Comcast and SBC might want to put down the two tin cans and string
they are using as a telephone system.
Then they can have their money men glance at a map. The Tri-Cities
are the little dots to the left of Chicago. Look for the thin blue
wavy line that denotes the Fox River. Take the map, write "Never
Again" in big red, permanent marker, and hand it out to all
of the corporate decision-makers who somehow believe their genetic
superiority enables them to know more about local people and local
politics than the poor souls who live here.
Hey guys, exactly what were you thinking?
A push poll? One that asks if you would pay for your neighbor's
porn? If you will trade teachers for high-speed Internet? If you
want Big Brother listening to your telephone conversations?
All you managed to do was offend your customers...again.
Comcast and SBC provide Internet, telephone and cable television
service to central Kane County. Some Tri-Cities officials think
they can do it better, and seek your permission to take out at least
a $53 million loan backed by your tax dollars to build their own
telephone, Internet and cable television system. Together, computer
types call it broadband.
The Tri-Cities initiative must really have Comcast and SBC worried.
Nothing else explains the monumental short-sightedness used last
week with a telephone survey designed to push voters into a rabid
frenzy against their towns.
The survey was written to intimidate voters and drum up opposition
to the Tri-Cities broadband initiative. Why else ask if voters would
support a large, expensive, ineffective bloated bureaucracy like
that of Amtrak and the Post Office? Why else ask your opinion of
mayors Sue Klinkhamer, Kevin Burns and Jeff Schielke, and if they
are leading their communities in the right direction?
Fact is, a cheap newspaper subscription to the Chronicle would
tell anyone who suffered through a PoliSci 101 class that the heavens
would have to be in majestic alignment for this broadband initiative
Consider some facts:
- People do not like taxes.
Tax money would be used to support Tri-Cities broadband before
it would become a user-fee system.
- Despite popular belief, Tri-Cities officials are not in lock-step
supporting the referendum and some of the top leaders believe
it will fail.
- Most people understand Internet, telephone and cable television
service. Most people don't understand broadband. Take an unfamiliar
concept, put six zeros behind it, and watch voters punch "No."
Comcast and SBC did not gather any information not already available.
What they did do is give fence-sitters a reason to vote "Yes."
Greg Rivara is the Kane County Chronicle
Managing Editor. He can be contacted directly at (630) 845-5355
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please read the letter to the editor which
rebuts some of what Mr. Rivara has published in this opinion column.