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New Orleans WiFi
Jon Lebkowsky, 30 Nov 05

New Orleans will operate a free municipal wireless network, which Mayor Ray Nagin says "...will help speed the rebuilding of New Orleans as a better, safer and stronger city. This is how technology fuels collaboration, allowing our best ideas to come together so we can speak with one voice." The wireless network will also be more recoverable after a hurricane than wired telecommunications, and will provide ambient connectivity for law enforcement. [Link]

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And yet, today in the news:

-Average levels of arsenic that are 31 times higher than the level at which federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines require that soil in residential areas be cleaned up. Exposure to arsenic can cause a variety of cancers.

-The presence of banned pesticides in soil samples taken near an abandoned industrial facility in New Orleans' Gert Town neighborhood west of the French Quarter. Levels of pesticides such as DDT and dieldrin exceeded EPA cleanup standards.

-High levels of cancer-causing hydrocarbons from petroleum products near a federal toxic waste site in New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood northeast of the French Quarter. Tests found levels as much as 20 times higher than EPA cleanup standards.

New Orleans should not be rebuilt, at least not in its current location. They should be spending money on long-term risk assessment of contaminant exposure, not wasting money on wi-fi. They are focusing on the needs of the rich and on law enforcement, and neglecting the needs of the children, the group most impacted by long-term exposure to toxic chemicals. And that's not even considering the biological contaminants, the pervasive mold problem.

Posted by: Marrena Lindberg on 3 Dec 05

I think that setting up a free wireless network to do things like speed recovery of the city through expedited building permits isn't neglectful of the other issues. It is setting a model for how other cites could be in the future.

Posted by: Nick on 7 Dec 05



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