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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Midnight (Part 2 in a Series)

Open government is right both in itself and in consequence: a free society confers political power only for limited & enumerated purposes. Those who confer this power have a right of oversight and a sensible obligation to assure that power’s exercise remains limited & enumerated. The right derives both naturally and by positive law. In […]

Rabbi Sharon Brous’s Advice for Small Towns (and Everywhere, Really)

Over at The Atlantic, there’s an interview with Rabbi Sharon Brous, the senior rabbi at IKAR, a non-denominational synagogue in California. See ‘I’ve Spent My Life Studying These Books That Say Decency Actually Matters.’ Rabbi Brous describes religious belief among progressives in contemporary America, and two of her observations are particularly suited even to Whitewater […]

Old Whitewater and Populism

Most of the figures who represented an Old Whitewater outlook have faded from the scene. Their high water mark was several years ago; they’re receding now. Their like won’t be seen again. Their decline, however, comes in the immediate conditions of an impatient populism. That populism doesn’t represent a New Whitewater, but replaces Old Whitewater’s […]

National in Local

I’ve always thought that the best approach for local public policy is to reach for competitive national standards (where one truly tries, rather than simply insisting that local work is nationally competitive). A focus on a national approach now matters for another reason: our current national environment is troubled, and by focusing on it reminds […]

On School Board Membership

There’s a notice at the Whitewater Unified School District website about a school board vacancy. (The original notice is embedded at the bottom of this page.) As is his habit, board member Stewart has taken the announcement, modified the official notice on his own with links to board qualifications that he considers important, and posted […]

A Brighter Outlook for Whitewater High

Whitewater High School has the advantage of a new principal and assistant principal. I’ve written before that I’ve no particular advice for Messrs. Lovenberg and O’Shaughnessy.  See For Your Consideration, Dr. Jonas Salk. (Indeed, in that post I offered only a question, but – to be sure – one that implied how very much their efforts […]

A Worthy Achievement for Whitewater: A National Blue Ribbon School

One sometimes hears good news, but occasionally, through others’ hard work, one fortunately hears the very best news. Today, for Whitewater, there’s the very best news: National Blue Ribbon Honors Announced for 342 Schools U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today recognized 342 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. The recognition is based on a […]

Priorities: Fighting Bigotry Over Babbittry

Common men and women can learn from the examples of great men and women. In this way, one can learn how to prioritize between concurrent challenges, applying lessons from a prior and intense conflict even to present but lesser conflicts. Some threats are worse than others, and so our it’s reasonable that one places more […]