Times have changed, but the recent announcement by the City’s Telecommunication and Technology Committee (T&T) activated my memory chip. It appears that the T&T Committee is in the process of developing plans for a “workshop to create a more Tech Friendly City featuring presentations by local business persons and citizens. Approximately 15 years ago, an earlier effort to promote greater use of “information and communication technology” (ICT) in our schools was initiated by a group of citizen volunteers that were motivated to address a growing concern between information
technology “haves” and “have-nots.”

The term digital divide was the buzz word of the mid-1990s and used by President Clinton and Vice President Gore as the Federal Government launched efforts to create policies and programs that would bridge this gap. The first NetDay was started in California, back in 1994, when only 3 percent of our classrooms and 14 percent of our schools were wired.

This earlier initiative was started on September 1, 1995, and called Petaluma Tech Corps; however, a national group called Tech Corps had also been created and they requested that we not use that name. No problem; our new project became known as PetalumaNet and our mission was to reach out to the communication for ideas, resources, and volunteers who would come together and mobilize their talents to meet this new challenge of our schools.

A core group of community leaders came together and started a journey along what soon became known as our nation’s Information Highway, and continued until the City of Petaluma established an official T&T Committee in 2005. Stay tuned as we retrace that journey and discover some of the “telecom-potholes” that were filled by concerned citizens from all sectors of Petaluma (Education, Business, Government, Health Care, and Non-profit Organizations).