Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2016

Here’s the tenth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater for 2016. The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions are available for comparison.

The list runs in reverse order, from mildly frightening to truly scary.

10. It’s Gremlins. Ordinarily, people assume that the success or failure of government policy rests with government officials. That makes sense, and follows thousands of years in which history has assigned responsibility and accountability to those who hold power.

Listen in Whitewater, however, and you’ll hear that our several challenges come from the location of the city, the people in the city, the people outside the city, the people who might once have heard about the city, or capitalists, socialists, Methodists, whatever…

None of that is true.

The truth is that things go wrong in Whitewater because tiny gremlins interfere with otherwise self-promoting noble efforts of taxpayer-supported bureaucrats public servants to advance this community.

The existence of these creatures has been known for over seventy years, but seldom publicized to avoid widespread panic in the city.

I’ve obtained documentary footage that Warner Bros. produced in 1943 for the United States Government, so that Pres. Roosevelt and leading figures in the nation might better understand the gremlin threat. They’re devious little creatures, to be sure.

Accountability, shamountability… it’s been gremlins all along.

9. Potholes.  Back again as a problem, and at this rate it might as well become a perennial. Whitewater’s spending often looks like that of a fashion model, who purchases clothes to look good but forgets (or doesn’t care) to eat properly. A building here, a building there, but few jobs from them and few good roads from place to place.

It screams to visitors: the fundamentals aren’t right.

8. Opinion.  It’s as though officials were too fearful to find it on their own.  In a small Midwestern town, it somehow takes a survey company, or a polling company, to let officials know what residents would like.  No one can ask on his or her own?  What’s the point of being an insider – a sophisticated, highly-connected, smooth-talking swell – if one does not know in one’s very bones what the community wants?

The Founders didn’t have School Perceptions or Polco for their towns, let alone their colonies, but they were able to gauge community sentiment well enough.  We don’t need a knock-off version of Gallup to get the job done.

    Perfect for exploring the town that pays one’s salary.

For a small amount per person, full-time leaders in this city should be outfitted with a pair of stylish and comfortable Hush Puppies, and told to walk about and see the town in which most of them live.

All it takes is a willingness to walk around – unobtrusively – and listen to what people are saying, and to watch how residents and visitors shop in town.

If one’s working (assuming one is working) at the Municipal Building and cannot for tell for days that oil is leaking into Cravath Lake, a bit of walking around might be the answer.

7.  Tenure.  It must not be what it’s cracked up to be, because leaders are heading for the door as soon as they can.  The big question in Whitewater used to be ‘how long have you lived here?’  The new questions might as well be ‘do you live here at all?’ and ‘if so, how long do you plan on staying?’

I love this small town, and cannot imagine being anywhere else.  It’s coldly disappointing that others don’t see the same.

6. Department Heads.  Department heads must be scary, because they get just about anything they want, whatever the cost.  They may receive a few questions, but the check arrives for the requested amount, just the same.

5. Vendors. Even scarier than department heads.  A consultant or vendor shows up, talks down to everyone in the room as though the audience were drunk or deranged, and people scamper around (including department leaders) to give the vendor whatever he wants.  

4. Cannibalism.  Rather than work together, internal strife divides municipal departments.  It’s not always outsiders they’re concerned about – it’s often each other.  Problems don’t come from conflicts outside the Municipal Building – they often come from within it.  It’s like a B-movie about protein-seeking natives filmed on set at 312 W. Whitewater Street.

3. Memory.  One is only supposed to remember events the way, and for as long, as leaders wish them to be remembered.  The future will write the history of the present, at a length and in a detail different from insiders’ wishes.

2. Revenue.  This city administration now finds itself on a search for revenue, hunting for it wherever it can be found, from residents who already pay taxes.  Each dollar of government-acquired revenue is money taken from the private economy in fees, taxes, or through sketchy government-run ventures.

This leads to efforts like the proposal to bring trash into the city.  The city is bigger than its government; it rests on private citizens, the foundation of whose prosperity is private enterprise.  No one owes an acquisitive few their mediocre and destructive proposals.

1. Stagnation.  Our risk isn’t collapse, as once happened to Whitewater.  It’s a lengthy stagnation, where longterm stagnation means (inevitability in a country that’s growing) relative decline.  We’re awash in public money but it’s not sparked the private economy adequately.  There are some impressive green shoots in this city, but they’ll risk withering if we’ve only an arid climate of stagnation.

Presenting the city to the entire area as though it were a vast enterprise zone, with few if any regulations, would be a committed effort to align us more closely with communities enjoying solid growth.

There’s the 2016 list.

Best wishes to all for a Happy Halloween.

Happy Veterans’ Day

The Journal Sentinel was a sponsor of a recent Honor Flight, a program that takes veterans to Washington, D.C. without charge to see some of our nation’s principal monuments and meet with other veterans:

Photo from Meg Jones of the Journal SentinelWashington — World War II is always with Erv Casper.It’s in the memories he carries in his heart and it’s in his leg, where he still carries shrapnel from a daisy cutter bomb that landed near him and his comrades on Okinawa.

A member of the 2nd Marines, Casper was heading to Japan to take part in the expected invasion when he noticed his ship was turning around. The war was over. He wasn’t going back into battle, he was going home.

And in a way, on Saturday he had another homecoming.

“Now I understand it more,” an emotional Casper, 89, said Saturday at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. “All the heroes are dead. That’s the sad part. We all tried our damndest to survive.”

Casper was among 76 veterans who traveled to the nation’s capital Saturday on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The organization provides a free one-day trip to Washington for World War II and Korean War era veterans.

So far the group has taken 4,200 veterans on 37 flights. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was a sponsor of Saturday’s flight….

See, in full, Honor Flight carries 76 WWII, Korean War vets to Washington @ Journal Sentinel.