Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The history of deanlovelace.com and the difficulty of running deanlovelace.com ads

What the current deanlovelace.com is

Say No! to Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011 If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know that I created a website, deanlovelace.com, about Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace. You may know this because I blogged on February 28, 2011, about doing so; you may know this because whenever you’ve come since then to the main page of davidlauri.com you’ve seen a teaser, linking to my February 28 blog entry, about the “special present I’ve put together for Dean Lovelace.” That “special present” is a website outlining three reasons to vote against Dean Lovelace for Dayton City Commission on November 8, 2011.

Even if you had never heard of me, you may know about deanlovelace.com because whenever you google Dean Lovelace the number three result is the website entitled “Say No! to Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011,” namely deanlovelace.com.

At the bottom of that website is an “About this site:” box that states “This site was developed and paid for by David Lauri and is not affiliated with any candidate” and that links back to davidlauri.com. When I created deanlovelace.com I did not try to hide who I was. I’m not ashamed of having created deanlovelace.com.

Why I created deanlovelace.com

Why did I create deanlovelace.com? Because the opportunity to do so presented itself. David Esrati remarked on February 27, in a post he made about why people should sign petitions so that Esrati could run for city commission, that he couldn’t find a campaign website for Dean Lovelace. I did some googling of my own and discovered that Esrati was right—Dean Lovelace was a Dayton City Commissioner running for re-election but did not have a campaign website up. Dean Lovelace used to have a campaign website at deanlovelace.com—if you go to my current deanlovelace.com website you will find a link to the Internet Archive cache from 2004 of the old deanlovelace.com—but did not feel it important enough to keep up and running. I was not surprised that Dean Lovelace did not feel it important enough to keep his website current with commentary on his views, but I was a bit astounded that he would have let his domain name lapse. I was not surprised that Dean Lovelace did not feel it important to keep his website current with commentary on his views about issues facing the City of Dayton, but I was a bit astounded that he would have let his domain name lapse.

And so I decided, on a whim, to register deanlovelace.com myself. Having done so, I announced in a tongue-in-cheek comment on Esrati.com that I had found a site that “tells you everything you need to know about Dean Lovelace.” (I still believe that deanlovelace.com tells you what you need to know about Dean Lovelace.) I posted a few more links to deanlovelace.com on Esrati.com, on my own website, on Facebook and on Twitter, but after posting a few final links on March 8 after Dean Lovelace lucked out and did not have to face a primary in the Dayton City Commission race (my March 8 post on Facebook is visible only to my friends and friends of my friends but you can see a screenshot of it; my tweet on March 8 is still visible to the public), I really didn’t give deanlovelace.com much more thought.

I did not contact Dean Lovelace to let him know about deanlovelace.com, but I would not have been surprised had he contacted me. I did not contact Mr. Lovelace to let him know about deanlovelace.com, but I would not have been surprised had he contacted me. In September 2009, I created a website, www.notojoey.com, opposing the re-election of Dayton City Commission Joey Williams because of his abstention on a vote to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Commissioner Williams found out about the website, took steps to get my cellphone number, called me, asked to meet with me, and asked me what I would want to take the site down. I told him I would not take the site down but that if he would state clearly on his campaign website that he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation I would amend the site to remove my objection to his re-election. He did so, I did so, and you can still view the results on www.notojoey.com, a site that is now nowhere near the top of the Google search results for “Joey D. Williams” (although it still appears in them).

Dean Lovelace, unlike Commissioner Williams, made no attempts to contact me. I assume he’s aware of deanlovelace.com because on April 22 he registered a new domain name for his new campaign website, given that his old domain name was no longer available. I decline to share his new domain name here, but if you like you may go google for it yourself to see if you can find it. I’ll give you a tip though—you have to go way down the page past the results for deanlovelace.com to find the official Dean Lovelace re-election website. I myself was unaware of Dean Lovelace’s new campaign website until doing a bit of research for this blog post.

Placing ads about deanlovelace.com

However, although it is true that I did not give deanlovelace.com a lot of thought since creating it (the page has remained unchanged except for fixing a link that no longer worked), it was in the back of my mind that it might be fun to run some ads this fall to promote deanlovelace.com. To that end I sent two emails earlier this month inquiring about placing ads for deanlovelace.com. In those emails I explained that deanlovelace.com was not owned by Dean Lovelace but rather was a site that I had created to oppose his re-election and that I would like to run some display ads for the site. The recipients of my two emails? The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival and the Dayton City Paper.

