Croton is abuzz with speculation about an e-mail message recently sent to the Mayor and Trustees. The subject of the e-mail is purported to be Crotonblog. The sender is alleged to be Maria Cudequest. Now a steadfast foe of anonymous communications, Ms. Cudequest and the cohorts under her thumb attack Crotonblog at every turn for following the common blogging practice of allowing readers to make uncensored comments using a screen name or no name at all.
For readers who may not remember the incident, Ms Cudequest was not always a devotee of openness. Indeed, when Crotonblog began, she was an ardent and enthusiastic contributor under her own name. So enthusiastic was she, in fact, that she created a whole cast of fictitious characters who conducted animated exchanges back and forth on Crotonblog.
Each of these invented characters had his or her individualistic personality. They ranged from a well-educated master of the King’s English who would have been at home in academic circles to a blue-collar dese-dem-and-dose type more likely to be watching Sunday afternoon football at a smoky neighborhood bar. Other fictitious types with distinctive personalities and attitudes also were created.
Despite the disparities of background and class, they always managed to support some cause close to Ms, Cudequest’s heart. It was a bravura performance with one purpose in mind—that of exerting control over and manipulating the discussion of every issue in favor of Ms. Cudequest’s desired outcome.
The charade might have continued to this day except that Ms. Cudequest committed a fatal error. She overlooked the cyberworld’s equivalent of the hidden surveillance camera: the mutually exclusive number assigned to each site originating e-mail messages. After several perceptive readers’ suspicions were aroused by the eventual unanimity of opinion exhibited by so many people from different walks of life who did not seem to live in Croton, Crotonblog instituted an electronic investigation.
To our surprise, the questionable messages all originated from the same site—the site first used by Maria Cudequest before so many fictitious individuals peopled it. Crotonblog decided to follow the blogging practice known as banishment by denying the computer or computers at that site the right to access Crotonblog. Ms. Cudequest may feel animosity toward Crotonblog for exposing her deceptive chameleonlike performance in this affair. So be it. We can live with that.
Our interest was piqued in the mysterious e-mail communication sent by Ms. Cudequest to the Mayor and the members of the Village Board on or about October 19, 2007. Aside from the statements it may have made about Crotonblog, what makes it of especial interest is that we understand that it contained an appended injunction stipulating that the contents of the letter were not to be disclosed to Crotonblog. This is tantamount to allowing a citizen to throw a cloak of confidentiality over public documents that become part of the public record upon receipt by the Village.
If the Village should honor this stipulation, it would run counter to the provisions of New York State’s Freedom of Information Law. Crotonblog intends to get to the bottom of this troubling matter. Stay tuned.