WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Amid an atmosphere of last-minute lobbying by Waubeeka Golf Links public owner Michael Deep, The Greylock Independent website, published by the non-profit Citizen Media Inc., published on Thursday a multi-question "unofficial voters guide" to a controversial issue that will face voters at the Williamstown Town Meeting next week.
Publication of the neutral-point-of-view voters guide came amid these developments:
- North Adams insurance broker and rental-property owner Michael Deep taped a 50-minute discussion about his 120-"unit" resort lodging proposal with Stanley Parese, his attorney. The program, viewable on Williamstown's public-access WiliNet channel, can also be viewed online (WATCH VIDEO). In the video, Parese runs through a description of the project, and Deep appears emotional at one point as he talks about his worry that a closing of the Waubeeka Golf Links could put 40 people out of jobs.
- At least three Williamstown residents reported that they had been recipients of what appeared to them to be survey or polling telephone calls in which the callers asked questions about the Waubeeka proposal and then made assertions about it. One of recipients said her caller-ID showed the call came from a Chicopee-area phone number. When GreylockNews.com called the number, a voice message was heard to say: "Research call center .... is not available ... please leave a message after the tone." An email to Parese asking if his client was the source of any polling calls was not returned. One of the three phone-call recipients said: "I too received a call from someone who said she represented the Waubeeka golf club and asked whether I supported it: when I made clear that I didn't know enough about the issue at the time to know what my position was on it, and that I didn't want to be lobbied, she said that if I wanted to find out more about it (with a clear sense that that meant why it was a good idea), I could call at a number she recited, but which I didn't record. Since I have no relation to the club that would make me a good person to encourage, I imagine that others were likely contacted as well."