The response of the Downtown Dayton Priority Board to my request to place an ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival

The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival, in case you haven’t heard of it, is rather amazing for a city the size of Dayton. The festival, currently in its 6th year, will take place September 23–25 at the Neon Movies downtown and is a great opportunity for queers and our allies to see independent LGBT films and to meet some of the people making these films. Jonathan McNeal, the manager of the Neon, is the curator of the film festival, and he’s done good work not only in finding films worth watching but also in finding support for the festival and promoting it. I figured placing an ad of interest to Dayton’s LGBT community in the film festival’s program would be a good idea.

However, Jonathan, despite being the curator of the film festival, does not have carte blanche in accepting ads for it. He quoted me a price of $175 for a 1/2 page ad but explained that “though [he] curate[s] the festival, [he] still [has] to answer to the Downtown Priority Board as they are the banner sponsor for the event.” That’s understandable. The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival is not primarily about politics, although in the United States in 2011 anything queer is in part about politics. The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival is not primarily about politics, although in the United States in 2011 anything queer is in part about politics, and Jonathan’s primary responsibility is keeping the festival viable. Jonathan checked with the Downtown Dayton Priority Board and was told that its chairperson, Stephen Seiboldt,
The ad rejected by
the Downtown Dayton Priority Board
declined to accept my ad, saying that the Priority Board did not want any political ads in the film festival’s program.

I wonder if Stephen Seiboldt checked with the Dayton City Commission and in particular with Dean Lovelace. The Downtown Dayton Priority Board, as is the entire Priority Board system, is a program of the government of the City of Dayton. Read about the Priority Boards on the official City of Dayton webpage. Whether it is legal for the City of Dayton to quash advertisements opposing the re-election of Dayton City Commissioners I do not know, and although I have enough personal resources to be able to afford an ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival, I do not have enough resources or enough energy for a prolonged battle with the City of Dayton.

Getting a response from Jonathan about running a deanlovelace.com ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival program, although I did not get the response I wanted, was quick and easy. Here’s the cost; here’s who I have to check with; sorry, I can’t take your ad. The whole process took a day.

The response of Paul Noah, Publisher of the Dayton City Paper, to my request to place an ad in his paper

Getting a response from the Dayton City Paper was not so easy. Two days after I sent an email to them asking whether they would accept a display ad in October and possibly also in September for deanlovelace.com (pointing out, as I’ve said above, that this was a site I created to oppose Dean Lovelace’s re-election), I got a brief email from the publisher of the Dayton City Paper, Paul Noah, saying, “I am considering your request. Patience please. Plan to hear again from me before the end of this week. Genuinely, Paul Noah.”

Okay, I can understand that Paul Noah, like Jonathan McNeal with the film festival, does not have carte blanche as to what ads he may accept for the paper he publishes. Paul Noah is not the owner of the Dayton City Paper, and even if he does not have to run ads by the paper’s owner, he does have to be concerned about the viability of his newspaper. Would it piss other potential advertisers off if the Dayton City Paper accepted an ad for deanlovelace.com?

Apparently that was not an easy question to answer because despite Paul Noah’s having said he would get back to me by the end of the week, he did not in fact do so. A week after having gotten his brief email urging patience, I sent him a follow-up email to ask if a decision had been made yet. The following day Paul Noah sent me a reply, not a reply with a decision but a reply explaining that he could still not decide and moreover chastising me for my actions in creating the deanlovelace.com website.

As to whether the Dayton City Paper could accept an ad from me about deanlovelace.com, Paul Noah says, “[A]s your ad would be for the purpose of promoting the idea to voters to vote against Mr. Lovelace, I would need to see a sample of the ad copy you intend to run. More specifically, I would need to forward your ad copy to our legal dept. to review your ad in addition to having them view your website for libelous commentary.”

I am not a lawyer, but I do not think that my deanlovelace.com website libels Dean Lovelace. If Dean Lovelace thinks that anything I have said about him is libelous, I invite him to bring a lawsuit against me. I make three contentions about Dean Lovelace—that he let his registration for deanlovelace.com lapse, that he supports discrimination against LGBT people and that it’s time for a change—and I support those contentions. The first two contentions are fact-based: Dean Lovelace did let the registration for his domain name lapse, and Dean Lovelace did vote twice to keep discrimination against LGBT people in the City of Dayton legal. The third contention is one of opinion but also based on the fact that Dean Lovelace has been in office since 1993. If Dean Lovelace thinks that anything I have said on deanlovelace.com about him is libelous, I invite him to bring a lawsuit against me.

Had Paul Noah left it at that, that he needed to be cautious about accepting an ad in his paper for legal reasons, I might have been disappointed but would have had to accept his caution. However, Paul Noah had more to say to me.

