in Civics Classes Mirrors Decline in Youth Vote": this is a pretty
good article on youth civic engagement in yesterday’s Boston Globe.
I gave a paper today at the American
Society for Public Administration‘s Annual Conference, arguing that
local governments should support independent voluntary associations
in producing elaborate websites with databases, interactive maps,
searchable archives, researched and edited articles, structured deliberation
forums, and streaming videos. I believe that local governments can and
should help in some of these ways:
- Providing modest grants and technical assistance. Even a total pool
of grant money on the order of $100,000 in a county of (say) one million
people would catalyze a lot of good work
- Publicizing the availability of relevant information that can be put
online in enhanced and creative formsinformation such as GIS mapping
data, historical records, and photographs.
- Regulating local Internet service providers (ISP’s), especially cable
companies, to ensure that they do not provide services that discriminate
against nonprofits or against people who want to create their own websites.
If an ISP were to block you from visiting a particular site, you would
switch carriers (as long as there was a choice). But ISPs can discriminate
more subtly by speeding up content from certain favored commercial sites
and slowing down other sites, by making certain portals and search engines
the defaults for their users, by making it artificially slow to transmit
- Creating state-of-the-art local information networks (especially wireless
ones) that provide cheap access and do not discriminate on the basis
of the type of content transmitted.