Where'd Todd Go?...
On Dealing With Psychopaths and Stalking
Chapter 8 - "WE DON'T CARE"
"[...] No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
- 14th Amendment, Section 1, U.S. Constitution
So here we are minding our own business, when along comes big bad government which says (effectively) "We've decided to just up and TAKE your organization, oh and AND THE NAME that you've been using for fifteen years - because we think we CAN - and really...we DON'T give a rats ass what you think about that. And oh by the way, we don't believe your accusations against our people, and we're not going to look into it or do anything at all about it because we really just don't care. Now step aside, please..."
Melissa Royce called herself the "Coordinator" of the "new Alachua County SKYWARN program" as she put it to the Gainesville Sun7, and to WCJB/TV-20; and she even created a Yahoo group for "Alachua County SKYWARN" using the username "AC-Skywarn".
We already had an Alachua County SKYWARN Email Alert List, and it had been in operation since 2003, and her group's username was suspiciously close to our own ("ac_skywarn"). Melissa knew exactly what she was doing. She wasn't a dummy. She knew of the existence of our group, of the existence of our email listgroup, everything. She was doing this to harass, and using ACOEM and even the NWS to do it. She was "cyberstalking". We also run the SKYWARN-L Florida SKYWARN Discussion List, which has been around since 1998, a year after ACS was first founded; and the ACEMWIN-HURR-L Hurricane Bulletin Listgroup, and the ACWIN series of weather bulletin listgroups. We run the Alachua County SKYWARN web page, which has been around since 1997, and the Alachua County EMWIN Project web page (we send severe weather bulletins to the public as a public service for free), which has been around since 2002. We also run the Index to SKYWARN Web Pages On The Internet (since 1997) to help people find other SKYWARN groups across the country, and Mobile Scanner & RADAR-Detector Laws In The United States (since 1995) so that hams and spotters and others know where the use of scanners is appropriate in the US. It's NOT like we're an unknown, or we're not visible, or people can say they looked and couldn't find us out there. You can't do a keyword search for 'SKYWARN', 'Alachua County', or even for 'Todd Sherman' without coming across all of this stuff multiple times! And it's been out there since 1997. There are no excuses. They could have chosen ANY OTHER NAME THEY WISHED for their organization, but Melissa wanted to use this one because she knew it would bother me...and ACOEM backed her up. Legally speaking...ACOEM is run by a bunch of morons who just don't think too hard. Legally speaking, ACOEM was being led by a number of bad hams into actually attempting to take over another organization and to take OVER the use of it's name without any lawyers being contacted at all. WHY? It's just Todd. Right? Who's going to stop them from doing that? ...Todd? ACOEM was huge, and they thought they could do anything that they wanted and permission from ME wasn't necessary or required as far as they were concerned. They probably also told themselves that the County OWNS the use of the words 'Alachua County' and by golly Todd's just gonna have to relinquish its use!!! Right?
If the use of the words "Alachua County" in any business or organizational name is illegal and considered the sole ownership of the county of Alachua then there are an awful lot of businesses and organizations out there which are operating illegally, right now. (Such as Alachua County Feed & Seed Store, Alachua County Special Olympics, Alachua County Childcare Center, Alachua County Lawn Care, etc.) And even if such a thing were TRUE, these businesses and organizations have been using those names for quite a while now and in all those many years no one has spoken up and said a thing. Therefore, THE PRECEDENCE BEING SET is that no one cares about it either way; and therefore, the County has relinquished it's rights to lay any such claim by it's own inactions. Sorry, but that's the way the "precedence" ball bounces. So if THAT'S the angle ACOEM was taking, it was a bad choice, and sounds much like something a self-proclaimed, do-it-yourself, "at-home" lawyer rather than a REAL lawyer might suggest. And if that's the case, then ACOEM deserves whatever embarrassment and humiliation they get from it.
There was this well-oiled "synergy" going on between Melissa Royce and the Alachua County Office of Emergency Management. Melissa fed them BS. They believed it without question or challenge. Then they gave Melissa absolute power...to do WHATEVER SHE WANTED...without any challenge.
In ACOEM, nobody ever listened what I was telling them. I was telling them that the very people that they were so proud of and supportive of were stalking me and using their given powers and contacts inside of ACOEM to harass and stalk me, my friends, my family, and to attempt to take over another organization. To them, I was just a raving lunatic. I was crazy. Right? They didn't want to believe me. Chief May and Dave Donnelly heard something else entirely whenever I spoke, and only saw me as being ridiculous. They saw what they wanted to see and refused to believe anything I was telling them I assume because it sounded just too ridiculous. (This is sounding familiar.)
Nonetheless, a complaint was filed with ACOEM, twice, through two individuals, now. Those two acknowledged me directly. And rather than follow harassment protocol and procedure, they chose to listen to the harassers and to blow me off entirely. Procedure and protocol and due process were thrown out of the window.
