Randy Roebuck, in a presentation at the Wichita city council workshop, promoted the idea of a “digital oasis” in Wichita. It would be a place where people can go to get free help with technologies such as cell phones and computers.
He told of how an Apple Genius Bar does things like this. Council member Jim Skelton asked who runs an Apple Genius Bar? Apple Computer Corporation, of course.
Later council member Paul Gray continued with questions based on Skelton’s. Why not an Apple Genius Bar in Wichita? Why is the city competing with private business? City officials insist they are not trying to compete with private business. Instead, it’s a resource for training and education.
Council member Jeff Longwell said this idea is “on the right path,” as long as it doesn’t cost a lot.
Lavonta Williams said this will attract a different group of people to downtown Wichita. She said it’s something we need.
Mayor Carl Brewer mentioned that not everyone who would want to use a facility like this might not be able to afford its cost. He didn’t mention that someone else should pay for them, but that’s what this program will do.
“It’s part of creating an environment where we have everything that anybody could possibly want. … If the private sector’s really wanting to get out there and they’re willing to invest their dollars and they want to start their business, we should let them.”
This illustrates the mayor’s — and several other council members’ — vision of an expansive city government, providing for citizen needs all the way through arts, entertainment, and now computer tech support.
Then there’s the mayor’s language that we (Wichita city government) should let the private sector do something. I really hope the mayor misspoke here.
This is a bad idea. It seems to me that there may be people in Wichita city hall with too much time on their hands if they have time to come up with ideas like this.
View the video of the portion of the city council workshop where this presentation was made by clicking on Wichita city council workshop, March 24, 2009.
The slides shown to the council members aren’t available on the city’s website, to my knowledge. I captured them from video, and they may be viewed by clicking on Wichita City Arts tech studio presentation.
Read Wichita Eagle reporting by clicking on Cyber Alliance plans to offer free technical training. reporting on KWCH is at Wichita Considers “Digital Oasis”.
They seem to think we’re helpless!