Petition Away!

Posted February 5th, 2014 @ 7:31 AM by

After a full year of the City of Madison blocking electronic petitions, the signatures should start going through today! Yay! Unfortunately, how we got here was a little ugly.

I blogged about this on Monday, here’s the short story:
1. Last year there was a Pauly Heenan petition that allegedly crashed the system.
2. At that time the city redirected that petition to a gmail account.
3. It wasn’t clear that they were blocking all electronic petitions that they could and not redirecting those emails.
4. I did an electronic petition that had 200 signatures in 48 hours and none of them were received.
5. The emails were not redirect as some of the alders thought they would be.
6. Larry Palm was trying to sort this all out and was told:

It appears that we did not receive any messages from the site. As you may recall, this site overloaded our system during the Officer Heimsness issue, so we made some changes to our system to prevent this from happening again. However, none of the aforementioned changes caused these messages to be blocked.

7. I thought that was funny, contacted Alder Resnick and we discussed it and did a little test. I added my name to the petition and I got the emails. We started a new petition to Scott with two different email addresses, he didn’t get the city ones, but did get the non-city one.
8. Calls were made, requests for meeting ensued. And voila! New story . . .

From: Kronberger, Paul
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 10:18 AM
To: All Alders
Cc: Soglin, Paul; Miley, Sally; Crawley, Katie
Subject: Blocking Emails from Change.Org

To All Alders,

In regard to recent inquiries on the blocking of emails from, I thought it would be helpful to review what happened a year ago and also what we have subsequently put in place.
· In February of 2013 the City email system was overwhelmed by the on-line petition from This topic was the Police Officer involved shooting. The city email system received tens of thousands of emails generated by in a short period of time.
· In response to this, and after consulting with the Mayor’s Office, IT staff blocked emails from Staff also set up a special Gmail account and asked to redirect emails to that account. Police Department staff then monitored that account. This account was set up solely for this incident and not for any on-going general use.
· Shortly after that IT staff also put in place more sophisticated protection in the anti-spam system. These provisions monitor any large volumes of emails that might occur from any domain and automatically blocks them based on certain criteria. The original block on was not changed.
· IT staff have reviewed the current redundant protections. I feel it would be reasonable to remove the block on This has now been done. If the new provisions prove insufficient, we will address the issue as needed.

I have also attached the press release from a year ago for further background on this matter. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.


Hmmmmm. Lies, misdirection or incompetence? I can never tell. Irritating either way.

So, now I need some people to sign the petition and make sure they actually go through . . . please sign if you can!

Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media

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