Re: Tx Comptroller to host “town hall” [cr-95/10/28]


Sender: "Steve Eppley" <•••@••.•••>

>The Texas Comptroller is trying what may be a new level of online
>interactivity between government and citizens. I'd like to know what
>anyone thinks:
>> [Image]
>> My agency is committed to opening up communications between
>> government officials and the taxpayers they serve.

I'm glad to hear that Texas now has universal affordable access.  Cool.

Seriously...  I hope that this becomes the norm rather than the
exception.  And not just for government, but other organizations too.

Those who analyze the net using only free marketeer tools are
overlooking its benefits to society, as well as the qualitative leap
in democracy that only universal access can provide.  (There's a
discontinuity at the end of the curves.)

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    •••@••.•••)


Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

> This will be, I'm told, like a moderated newsgroup linked off the
> homepage. Mr. Sharp will also provide links (already up) to information
> aboout the current state budget and taxes.
>  Does anyone here know of any other government agency to try this sort
> of online discussion?

Yes.  The federal government has run at least two of them.  The first,
that I recall, was about the NII, and the second was on the Information
Superhighway, last May.  The first was such a frustration that I didn't
even try to participate in the second.

These events are electronic emulations of shouting matches.  There is
so much stuff generated that it is impossible to read it in real time.
There is no process for coming to any conclusions.  It was hard to
find a thread.  I don't think anything came of all that busy work.
What could come of it?

Sillier still, these events run contrary to the physics of cyberspace.
Cyberspace is suited to a fairly steady-state stream of communication.
Bursts like this always break the system.  The San Jose Mercury News
complained that people in the Silicon Valley couldn't participate in
the second event -- because the online meeting took down some links in
the net.

One has to be suspicious that when a government agency makes such
a half-hearted attempt at electronic democracy, that their motives
aren't exactly pure.  It's usually about P.R. at best, or a deliberate
attempt to obfuscate the real potential of our medium, at worst.

Maybe it'll make a little more sense on the state level, I don't know.

Marilyn                               *
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.-------------- * ---- eVote - online voting software
|                                 *       demo at (415) 493-8683       |
3790 El Camino Real, #147  *     *        Weekdays, 10-5 PST           |
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA     *   *         log in as "eVote" - no quotes.
(415) 493-3631 ------------- * * -------- •••@••.••• ------------

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
You are encouraged to forward and cross-post messages for non-commercial use,
pursuant to any redistribution restrictions included in individual messages.