Tacoma’s Click network—the nation’s first publicly-owned Internet—was again threatened with privatization at a Sept. 14 meeting. The other option is for city taxpayers to pick up the tab for Tacoma Public Utilities, easily the wealthiest part of city government.
What arrogance! TPU management has run an incredibly strategic part of our city into ground. Has the time finally arrived for Tacoma to hold TPU leadership accountable for its failures?
TPU has all necessary means to make Tacoma competitive on a world-class basis by effectively developing Click’s potential. Nobody disputes TPU has a huge financial reserve. But there have been big questions about management’s shifty accounting to cook up “losses.” How long will Tacoma allow the tail to wag the dog?
Until we have capable TPU management committed to success, Click cannot triumph. Publicly owned Internet is too critical to Tacoma and our local economy to continue to entrust to bad leadership.
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The only success Click has had is due to Internet provider partners that have continued to grow their customer base. Until TPU leadership changes, Click should maintain the current partnership model with hometown ISPs. Whether deliberate or not, mismanagement is Click’s main problem.