Newsom loves the poor. Huh.


By Tim Redmond

I'm a little late on this; somehow, I missed it when it came out. But Leftinsf picked it right up: Mayor Newsom is against municipal Wi-Fi because he doesn't want to hurt the poor:

"I'm not going to take $10 million from poor people to pay for something that a private company has offered to pay for," [Newsom said], suggesting money for a system owned or part-owned by city government would take money from social programs.

Three things, Mr. Mayor (if you are bothering to read this from Davos, Switzerland, where all those needy poor people hang out):

1. Broadband infrastructure is a public-works project, like streets and sewers. It's the sort of thing that governments spend tax dollars on.

2. Why do we have to take money from the poor? Are you utterly opposed to taxing the rich?

3. You've managed to put money into all sorts of other projects in the city. Sasha at leftinsf nicely notes that the mayor was prepared to put a 50 cent tax on everyone's monthly phone bill to pay for his 311system. Sasha explains::

Now here’s the thing: Did he send out an RFP for the 311 system asking companies to do it for free? I’m sure that if every 311 call could have a 15 second ad at the beginning he could have gotten some company to pay for it!

If Newsom had proposed to make some private company responsible for the system that is supposed to be the one stop shop for San Franciscans looking for city information, with no standards for service, no guarantee that it would always be available, and allowing people willing to pay extra priority access to the number, San Franciscans would rightly react very badly. Instead, we are paying for it ourselves, because the quality of that information and the idea that everyone should have equal access to our government is a core San Francisco value.