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Who’s Behind an “Unfit Alameda” ?

Update, August 31st, 2:30 p.m. – Dennis Pagones, President of Harbor Bay Realty contacted Action Alameda News to discuss. “It’s [who’s behind the site] a mystery to me,” he said. “Our office has been overwhelmingly in support of having the Labs come to Alameda. Our Information Technology guy is coming in and will take a look at it. Nobody in my office has come to me and said I can’t support LBNL coming to Alameda.”

“Ron [Cowan] was very distressed about this. He’s been very supportive of the Berkeley Lab.” Developer Ron Cowan is a part owner of Harbor Bay Realty. Mr. Pagones also said that he can’t think of anyone that would try to hurt Harbor Bay Realty by falsely associating the firm with the website. He also offered to have Steve Sorensen talk with Action Alameda News on his return later in the week.

Since Action Alameda News went to press with the story today, the references to Harbor Bay Realty and Steve Sorensen have been removed from the website.

“The City of Alameda is Dysfunctional…and is unfit to bid for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories” – so reads the opening text to the website Unfit Alameda that has aggregated a number of news stories related to Alameda, and urges readers to call University of California regents and tell them there are better options for Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.

At least one Action Alameda News reader speculated that it was SunCal, trying to sabotage the City’s efforts to bring the Lab’s second campus to Alameda. However, clues hidden in the website itself point elsewhere.

Text encoded in the website, not visible to the reader, suggest the page may be affiliated with Harbor Bay Realty – annotations list the local real estate firm by name, address and phone number.

HTML Excerpt from "Unfit Alameda" Website

Action Alameda News exchanged e-mail about the site with Dennis Pagones, President of Harbor Bay Realty, who asked that we call. By press time, Mr. Pagones had not returned voice mail or answered his telephone live to repeated calls.

The link to send e-mail to the authors of the site resolves to an address “TClifford@unfitalameda.com”. Messages to that e-mail address bounced back:

Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.

< tclifford@unfitalameda.com >:
Remote host said: 550 #5.1.0 Address rejected tclifford@unfitalameda.com [RCPT_TO]

Additional encoding in the website lists Steven Sorensen, a broker associate with Harbor Bay Realty as the author. Mr. Sorensen did not respond to e-mails or Facebook messages asking for comment. A phone number listed for him went to voicemail indicating he was out of the office Monday through Wednesday, though the dates were not specified.

The Internet domain name research tool WhoIs wasn’t much help either – the website is registered with GoDaddy internet services, but through a proxy, so the true owner of the site is hidden:

unfitalameda.com

Whois Server Version 2.0

Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net
for detailed information.

Domain Name: UNFITALAMEDA.COM
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server: whois.godaddy.com
Referral URL: http://registrar.godaddy.com
Name Server: NS35.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server: NS36.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Status: clientRenewProhibited
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Updated Date: 25-aug-2011
Creation Date: 25-aug-2011
Expiration Date: 25-aug-2012

>>> Last update of whois database: Tue, 30 Aug 2011 16:30:18 UTC <<<

The true owner of the site may never be known, unless he or she – or the company – comes forward to claim it. The data encoded in the website itself is not proof-positive of the authors and could indeed be a deliberate red-herring to cast suspicion or scorn on others. The WhoIs data in the Internet registry would provide proof of ownership – if it wasn’t hidden behind a proxy registration.

6 comments to Who’s Behind an “Unfit Alameda” ?

  • Tracy

    Steve’s name and the reference to Harbor Bay Realty have been scrubbed from the source data today, which leads me to believe that they ARE behind this site. If it was someone else trying to cast suspicion elsewhere, then why would they remove it? Also, it’s exactly the kind of simple mistake someone would make, not realizing that there is identifying data in the source code. I think that is the more likely scenario. So now the question is why are they trying to kill this project? And if they are against the lab coming here, why hide behind anonymity and not stand behind their position?

  • Yes, it’s been scrubbed. Either HBR is running the site, or someone is trying to make it look like HBR is….

    Here’s a snippet of the code we captured before it was scrubbed…

    !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”>
    html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>
    head>
    meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=UTF-8″ />
    title>City of Alameda is unfit to bid for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories

    meta name=”keywords” content=”alameda, distric, Berkeley, lawrence, Laboratories, bankruptcy, claims, lawsuit, traffic, scandal, city, unfit, dysfunctional, political, issues”>
    meta name=”description” content=”City of Alameda is Dysfunctional and unfit to bid for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories”>
    meta name=”Author” content=”Steve Sorensen”>

    !– div id=”info”> strong>Harbor Bay Realty 885 Island Drive Alameda, CA 94502 • 510.523.1144 Sales • 510.523.1166 strong>Rentals • 510.523.3652 Fax –>

  • herculean

    1st theory: SunCal, b/c:”if SunCal can’t have it, nobody can!” 2nd theory: “if HBIA/Doric/Cowan can’t get the land it wants, the City can’t have the tenants IT wants” And if all others are scared off from doing bizness w/Alameda, so there are no other takers, wouldn’t it be just like some people to step in & offer LESS for land than it is worth!

  • Liz Williams

    OOPS! It does look like Harbor Bay Realty got caught with its pants down on this one.

    Unless it’s some Joe Q citizen who is fed up with the status quo and is wanting to stick it to our current city government and council.

    Either way: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansaa anymore.

    The former Naval Air Station: Albatross, or really, really stinky, half rotten albatross? It’s a puzzler alright.

  • 94502

    This has the makings of a full blown suspense mystery.

    High stakes.

    Real estate is no game for the light weights.

    Are we all being used as pawns?

  • blanche knott

    Who said the conspiracy theorists were wrong? Nice home-grown one right here!

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