While expanding on one of the answers on the 2008 news quiz – it was one group’s concern about the safety of WiFi that caused a controversy in Sebastopol – I wrote that the City Council “backed down” from its opposition to WiFi.
But I was incorrect. It turns out the council said it would reconsider its opposition to the WiFi contract, but according to City Manager David Brennan, the council never got around to scheduling the issue for further discussion.
As Sandi Maurer, a leader in the opposition to WiFi, emphasized in a note to me: Sebastopol has not agreed to let the Internet provider Sonic.net install a free network in the city.
As happens in Sebastopol, this unlikely controversy has a tangled history. The City Council originally approved the contract.
Then it rescinded its approval after a group of residents complained that WiFi technology is a danger to public health.
Then, when another group of residents complained about the loss of WiFi service and the city became the butt of Internet jokes, the council said it would review the contract a second time.
But it hasn’t happened, perhaps because a majority of the new council isn’t prepared to support the contract.
With a new council onboard, Brennan told me this morning he would ask Mayor Sarah Gurney whether she wants to schedule a new discussion.
About returning to the original decision to approve the contract, Brennan said, “They haven’t reversed another 180 degrees; they haven’t done a 360 yet.”