local governments and independent civic websites

I’m beginning to think about my presentation at the American Society

for Public Administration conference next Monday. (Click for the practical

details.) My title is "Local Governments and Independent Civic

Websites." I submitted the following abstract: "Communities

benefit when they have strong, broad-based, active, civic organizations.

Today, there is a need for new civic organizations or networks that are

devoted to producing public goods for distribution on the Internet: things

like searchable databases of local assets, interactive digital maps, structured

forums for informed public deliberation, alternative local news sources,

and art and history projects. These goods are not widely available, because

businesses have not learned how to make money from them, and they are

too expensive to be produced by individual citizens. However, for a reasonable

price, local governments can support such work without compromising its