ROCKSTROH: Newark stays a step ahead with on-line system ROCKSTROH: Newark stays a step ahead with on-line system By Dennis Rockstroh
NEWARK HAS done it again. The smallest of the FUN cities has scored a first on the information superhighway, leaving Fremont and Union City in the dust.

``It's always nice to stay a step ahead,'' said Newark's Mayor Dave Smith.

The vehicle that Newark used to speed to the front of the pack is called ``Newark On-Line.'' Its address is http://infolane.com/infolane/newark/ on the Internet's World Wide Web.

Newark's initial offering is 14 pages, but Mayor Dave said it will grow quickly as City Hall adds documents and services. For example, you will find city council and planning commission agendas now, but soon you can look up the minutes of meetings, check reports or sign up for recreation programs.

``It's kinda neat,'' said hizzoner, who does not have an Internet hookup at home but tried it out at City Hall.

When you first call up Newark On-Line, you will get a home page that tells you about the city. By clicking on highlighted words, you can zip to other Newark pages. The initial selections are: city officials, location and city statistics, economic development, business profiles, preliminary plan review process, city council agenda, planning commission agenda, history, Newarks of the world and guest book, where you can leave suggestions.

NEWARK On-Line got on the superhighway with the help of a Fremont company, Infolane. The company offered to get the three FUN cities on to the web for free. Fremont's version should be on in about two weeks and Union City is still pondering the offer.

If you have a computer, modem and an Internet account or on-line service with an Internet gateway, just sign on to Newark On-Line. If not, follow me and I'll show you the highlights.

First we click on ``City Officials.'' Shortly, the home page appears in red, white and blue. Next to the pictures of the mayor and council members are their voicemail telephone numbers.

To get to the next page, you have to return to the home page and click on your next choice.

Here's some of the other information you'll find: The average mean temperature of Newark is 57 degrees, average rainfall is 15 inches, the city covers 13 square miles and has 61 police officers, but only 16 cruisers and two motorcycles.

Newark has eight elementary schools, one intermediate school, one high school, 12 churches, eight banks and 10 parks. NEWARK'S median family income is $51,400. Its population is 57.5 percent white, 23 percent Hispanic and 15 percent Asian or Pacific Islander.

The city's major businesses are Cargill Salt, Nordstrom, Hewlett-Packard, Evergreen Oil & Vacuum Services, Inland Container, Sun Microsystems, Ross Stores and Nancy's Specialty Foods, the largest manufacturer of quiche in the world.

``We've been at the front end of a lot of things,'' Mayor Dave said. He mentioned televised council meetings, a city newsletter and the city's own radio station at 1610 AM.

Newark On-Line is just the beginning, said Mayor Dave, who envisions a future of enhanced communication and service for the 32,126 people of Newark.

``We can survey citizens. They can give us feedback,'' he said. ``And people will be able to do things like get building permits on-line. All we'd need is their Visa card number.''

Write Dennis Rockstroh at the Mercury News, 39355 California St., Suite 305, Fremont, Calif. 94538; phone (510) 790-7304; or fax (510) 790-7332. Send e-mail to DRockstroh@aol.com.

Published 3/12/95 in the San Jose Mercury News.

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