Civic News
Culture / Municipal government / Philadelphia

Look who’s cybersquatting on City Council

A local PAC says it's for a good cause.

The 5th Square political action committee, is using cybersquatting as a political tactic. (Screenshot)

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell never scooped up JannieBlackwell.com and now it’s too late.
The 5th Square, a PAC that aims to represent “New Philadelphia,” is cybersquatting on that domain and nine others that refer to City Councilmembers and mayoral candidates, Philly Mag’s Citified reported. Unlike your average cybersquatter, the group isn’t doing it to raise money. Instead, they’re considering redirecting the sites to “report cards” they create for each candidate running in the May 19 primary.
As Citified wrote:

“Cybersquatting,” as it is known, already appears to be a common theme of the upcoming election. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that KenyattaJohnson.com, as well as KenyattaJohnson.net and KenyattaJohnson.org, redirect users to the campaign website of Ori Feibush, a developer who is running against incumbent Councilman Kenyatta Johnson this spring.

A cabal of urbanist thinkers is behind 5th Square, including This Old City founder Geoff Kees Thompson, Fels Institute of Government grad student David Curtis and PlanPhilly engagement editor Jon Geeting.
Yesterday, Thompson explained himself in a 5th Square blog post:

Our intent is not to smear candidates or waste these spaces on political attack ads. We believe several of the candidates will come out looking very favorably from an urbanist perspective. We will be highlighting candidate records on urbanist achievements like the land bank, safe streets, assessment reform, and zoning remapping. We will also be highlighting candidate positions we oppose – blocking and slow-walking safer street plans, downzoning growing neighborhoods, and hoarding city-owned land.

Companies: Philadelphia City Council
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