Andrew Rasiej is an obscure candidate running for an arcane office: He's campaigning to be the Democratic nominee in the race for New York City's public advocate office. Rasi Wireless_3 ej (pronounced "ra-SHAY," like Shea Stadium, he likes to tell New Yorkers) is running on a one-issue platform: increasing New York City's wireless Internet infrastructure. In fact, Rasiej is calling for wi-fi and cellphone Web access for every home, business and school in the city.

Rasiej's campaign was given a major boost this week, when New York Times' world affairs columnist Thomas Friedman lauded his effort to focus on wi-fi access. Rasiej subsequently discussed his wi-fi platform on WNYC (fourth item). Friedman writes:

A new generation of politicians is waking up to this issue...If, God forbid, a London-like attack happens in a New York subway, don't trying calling 911. Your phone won't work down there. No wireless infrastructure. This ain't Tokyo, pal.

Rasiej wants NYC to follow Philadelphia, where the city isn't waiting for private service providers to increase access. Officials there are treating wi-fi Internet access like other city services such as water and sewer lines. And if New York is successful, he says, local officials everywhere will follow: "If New York City goes wireless, the whole country goes wireless," Rasiej says.

NYT: Calling All Luddites

Also: Advocates for Rasiej