Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
That headline grabs you doesn't it? So did this one, when I read it yesterday morning: "San Jose Council votes down porn filters at public library computers." Yeah, that's the kind of headline that raises more than a few eyebrows in town, I'm sure. Who in tarnation is for allowing porn at public libraries?
Not so fast. The choice, after a year and a half of debate in the city, was more about the value of spending on costly and clumsy technology that often blocks out legitimate research versus putting money toward expanding library hours and hiring school crossing guards and sex-crime detectives. In other words, other things that protect and serve children in the community.
A councilman suggested the filters in October 2007 when it was learned that men were viewing sexually explicit material on library computers. But a fellow councilman, Sam Liccardo, compared filtering to "fighting a global naval strategy by deploying all our ships to Lake Tahoe."
I agree with Sam Liccardo. I don't think we should be sending ships to Lake Tahoe. Porn filters? I'll leave that decision to the locals.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.