Paul Noah thinks I was wrong to register the domain name deanlovelace.com. In his email to me he went on to say:

For the record, I have no opinion of Mr. Lovelace or of his record as I know little about him. However, I am disappointed that you decided to use Mr. Lovelace’s domain name for the purpose of campaigning against him. I believe if you would have left his domain name alone and, instead, created and promoted a website domain name such as “VoteAgainstDeanLovelace.com” you would have accomplished the same results without appearing to obviously and blatantly having taken advantage of Mr. Lovelace’s failure to remember to renew his domain name. In all fairness, it’s most likely that Mr. Lovelace had confided in another individual to register his domain name on his behalf and, therefore, it was likely the failure of his confident to renew the domain name. In my eyes, the fact that you had exploited Mr. Lovelace’s domain name expiration by purchasing the rights to it and utilizing it as a resource to campaign against him significantly reduces the credibility of your mission. It is for this reason that the Dayton City Paper may end up declining your request anyway.

I’m a bit surprised by Paul Noah’s righteous indignation at my having created the website deanlove.com. I replied to him to tell him that I could have understood such indignation if I had created a spoof website purporting to be by Dean Lovelace himself but not given that the website clearly states that I own the site and that it is not affiliated with any candidate.

I also told Paul Noah that I was a bit surprised that he claimed to have no opinion of Dean Lovelace’s record. Why is it difficult for Paul Noah to form an opinion about Dean Lovelace? If he had visited deanlovelace.com, he would have found links to newspaper articles and to Dayton City Commission pages documenting what Dean Lovelace said and what he did. In 1999 Dean Lovelace said that all discrimination is wrong but then voted to keep discrimination based on sexual orientation legal. In 2007 Dean Lovelace said that passing an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation was the right thing to do but then voted again to keep such discrimination legal. Why is it difficult for Paul Noah to form an opinion about that?

I agree with Paul Noah that Dean Lovelace probably was not personally involved in the registration of or the lapse in registration of the deanlovelace.com domain name. I doubt very much that Dean Lovelace has the technical expertise to register a domain name or build a website. However, I pointed out to Paul Noah that Dean Lovelace does have expertise in campaigning for office, and part of campaigning for office these days is having a campaign website. Dean Lovelace should have known that his campaign website from 2004 was, at the least, out of date because Dean Lovelace never directed that anything be added to it. That deanlovelace.com was no longer a functioning website in February 2011 when Dean Lovelace was running an active campaign for re-election is a reflection on Dean Lovelace’s management skills and worthy of consideration.

Paul Noah ended his chastising email to me by saying, “I am interested in your thoughts about my commentary above as I would hope that you consider doing the right thing and play fairly here.” He did not say what he himself would consider “the right thing” and what “play[ing] fairly” would be. Perhaps he thinks I should apologize for my actions. Perhaps he thinks I should give Dean Lovelace back his domain name.

My response to Paul Noah

Well here’s my response. I decline to apologize to Dean Lovelace. I stand by what I have posted on deanlovelace.com. I stand by what I said: Vote against Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011. Unlike in my interactions with Commissioner Williams, who merely abstained from a vote to ban discrimination in Dayton based on sexual orientation, there is nothing Dean Lovelace can do to make me retract or change what I have said.

Dean Lovelace voted twice to keep discrimination based on sexual orientation in the City of Dayton legal and that by itself is reason enough for people who value the equal treatment of all Daytonians to vote against Dean Lovelace on November 8.





Updates:

David Esrati wrote about my attempt to place a deanlovelace.com ad in the Dayton City Paper, in which Esrati says, “[Paul Noah] should not only accept the ad (with the addition of who paid for it) in his paper, but that he should keep his opinion on his opinion pages — and not insert it into political ads.”

The Dayton Informer ran an interesting video interview with Dean Lovelace about this issue, asking him what he thought of me and what he thought of gay rights. Dean Lovelace called me a jerk, which I can understand, and he said that “gay rights are not civil rights” although he later admits that gay rights may be “human rights.”

An Esrati.com reader had questions about Dayton’s non-discrimination ordinance, and so, in a comment on Esrati.com, I give some more background about the laws in Ohio banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and on Lovelace’s actions to keep such discrimination legal in the city of Dayton. I also respond to Dean Lovelace’s correct contention that the LGBT civil rights struggle is different from the African American civil rights struggle; in the Dayton Informer piece when Dean Lovelace said that gay rights are not civil rights, I think what he was ineptly trying to say was that the struggles faced by queers and by African Americans are different. He’s right about that, and I point out some of the differences in my comment on Esrati.com.

Jeremy Kelly wrote an article in Dayton Daily News reporting on my taking over of deanlovelace.com.

Thursday, September 10th, 2009
Update – September 27, 2009: Due to Commissioner Williams’ clarification of his position on the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the website I created on September 10th, 2009, is no longer about opposing the re-election of a particular candidate:
 
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