Re: VICE: US ‘Broadband’ Joke, Guerilla MeshNets Fiber/RF Community P2P NOW!
grarpamp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 2 23:21:29 PDT 2021
GovCorp stole your money, and refused to build it.
Obviously you should have, and still must, build it yourselves.
When we think of corrupt American cities, Chicago always tops the
list. However, San Francisco has long had one of the more corrupt
American civic governments. However, because the City was still better
managed than Chicago, nobody really commented on that fact.
A Twitter thread about the City’s “stupidvisors” (as I’ve always
called them), turning down free internet access highlights just how
corrupt they are.
I worked in San Francisco for several decades and spent a great deal
of that time dealing with City Hall through the judicial system. It
was an enormously frustrating place, with byzantine rules, clerks that
spoke minimal English, and few corrupt judges. However, that was small
potatoes compared to the Building Department. I knew a man who made a
very rich living contracting his services out to people who were
trying to build or remodel in San Francisco. If you didn’t have an
expensive guide to handle the rules and grease people’s palms, you’d
never get anything done.
Perhaps the greatest corruption, though, was at the political level,
among the Supervisors, elected representatives from each San Francisco
neighborhood. I never heard stories about these people demanding money
for initiatives, although I’m sure some did. The real corruption was
ideological. In the 1960s and 1970s, these Supervisors were mostly
Democrats. Starting in the 1980s and moving to the present day, the
Supervisors (or, as I said, Stupidvisors) were leftists, even if they
still used the old Democrat label.
That’s why I was completely unsurprised when I read Chris Sacca’s
Twitter thread about his efforts to give free internet to the City of
San Francisco. Everything he writes is consistent with my
understanding of how the San Francisco government operates. I’ll stop
now and let Sacca take up the narrative:
15 years ago, I co-led a team trying to give 100% free Internet
access to all of San Francisco starting with the poorest neighborhoods
first. The network would be anonymous, with no ads, no cookies, etc.
Approximately a $20-25 million gift. The result? We were chased out of
— Chris Sacca 🇺🇸 (@sacca) March 28, 2021
The thread continues (emphasis ours):
One SF Supervisor told us she would vote against it unless we
promised to fund quarterly field trips (eg to the zoo) for the kids in
Another promised to vote against it because we wouldn’t give free
laptops to all of SF.
One Supe rejected it because poor people needed “training to use the Net.”
Countless low/no-income residents spoke at hearings about how they
had computers and knew how to use the web, but couldn’t afford
Comcast. Supes mansplained back to those very people that they were
We built a demonstration network in a public housing project in
Hunters Point. It was saturated with use. Those residents testified
that laptops and phones weren’t expensive, cable and data plans were
the problem. The Supes just couldn’t accept that those people were Net
Ultimately, one Supervisor told us straight up: He didn’t care
what this meant for the people of his district, he was blocking it
because it would give the mayor a win in a political year.
He was the deciding vote and I will never forget what he said...
“Stop lecturing me about the digital divide, because I don’t
give a fuck. Now get the hell out of my office.”
Our team walked out stunned, sat in the lobby of City Hall, and
realized it was over.
My partners and I had done Q&A sessions in every Supe’s district
and in community and senior centers all over town. Support for the
network was off the charts, particularly among those who needed it
most. But it was clear that the Supes didn’t care about poor San
They wouldn’t listen to their own constituents. They perpetuated
racist tropes and demeaning stereotypes about their poorest residents.
And for what? It was all a big game to the politicians. The winners
were the Supes’ egos and the losers were the people they supposedly
San Francisco is a wonderful city that I was lucky to call home
for years. But I’ve never seen any place in the world better at
cutting off its nose to spite its face. My heart aches for what that
city was and could be. Cheers to those of you still trying to help.
Epilogue: After SF rejected our offer, we built a free, city-wide
network in Mountain View, CA. About 12-15,000 people used it every day
for years. The majority of them spoke Spanish as their primary
language and told us they couldn’t afford regular Internet access.
Once upon a time, San Francisco had functional corruption – it
existed, both financially and morally, but it wasn’t so bad that it
prevented the City from getting things done. Once the old-fashioned
Democrats retired, though, and the hard-leftists moved in, San
Francisco began its slow slide into dysfunctional leftism. Sacca is
describing events from 15 years ago, but there’s no reason to believe
that things are any different in the once beautiful City by the Bay.
As long as leftists are in charge, it will be governed by people who
are racist, power-hungry, arrogant, and short-sighted.
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