OPINION Although it's only a "declaration of policy," Proposition J (the mayor's wi-fi initiative) is garnering a lot of opposition. Taken at face value, the initiative seems like a no-brainer: of course we should have free, high-speed wi-fi for everyone, with adequate privacy and no public money, right now. The initiative makes it sound like all we have to do is bend over and pick up the golden wi-fi network lying in the street. Like other stories about precious paving, though, the reality is considerably less shiny.
Over the past four years Mayor Gavin Newsom has enjoyed high poll ratings, but he has been unable to deliver any signature piece of legislation. His most celebrated actions were symbolic: marrying same-sex couples and walking the picket line with the striking hotel workers.
With only months to go before he is up for reelection, Newsom is hoping free wi-fi will be that signature bill. But unless he quickly changes his tactics, his legislation will go up in flames.
From the moment Newsom announced his wi-fi vision, the supervisors have been asking for input into the deal. Read more »