Editorial: The darkness on Shady Lane in Falmouth

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It’s been a while since we heard more than a peep from Michael Doyle, Falmouth’s best-known government critic, conspiracy theorist and perpetrator of securities fraud.

But now the Shady Lane resident has stepped out of the shadows in a big way.

Doyle is circulating a petition to end Falmouth’s support of METRO bus service, but claims he’s not responsible for misleading statements his paid signature gatherer may have made about the intent of the petition.

In addition, via the latest of his more than 100 Freedom of Access Act requests to the town over the last couple years, Doyle recently obtained about 3,100 e-mail addresses subscribed to Falmouth’s website and electronic news services.

Assuming he was telling the truth when he told The Forecaster he didn’t know what he was going to do with the addresses, it didn’t take the town bully very long to figure out what he could do to push people’s buttons.

Last week, Doyle sent a mass-distribution email message to people on the town list. But unlike his usual rants, this one looked suspiciously like it came directly from Falmouth Town Hall. The subject was “UPCOMING ELECTIONS.” The sender’s name was “News and Notices,” and the server that delivered the message was the one used by the town. It even included the requisite, and legitimate, link to the town website, where recipients could unsubscribe from future mailings.

But there was nothing legitimate about this message.

Unlike the town’s official messages, the only content in this piece of junk mail was a link back to a website, operated by Doyle, that is packed with his usual combination of vitriol, fact-twisting, belligerence, baiting and self-aggrandizing bull.

It’s possible Doyle was able to spoof the town’s email thanks to an error by the town’s service provider. According to Town Manager Nathan Poore, included among the addresses turned over to Doyle was one that provided security clearance and access to the portal town officials use to remotely send official announcements.

But even if Doyle had access to that information, does it excuse his use of it? We don’t think so. Or could he have just made an honest mistake? That’s a tough sell when you’re talking about someone as intelligent and clever as Doyle claims to be.

Our advice to the town is call in the attorneys and prosecutors and take Doyle to court. Let a judge decide if he has broken the law, either by impersonating a town official, or by sending unsolicited, intentionally deceptive junk email.

Win or lose, at least it will shine a little welcome light on the darkness of Shady Lane.