Here's a copy of a "letter" I just emailed my city council representative.
Dear Councilmember Oliviero:
As a member of District 6, I have voted for you (twice!) and appreciate the attention you have paid to local issues, especially your support of the Willow Glen Spur Trail. Today when I visited the Willow Glen library, I was asked to sign a petition supporting pornography filters in the library. I am writing to urge you to vote “no” and keep flawed software from interfering with our right to access valid information.
I am a professional software developer, and know all too well that any consumer product is riddled with bugs. Censoring is a particularly difficult problem, and too often “false positives” are blocked along with the desired targets. I still remember my experiences with a similar filter at my high school, which was intended to block pornography but also kept students from accessing web sites for minor political parties, foreign news sources covering the war in Bosnia, and a wide range of health issues.
I’m certain that you will hear many voices asking you to take the politically easy road and support censorship in our libraries. Please know that, while nobody wants children to view pornographic images, using software filters on public computers is not the right way to achieve this goal, and will hurt the ability of thousands to access information.
Thank you for your support.
I think this has been an ongoing controversy for a little while... I vaguely recall reading an article a few years ago about a dispute involving the head of the San Jose library system. One of the (few!) downsides of my vendetta against the Mercury News is that I no longer am plugged into local issues as much. Anyways. This is one of those things that drives me nuts - people are very effective at framing the issue such that it sounds like the only choices are censoring the Internet or saying that you support child pornography. I have no idea how this vote will go, but I really hope that our elected representatives have the political courage and respect for our traditions to keep free access in our libraries.