As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Support Net Neutrality in California

The Michigan Democratic Party passed a net neutrality resolution as part of its platform over the weekend. This resolution is coming to California at the upcoming CDP convention, and I urge you to support it.

Like so many issues in recent years, given the paralysis at the federal level, states are stepping up to make progress on issues important to them. Today five Western governors, 4 Democrats and Arnold Schwarzenegger, agreed to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a cap-and-trade system. Net neutrality is almost the reverse of this process. Having been stymied somewhat at the federal level, telcos like AT&T and others are moving into the states with cable franchising bills and other pernicious legislation designed to codify a two-tiered Internet into state law. This is not acceptable, and we must work at the party level to ensure that a free and open Internet is preserved.

The text of the proposed resolution, which will be entered at the California Democratic Party convention in April, is nearly identical to the language of the Michigan resolution:

WHEREAS, the growth of a free and open internet has provided historic advances in the realms of communication, research and economic development; and

WHEREAS, to encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the internet, California consumers are entitled to access the lawful internet content of their choice without interference by their internet service providers; and

WHEREAS, to encourage the transformation of California's economy to meet future needs and to further the growth of California's technology industry, California businesses are entitled to, and require, open and unfettered internet access; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Lake County Democratic Central Committee supports passage of Net Neutrality legislation in California and at the Federal level.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California State Democratic Party adopt a position in favor of Net Neutrality in the State Party Platform.

An executive board member in Lake County has already entered in this resolution to the CDP. Now it's our turn. We know that Mark Leno has introduced a Net Neutrality bill in the Legislature. We need to show that he is supported by the party at the CDP sessions in April. There are something on the order of two dozen blogger delegates all over the state who will represent their communities in a couple months. There isn't anyone more able to carry forward this message to our fellow delegates and throughout the party than us. It's time to organize around this issue. We all know the stakes. An internet where content providers are charged for their services at different rates, essentially forced to bribe the gatekeepers to get their information out quickly and freely, will be crippling to the kind of innovation and purpose that has characterized the Internet from the beginning.

I imagine there will be a tremendous amount of organizing from the telcos to keep this language out of the platform, just as there was in Michigan. That's why it's so important to get the jump by making the case to the voters. I would suggest that you call your Assemblymembers on this one as well. An endorsement by the party will go a long way toward keeping enough legislators standing with us on this issue to get it passed.

Labels: , ,