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It might be best not to give them any ideas. Like the periodic presidential announcement that the United States will put a man on Mars by the end of whatever decade it is, the new trend of mayoral WiFi initiatives may be merely a benign tumor on the polis—a silly, potentially wasteful idea that comes safely to nothing.
"There's no plan, no funding, no assignment of responsibility," says Townsend. "It's a shame because San Francisco has been pretty good on telecommunications. I see an opportunistic mayor trying to attach himself to a popular issue without really doing anything about it."
Three cheers to that. Let's just hope that when the time for grandstanding is over, the local government might really do the right thing and stop standing in the way of private companies looking to make an honest buck by providing 21st-century services.