Mountain View Voice

Opinion - February 8, 2013

A word about Google WiFi and Steven Nelson

by Sam Player

I spotted an interesting confluence of printed words appearing in the February 1issue of the Voice.

First, a front-page story about future improvements to Google's (free!) WiFi network in Mountain View. While the headline seemed to indicate praise for the actions to be taken by Google to enhance its (free!) service, the bulk of the article was dedicated to giving "voice" to the complaints of three Mountain View residents about the quality of the (free!) service and the effect on their lives when the (free!) service is not up to their satisfaction.

Are complaints over a free service actually newsworthy? Does the Voice really want to encourage this type of dissent toward one of our city's vitally important employers?

I, for one, am very appreciative of Google, the (free!) internet it provides our city, the increase in the value of my home due to its presence here, the recent $1 million donation it made to our school district and the millions more in local tax revenue it adds to our city's coffers.

Did I neglect to mention this service is provided free? For those who are disappointed in the quality of the free lunch they're being served at Google's expense, operators at Comcast, DirecTV, AT&T and many others are standing by to relieve you of your cash.

Later in the issue, I read a letter to the editor from recently elected MV-Whisman School District Board member Steven Nelson, airing his grievances with the district superintendent to the Voice in an attempt, I can only assume, to gain public favor for his position.

The citizens of Mountain View elected Mr. Nelson to the school board to engage the superintendent on the issues important to him, his constituency and the schools he represents. It is disappointing to me that airing his views to the Voice is his chosen method of negotiation with the officials with which he was elected to work.

The convergence I see in these two issues is this: Mr. Nelson was victorious in his bid for school board over Voice-endorsed candidate Jim Pollart.

It was Pollart who was the tireless volunteer leader of the successful "Save Shoreline" campaign to divert millions of dollars in revenues from the Shoreline Community property tax district into our city's schools last year. An overwhelming share of those revenues are paid by Google.

Meanwhile, the chosen approach to problem-solving by the candidate who beat him out for that school board seat is arrow-slinging in the local newspaper.

I encourage all Mountain View residents to remember this issue of the Voice the next time they consider complaining over the next gift they receive, and also when considering their ballot choices in future elections to determine our city's key leaders. We can do better.

Sam Player lives on Ashley Place and is not a Google employee.

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