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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  December 1994, Week 1

COMMUNET December 1994, Week 1

Subject:

Re: civic net for Santa Cruz, CA

From:

Bill Russell <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Communet: Community and Civic Network Discussion List

Date:

Wed, 30 Nov 1994 21:21:15 LCL

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (78 lines)

Hi Alan,
 
Welcome to Communet!  I am a City Councilor in a much smaller coastal
town.  In our case, I am the activist trying to get a community
network started; but the problems of convincing arguments are the
same.
 
> I am new to this discussion group.  I am a non-City employee
> working on a proposal to the Santa Cruz City Council to set up a
> local network. The initial phase would be just an information
> server, but with interactive sessions and email later on.  I am
> interested in any input from this group as to best strategies.
 
The tack I have taken has been to show the stakeholders what
the network could do for them.  For example, one of our City
Recorder's main problems is to find the time to respond to Public
Records information requests.  The result is that minutes of meetings
are delayed unacceptably.  This leads to an argument for the other
councilors that if more of the public records were available for the
public to search for themselves, she would spend less time on it and
thus the minutes would get done quicker.  Other arguments need to be
found for other people.  If the Public Meetings law allows, perhaps
we could save money on advertizing the meetings of various boards and
commissions by posting notice on the community network.
 
>
> The biggest problem is convincing people that the net is worth
> diverting scarce resources from other services that the City needs to
> provide.  Any recommendations about possible funding sources would be
> appreciated.
>
> The City has a complete Novell network (with TCP/IP) connecting all
> City offices and the community is very well connected to the Internet,
 
In this, you differ significantly from our case.  There are zero
Internet points of presence that are a local phone call here.  Our
people must pay at least ten cents per minute IN ADDITION to the
connect fee.  The BBS that is going to be our first Community Network
as soon as I get it figured out will provide e-mail connectivity to
the Internet via Fidonet in addition to the information server
function.
 
Another good argument is increased access to decision makers for the
citizens.  Being well connected to the Internet, the people will be
easily able to leave e-mail for Planning Commissioners, City Manager,
Councilor etc.  With TCP/IP, I think e-mail is almost free, do not
postpone it.
 
Discussion list processing is also very valuable in building
community.  Remember you are not building just a community network,
the real job is to build community.  So many of your people must
commute over that horrible Highway 17 that it is hard to find times
when the right people can be in the same place at the same time.  A
discussion list largely decouples the discussion from the clock and
the map.  Just as we are doing here, you ask a question
 
> but the City is not on the Internet due to cost constraints.  The City
> uses Word Perfect and getting public documents to an information server
> is an obstacle at this time.
 
Balderdash!  Every version of WordPerfect since 4.2 has had the
capability to output a document as an ASCII file which can be
directly uploaded to any information server I ever heard of.  Our
City Recorder uses Display Write on an IBM System 36 and I expect
that to be some challenge, but I'm sure it can be done.  But since I
teach WordPerfect, I know that with WordPerfect there is not even a
challange.
 
 
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
[log in to unmask]
William P. (Bill) Russell
vox: 503-347-3683   fax:  503-347-6303
snail mail:      P.O.Box 2029
                 Bandon, OR 97411
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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