Fad Lovers II

Like ultra-self conscious junior high schoolers, city officials are suckers for fads. Forget addressing the core issues of local government–sewers, schools, and roads are boring! These folks want to do what’s cool. And right now what’s cool is giving your city Wi-Fi access. Recently cities like San Francisco, Philadelphia, Portland, and Houston have said they want to do it. And now this:

A Milwaukee firm is leading an effort to create a citywide wireless computer network, a $20 million-plus initiative that could leapfrog the city to the front of a national push to create such systems, city officials said Wednesday. Midwest Fiber Networks would construct the system at no cost to taxpayers – a key selling point for the cash-strapped city. The firm and its partners could even end up paying the city money to lease space in the city-owned underground conduit system. Officials could also seek free wireless access in all parks or housing projects as part of the arrangement. “This is an exciting proposition for the city,” said Mayor Tom Barrett, who has had informal discussions with the company. He said it could lead to Milwaukee being the “first American city to become totally wireless at no cost to the taxpayers of the city.”

Yeah, and how abut that wastewater system (p.4)! Anyone? (crickets) Milwaukee is one city that could actually brag about wastewater. Perhaps city leaders are now entitled to be a bit frivolous? Article here. Why muni Wi-Fi isn’t such a cool idea here.