Broadband redlining; Silicon Valley's biggest political donors; and more.

  • “Innovators don’t wait for crises”: Luke Fretwell, co-founder and CEO of ProudCity, pitches govtech to TechCrunch readers, writing, “According to Government Technology, state governments will spend $47 billion in IT and local governments $52 billion in 2016—a 3.25 percent and 2.5 percent increase, respectively, over 2015. Couple this with a long tail of 19,000 cities, 89,000 agencies, 3,000 counties, 98,000 schools and 119,000 libraries, and the opportunity is there to enjoy entrepreneurial success, disrupt the seemingly impossible and, as Tim O’Reilly says, work on stuff that matters.”

  • Digital divides: A week ago, Harold Feld published a blog post on Wet Machine on Cleveland and “Broadband Redlining,” in which he writes, “if you live in the right neighborhood in Cleveland, AT&T will offer you broadband access literally 1,000 times faster than what is available in other neighborhoods in Cleveland. Unsurprisingly for anyone familiar with the history of redlining, the neighborhoods with crappy broadband availability are primarily poor and primarily African American.” Feld argues that every city should replicate the mapping exercise by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) that made this information available, and that we need to take steps to prevent profit-driven companies from acting like profit-driven companies.

  • This weekend, Kate Oh dug into the data a bit harder and created more visualizations in an attempt to make something “compelling, politically useful, and relevant to the people of Cuyahoga County.” She writes, “I think the far more pressing advocacy priority right now is something else: deeply resourced statistical analysis of the FCC data. I mean: the kind that can catalyze public broadband proposals, involvement from the civil rights community, Congressional oversight hearings, federal investigations, and even whispers of litigation — then waves of media coverage that would motivate busy members of the public to check it out for themselves.” Begging complexity and restrictions on her time, she posts “without further commentary” two scatter plots that illustrate the extent to which broadband speeds correspond to higher incomes and more white people.

  • Meanwhile, in Europe, the president of the European commission wants to make available free wireless internet in the “main centers of public life,” like parks, libraries, and public squares, “in every European village and every city” by 2020, Kristen Bahler reports for Money.

  • Crypto-wars, continued: Barton Gellman breaks down the ways in which the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report on Edward Snowden is “aggressively dishonest.”

  • Roy Greenslade writing for The Guardian is one of a number of people calling out the Washington Post for arguing “no pardon for Edward Snowden” after “eagerly” accepting a Pulitzer Prize for the reporting they did based on material Snowden provided.

  • Glenn Greenwald wrote for the Intercept: “If the Post editorial page editors really believe that PRISM was a totally legitimate program and no public interest was served by its exposure, shouldn’t they be attacking their own paper’s news editors for having chosen to make it public, apologizing to the public for harming their security, and agitating for a return of the Pulitzer? If the Post editorial page editors had any intellectual honesty at all, this is what they would be doing—accepting institutional responsibility for what they apparently regard as a grievous error that endangered the public—rather than pretending that it was all the doing of their source as a means of advocating for his criminal prosecution.”

  • Follow the money: The Hill’s David McCabe profiles Silicon Valley’s biggest political donors.

  • What sharing economy? Alissa Quart, editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project—a Civic Hall organizational member—reports for The Nation on a growing trend: American schoolteachers living double lives—as Uber drivers. And this trend is no accident; Uber has marketed the job with slogans like “Teachers: Driving Our Future” and has offered teacher-specific bonuses. “Uber has promoted its teacher/driver initiative as an act of civic altruism, a perfect private-sector remedy to the failures of the public sphere,” Quart writes. “Yet beneath this feel-good veneer, there’s a far more troubling reality: Teachers like Matt Barry are “asked to do more with less” because the public, and the politicians who represent us, don’t value teachers enough to pay them more. This has been true since the dawn of this country’s modern education system. But the consequences have grown particularly acute in boom regions like Silicon Valley, where the mismatch between teacher salaries and local housing costs has become ever more pronounced. In these places, wealthy residents shell out for custom-built houses with swimming pools and “super basements” but are rarely willing to pay higher taxes so that their teachers can afford to pay rent.”

  • “More than 70,000 square feet of Palo Alto retail and restaurant space were lost to office space from 2008 to 2015, as the tech bubble drove demand for commercial space downtown,” writes Nicole Perlroth for the New York Times, reporting on how the tech scene has hurt Silicon Valley’s restaurant scene.

  • Watch: Starting at 9am ET this morning you can livestream Civic Hall’s mini-conference on “Rethinking Debates.” The conference will focus on innovations that debate producers, participants, and viewers can apply to election debates at every level of government, and will feature, journalists, debate producers, and representatives from online platforms. Full schedule here.

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