Local House members grok the “series of tubes”

honda.jpgThe Congressional Management Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consulting and research outfit Washington, D.C., has singled out a few Bay Area lawmakers for having some of the best Web sites in Congress.

The 2006 Gold Mouse Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill evaluated the sites of 538 Senate and House Members, 64 committees, and 13 legislative leaders. Only 85 Web sites were singled out for recognition — 18 won Gold, 27 won Silver and 40 won Bronze Mouse Awards. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, earned Gold; Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, earned Silver; and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, earned Bronze.

Not winning any awards: U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who famously likened the Internet to “a series of tubes.”

The report and awards are part of the foundation’s broader research project, “Connecting to Congress,” funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. CMF partnered with researchers from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; the University of California, Riverside; and Ohio State University to study how members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process. Web sites were graded on how well they incorporate five basic building blocks that extensive research has identified as critical for effectiveness: audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation. Read the full report here.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

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