Early in 1993, more than a dozen people from across
Westchester County sat down for the first meeting of the Advisory Council on
Technology and Public Access in the offices of County Clerk Andrew Spano. We
came from various backgrounds -- education, law, architecture, medicine,
government, the computer industry, among other walks of life.
We all realized that the revolution in information, computers and
communications would have a dramatic impact on the county and our way of life.
We also realized that no group of citizens was looking into what those impacts
would be and how we might control them. We took this task upon ourselves.
In 1994, the decision was made to transform this council into a
not-for-profit citizenship association, the Westchester Alliance For
Telecommunications and Public Access (WATPA).
WATPA intends to distinguish itself by being an organization of citizens from
across Westchester County and thus speaks from the perspective of the public at
large -- not any particular business or other interests. In a world in which
knowledge about these issues is both fast changing and difficult to locate,
WATPA is also a central source of expertise. Reflecting the first two features
of WATPA, it will work to provide the people of Westchester County with
objective advice and knowledge -- unaffected by any financial interest in the
Going back to our original mission statement, WATPA is dedicated to serving the community at large,
educational organizations, business and government for the following educational
and community purposes:
- to provide a forum for the discussion of policy issues relating to public,
business, government and educational access to emerging new telecommunications
and information "highways", technology and services in Westchester;
- find ways of accelerating the growth of inter-connected networks within the
- assure the general public's access to those networks, no matter where they
live or their social or economic circumstances;
- help educate the public about the coming information age;
- be a resource for public and private agencies, officials and members of the
news media who want to understand how the people of Westchester County can
benefit from and direct the information revolution;
- maintain liaison and work with organizations outside of the county who are
also concerned about these issues.