entire petition – including the remaining names."
Clearly, if anyone is trying to inject deception into the off-leash debate, it is NYC DOG! We can only guess that NYC DOG cheated because they cannot logically explain why they advocate for strict rules within fenced dog parks, but that unfenced areas should not be subject to these same rules. And the public is catching onto their charade.
The funniest thing about NYC DOG's obsession with online petitions is that JPCA wouldn't waste our time generating and submitting phony signatures because the Department of Parks Assistant General Counsel, Sami Y. Nami, under the direction of General Counsel Alessandro G. Olivieri, announced to the public at the beginning of the comment period that the department would not count individual signatures on petitions, but would count each whole petition as a single comment. And no one is closer to the NYC Department of Parks than Robert Marino, who certainly must have been aware of this information. So, the entire "JPCA caught red-handed" story was manufactured for the sole purpose of embarrassing us.
As for the polls that supposedly show that an overwhelming majority of people want dogs off leashes in NYC parks:
"AM NEW YORK – A separate on-line poll taken by the newspaper AM New York, received 23,793 votes as of February 20, 2007. Of those, 14,681 (61.7%) supported off-leash rights while 9,112 (38.3%) opposed them."
The AM NY snap poll ended on 12/4/06 when the result was printed in their newspaper. (Notice that the screenshot NYC DOG provided in their press release is for a story from November 30, 2006!) This result can be found here, or downloaded here, on page #6. At the time of the published result, the poll had about 1,700 votes. The poll was never removed from AM NY's site. NYC DOG couldn't bear to have the result stand, so they asked their members to repeatedly vote after the fact in an attempt to change the poll result. Check out this plea from Robert Marino which was posted on various dog message boards asking people to artificially pump up the numbers:
At the bottom of the post it reads: "Repeat vote if you have time. These things aren't scientific but the opposition uses them as valid polls (which they are not) for media purposes." (This page was deleted after this press release came out, but we have screenshots of everything!)
The Time Out New York poll was also conducted online and participants could log more than one vote. Again, NYC DOG members were encouraged to influence the outcome:
No scientific poll was ever conducted to gauge public sentiment with regards to off-leash activity, only silly web polls which are meaningless. But silly perfectly describes the entire off-leash issue and the people who are in favor of such a reckless idea.
On November 19, 1997, the NY Times reported that Robert A. Marino had been arrested in Central Park after allowing his dog to drink from a public fountain and subsequently cursed at a police officer when he was ordered to restrain the animal. Just last year Robert Marino used foul language while being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who dared to ask him about JPCA's proposal to allow community boards to decide whether or not to have off-leash hours in parks within their districts.
This is the president of the 20,000 (or 30,000 or 35,000) member association that represents the needs of a fringe group of dog owners in NYC who want to give their animals free range in our parks, putting the public at large in danger. He can't control his own behavior, yet he expects to be trusted to control his dog's behavior. And Mayor Bloomberg, through his appointee, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is about to cater to the wishes of this "leader" and his followers.
JPCA has retained counsel to explore legal action against the persons responsible for this press release for their reckless accusation that our organization attempted to inject fraud into a governmental process.