March 17, 2010
Eric J. Perrodin, Mayor
City of Compton
205 S. Willowbrook Avenue
Compton, California 90220
RE: Access to Public Internet Web Sites
Dear Honorable Mayor Perrodin:
Together with countries of the world, theU.S.A. is in the midst of an amazing time regarding the legal uses of the Internet. This is a cyber tool created by our federal government and has some protection under the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution’s First Amendment; particularly as to how the public communicates, connects and gains access to it.
Just recently, the City of Compton created new guidelines that result in rigorously restricting public access to Internet web sites on Compton CareerLink managed computers. Our nonprofit, public benefit organization is a Compton CareerLink partner prescribed by Public Law 105-220—Workforce Investment Act of 1998—toward providing free employment/training/human services outreach services that includes web site outreach. Unfortunately, the City’s new ruling prohibits access to our community benefit service web sites, where if possible, we would like www.IStartOnMonday.com, www.BizPartnership.org, www.TheArtofBidding.com, and www.BlackSuppliers.com to have the City ofCompton reopen for access for public review.
Our organization deeply cares about the integrity and access to the Internet as an open communications platform for sharing opportunities for public benefit. In view of that, by working with Google, Microsoft and other search engine service providers, computers managed by the City can restrict public access to sites with obscenity, gambling, pornography and the like. However, it should be noted that countries like Tehran slow its public Internet access in advance of planned protests and China blocks entire regions from gaining access and nowhere in its’ country can cyber material discuss democracy. I point to these extreme examples to show the severity of what public censorship breeds. It was for visionary reasons like these that the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshal strongly advocated for the First Amendment. As he knew, without freedom of speech blacks would never stand a chance to overturn and eradicate the United States’ civil wrongs.
Equally,Compton should be aware of the increasing corporate greed causing a greater portion of underserved Americans from gaining affordable access to the Internet. Last year, the U.S. Congress set aside $7.2 billion in stimulus grants to connect millions of Americans struggling to get online, but companies like AT&T and Comcast said “no” — refusing to take part in the effort. In contrast, the advanced technology offered by the Internet has most commercial enterprises requiring employment candidates to apply for job opportunities via their corporate web sites. Consequently, America’s economic recovery hinges on open access to the Internet for everyone, not some. This is why the Obama Administration fought and just announced a plan to spend $8 billion into the construction of new broadband Internet networks around the nation.
Respectfully, it is my request that you reconsider your restriction guidelines and allow the Compton CareerLink to grow as an interconnection of government, education, and enterprise networks on the Internet. Without it, the people’s growth in the City of Compton is limited and an uninformed community is an unsafe and uneducated place to live, work and play.
Dean L. Jones