Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dome of Delay

Select Board meeting: first aired two days later

Now I understand the frustration our neighbors to the north feel--what we locals call "the hilltowns"--having to live without high speed wireless Internet.

The Amherst Police Station was a state of the art building at birth 20 years ago when wireless did not exist. Since then Amherst, Mass has become one of the very few municipalities in the nation to provide free wireless to the citizenry with a wide swath of the downtown covered, including Town Hall (where Select Board meetings usually occur) and the Police Station, except for the "Community Room".

About twenty years ago the state started pressuring cities and towns to make all municipal buildings handicapped accessible--especially those that host public meetings. That edict was even used as ammunition for the expensive Town Hall renovation Override 15 years ago, although it failed to convince voters both times at the ballot box. (Town Meeting eventually took out a $3 million renovation loan and former Town Manager Barry Del Castilho--not to mention his secretary who he later married--got a fancy new office.)

Wireless Internet is fast becoming the norm, like handicapped accessibility or air conditioning.But a journalist's age old prime directive remains the same: enforce the people's right to know. And in this digital era, interested people also have a right to get it instantly.
Meanwhile, 2.5 hours later in the meeting...


Anonymous said...

Larry, UMass is providing the free-to-you WiFi -- and as a result, I have to put up with wired access so slow that my computer keeps asking me if I wish to connect a different way.

Anonymous said...

You're welcome....

-Your Friend