TURNABOUT FAIR PLAY IN ONLINE POLITICAL PARRYING

JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST STAFF WRITER BY JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST STAFF WRITER BY JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D3

Date: Friday, April 17, 2009

You know those moments in Road Runner cartoons when Wile E. Coyote gets clobbered by his own giant anvil? This is sort of like that.


Tracey Brooks' 2008 congressional campaign was on the receiving end of some "tsk-tsking" from candidate Phil Steck's camp when the rival Democrat in the primary for the 21st Congressional District gobbled up a number of Internet domain names with Steck's name, a guerrilla tactic known as cybersquatting.


Well, now it seems Brooks herself may have been squat upon.


Guilderland Republican Warren Redlich, who might be the Sun Tzu of local Web guerrilla warfare (ask Democratic town Supervisor Ken Runion), has himself gobbled up http://www.traceybrooks.com.


On http://www.philsteck.com, which Redlich also acquired, he explains:


"In a wonderful piece of irony (if that's the right term), both of them allowed their domain names to expire. The domain names were acquired at an auction by another former candidate for Congress in Albany. That would be me."


The sites contain some factual information about the candidates, drawn in part from the original campaign Web pages, but also reveal some of Redlich's own distinctive perspectives.


"It's not clear what Tracey's priorities are now," he writes on his re-creation of Brooks' "Priorities" page, "and we weren't really sure during the campaign either."


Redlich says he paid about $100 for Steck's name and $305 for Brooks', but he's adamant that what he's doing is not "cybersquatting" because he did not buy the domains to resell them. He bought them, he said, for "political power," free speech and to boost traffic to his own Web page.


"Domain name recycling is what I would call it," he said, noting he's also bought http://www.christineodonnell08.com, which formerly belonged to a Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in Delaware last year.


Brooks was not immediately available for comment. Redlich says he hasn't heard from either local Democrats but has gotten a request from O'Donnell's people to release the name.


The age issue


Perhaps you've heard of Marlon Anderson, the red-clad, sunglass-wearing-inside-of-buildings resident of West Hill who is quite confident he will be the next mayor of Albany.


He is a frequent speaker at Common Council and school board meetings, and he's also no fan of this newspaper because he believes it has not paid due attention to his campaign.


But for all the talking Anderson has been known to do over the years -- and to his credit, he does stand up and speak when many are content to stay silent -- there are a few things he doesn't much like to talk about. One of them is his age.


In October 2006, he told the Times Union he was 29. As the mayoral race began to heat up last month, Inside Politics sent Anderson, who works for Access Transit, a subdivision of CDTA, an e-mail inquiring about his age.


His response: "lets just say Im old enough to be Mayor!"


With the news this week that Mayor Jerry Jennings -- who is 60, by the way -- will seek a fifth term, we renewed that request.


He replied that his age "is not that serious of a issue."


Anderson's refusal to reveal his birth year, however, prompted folks here at the Times Union -- namely Kristi Gustafson, author of the On The Edge blog, where Anderson is a prolific commenter, and Research Director Sarah Hinman -- to do some digging.


The two unearthed public records that would indicate he's quite a bit older than he has claimed, more than 15 years, in fact.


The search also revealed an outstanding tax warrant levied against a Marlon A. Anderson of Livingston Avenue -- the same address Anderson has claimed as his when speaking publicly.


The warrant, issued in June 2004, is for $385 in unpaid income taxes from 2002, according to the state Department of Taxation & Finance.


So, we asked Anderson about that, too.


"Simply put it is what it is," he replied by e-mail, adding he doesn't believe the public "needs to know it" and is not "clamoring for it."


"For A newspaper to only be able to focus on something as negative as that, given all of the positive nature of my campaign is appalling," he continued in his signature style, capitalizing every standalone letter A ... "It is what it seems to be, A unpaid bill that I will pay as soon as i am able."


For the record, the other candidates for mayor are Corey Ellis, 38; Shawn Morris, 52; and Valerie Faust, 59.


Considering the post


When prospective candidates meet with the leadership of the City of Albany Democratic Committee Saturday, retired police sergeant and Albany Police Athletic League Executive Director Leonard Ricchiuti will be among those interviewed for the post of Common Council president.


In February, Ricchiuti, 48, who retired from the APD last May after 27 years as a dispatcher and police officer, told the Times Union he was flattered to be considered but was content with his work with PAL. He also is a member of the Albany Public Library's Board of Trustees.


"Since then, I've had a lot of phone calls from everyday people," Ricchiuti, a South End native, told Inside Politics this week. "A lot of folks thought it's be a good for idea for me to at least to consider it."


Inside Politics is a companion to the Local Politics blog ---- http://blogs.timesunion.com/localpolitics -- and compiled by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist.