The Limits of Community Surveys

It’s expensive to survey opinion, scientifically, using standard statistical principles. Whitewater, like many small places, understandably relies on community surveys (for the city proper, for her school district). Surveys of this kind are an approximation of overall sentiment. One wouldn’t expect an end to these surveys, but they have obvious, significant limitations. (This is true of […]

How to Build a Better Candidate Forum

A private local organization, in the habit of hosting candidate debates forums, may freely follow its national organization’s practices. Fair enough. Whitewater, however, would do better if she adopted better standards. There are two easy ways that Whitewater can make her candidate forums much better. ➤ Release Candidate Statements Before the Forum Takes Place. It’s […]

Dane, Not the WOW Counties

For many years, Republicans have railed against Madison, and against Dane County, as bastions of dysfunctional liberalism. Indeed, this impulse has been strong even after the GOP gained control of both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office. Funny, though, that it’s Dane County – not the WOW counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, or Washington – that’s […]

A Sign for Whitewater High School

Whitewater Planning Commission – A High School Sign from John Adams on Vimeo. Anyone who thinks that small town politics is simple hasn’t watched small town politics. In the video above, the Whitewater Planning Commission took 28 minutes to approve conditions for the local high school to place an electronic sign on school property. (Whitewater […]

Print Retreats to Print

Local print publications are struggling, and so they’ve decided to retreat to print publishing. See Twilight (Part 1 of a Series). At the Gazette, they’ve established a high paywall (after one three articles viewed per month), and as for ambitions for Walworth County, one need only consider what happened to that publisher’s WalworthCountyToday.com: At the […]

Thanks, City of Jefferson!

There’s something funny, and something sad, about the City of Jefferson’s decision to host for five more years a Harry Potter festival with the same mediocre promotional leadership the festival’s had while in Edgerton and (more recently) in Jefferson. See Attack of the Dirty Dogs (“If vast numbers are disappointed, it matters not at all […]

Candidates and Candidacies

Small towns have reputations for being plain-speaking places, but the less so, in fact, than reputation suggests. One will hear much about who’s running, who’s in, who’s out, but not as much – if anything – about what candidates believe. Longtime readers know that I comment on politics, but know also that I’m opposed to […]

Care at the Point of Injury

A post from early December – ‘Don’t worry about them – the rest of us feel great!’ – outlined the problem of boosterism & babbittry: it urges people to look away from real injuries and to gaze instead on delightful distractions. First the problem summarized, then the better, ethical response – The problem: A doctor […]

First Serving

Whitewater’s longtime politician, current school board member, and ersatz newsman Jim Stewart has published an update on candidacies for upcoming school board, city council, and county board races. A few quick comments: 1. Stewart’s Update on Compensation. Stewart has an update to his post, or rather UPDATED, on the compensation for each office. Why he […]

Daylight (Part 3 in a Series)

One finds oneself with a question, when there are gaps in a public record, when there are easily-avoidable deficiencies of open government: What will one do about it? A good method in this matter is deliberate, dispassionate, and diligent. A few thoughts: 1. Foundation. One looks at state and local provisions for public records and […]