ACOEM then continued to pursue the creation of their own spotter group anyway, using Alachua County SKYWARN's name. Even today, the Alachua County ARES site STILL has links to Melissa's Yahoo "Alachua County SKYWARN" listgroup on their Mission Statement, Calendar, Nets, Contacts, and Archives pages, even though her little SKYWARN program itself is no longer in existence. (See real group vs. fake group.) [NOTE: They finally removed the links to Melissa's site but it took them until 2014 to get around to it. But they still haven't been able to remove her site, itself.] Again, had they formed their OWN organization, using a different name, I wouldn't have cared. But they insisted upon using the name of OUR organization. It did not seem to matter to anyone in Emergency Management. No one there seemed the slightest bit worried about me, or ACS, or about what Jeff and Melissa were doing using ACOEM's power. That is the strangest feeling in the world to watch while a government agency attacks you and your organization and seems to laugh in your face.
UPDATE, 1/19/2010: www.alachuaem.org suddenly disappeared, and has been replaced with www.alachuaemcomm.org. Links to the imposter ACS Yahoo group still remain, though.
UPDATE, June, 2011: After noticing in my IP logs some hits recently by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and even from United States Navy Network Information Services, apparently immediately after some hits from NWS-JAX[see logs], I noticed as well that someone had also "coincidentally" just removed the links to Melissa's false web sites from the ACOEM Yahoo site. That's pretty interesting. (Took 'em long enough. I mean, I'd asked them a few YEARS ago to remove those links and they ignored me. Suddenly, the FBI begins an investigation and someone out of the blue just "remembers" my old complaint and complies. However, I don't think it was to be nice to me. It was obviously being done to try to cover some asses. It confirms a definite line of communication between NWS-JAX and the Alachua County Office of Emergency Management regarding the investigation. It shows a kind of co-conspiracy involvement going on between them - one giving the other a heads up, and the other attempting to remove certain evidences of harassment and/or involvement before the FBI could have a chance to see it. I mean, I saw the FBI hits, and at nearly the same exact time, I watched the doppelganger AC-SKYWARN links disappear almost live. It was kinda funny to see it happen, actually. Kinda satisfying. ...The bad guys were running for cover, in a manner of speaking, as a direct result of their own stupid mistakes. It was kind of satisfying to watch all that scurrying happen, and knowing WHY they were doing it.) Meanwhile, the rogue Yahoo group still remains nonetheless, and ACOEM has not attempted to force Melissa to remove it, yet. Removing the link doesn't remove their responsibility for it, though. Of course, ACOEM's Yahoo page sysop is Jeff Capehart. And this just so smells of an attempt by Jeff to cover his ass rather than of ACOEM trying to do the right thing. I guess I should file a complaint against ACOEM, and then issue a Cease & Desist. Maybe that'll get the right attention to the matter. I mean...it's not as if I've got some sort of bridge I'd be burning there or something. The hams did that for me already.
They held one spotter training class, which I attended - 1) to show that I was not intimidated, 2) to show them that I was still out there, and 3) because I was due for the two-year refresher anyway. They passed out applications for this new "Alachua County SKYWARN" organization to people. That clinched it for me. I didn't make any scenes. I remained quiet. I went home after the class very pissed off.
Finally I threatened Dave himself and ACOEM with a lawsuit and demanded he/they cease using our name. There was no official, verbal, written, or email response from Dave, and he took his sweet time, but they did appear to finally stop...to some extent, anyway. They stopped having meetings. But the paperwork remained online - even today. It was obvious he did get on it in some fashion, but his long delay seemed to imply a begrudging resistance to it. I hoped that he got on some people for it all, too. But I doubt it. I sincerely doubt it. He probably just labeled me as a lunatic jerk and went on with his life in his Dave-ley oblivious little way, cursing me for being an asshole or something. In fact, ACOEM ceased all attempt at putting together any kind of a spotter program after that. ...Which is what makes me think he gave up outright. ...And that was not my intent. I wanted them to stop using our NAME, and the resultant implication that the proud history which belonged to OUR organization had anything to do with theirs. I wanted him to be more diligent and to watch his people a bit more closely and responsibly and to make sure that his people weren't given unwarranted powers which could be used to abuse and to cause harm to others as Melissa was doing. This is not an illogical complaint or unreasonable want. They were attempting to take over another already existing organization, and they were giving my stalkers power to do that and to harass and stalk me, and my friends, my family, my associations, and I wanted it to stop. That's ALL that there was to it. So now, Alachua County has NO real spotter program - as a direct result of what the HAMS did, here, and because everybody is scared and doesn't know what to do. Who is telling the truth? Who is lying? Who is the real victim? Who is the real problem? Nobody really has a clue, so everyone becomes stagnated, bogged down, held hostage by fear of being wrong.
It's a little too late to put on the brakes and look NOW, though...AFTER the "accident" has already happened and now that the wounded are now lieing all around the accident scene, so to speak. They took a little too long to finally "get a clue".