Well Layne and I did our digital divide presentation before the council. It went fine and we basically covered what I intimated in the last post: integrate digital divide support and education into the basic plan and bring neighborhood level end-users into the conversation early rather than expecting that any plan will succeed that is delivered to them. The main purpose was to start the public conversation and that seems to have succeeded—there was a long period of discussion between Benjamin, Williams, and Durel on whether or not the plan really had to incorporate digital divide or if it could be done in parallel. Benjamin waffled, Durel thought parallel was good and Williams plumped for incorporated. It was good to see people actually talking seriously about basic issues.
Bill LeBlanc stood up at the end and announced to the council that his group was going to start up a petition drive. I still have my grave doubts that it will actually happen (and am sure that it should not.) Leblanc confessed in response to a question that he wasn’t sure how many signatures would actually be required. He really needs to get straight about that. That response indicates that he isn’t sure what law governs. Trouble is, numbers aren’t the only differences between the three competing regimes (state law, home rule charter, and “fair” Competition act). They also impose very different conditions on the petition itself. They will not be interchangeable and signatures gather for one will not be good for another.