Tuesday, November 14th at 1:00 PM, there will be a showing of Golda @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin Community Building:
1 hour, 40 minutes (2023)
Set during the tense 19 days of the Yom Kippur war in 1973, Israeli prime Minister Golda Meir (a Milwaukee native) navigates overwhelming odds, a skeptical Cabinet and a complex relationship with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while millions of lives hang in the balance. Stars Helen Mirren and Liev Schreiber.
Embedded above is a video recording of the Whitewater Common Council’s 11.7.23 session.
At the Whitewater Common Council session on 11.7.23. the council in Items 14 and 15 considered whether to reconsider hiring an outside law firm (Item 14) and an amended agreement for legal services with the current firm for outside work, von Briesen and Roper:
Item 14. Discussion and possible action regarding motion to reconsider RFP for legal services to retain an outside law firm to advise the Common Council on employee discipline and personnel matters not to exceed $10,000.
Item 15. Discussion and possible action regarding approval of the amended agreement for legal services from von Briesen and Roper SC.
Five councilmembers voted to hire an extra firm as their own counsel (counsel to the council, so to speak) in particular employment matters.
Here are those five: Jim Allen, Jill Gerber, Neil Hicks, Lukas Schreiber, and David Stone.
A few brief remarks.
1. The effort to hire an extra firm for the council, itself, began in bad faith and continues in bad faith. In the space of 6 minutes on 8.15.23 Councilmember Jim Allen offered 5 justifications for the proposal. SeeAllen’s Childish Pretexts.
2. No prior council in Whitewater’s modern history has needed its own firm in this way. All those other councilmembers in the past were able to manage on their own, with their own abilities, while in office. It’s only this claque that claims to need a crutch to walk a few steps that others were able to walk easily before.
(That’s by their claims — in fact, this is a shabby and transparent effort to exert pressure against the city administration.)
Those who have perpetuated this scheme in any fashion have reasoned and acted below the average of our city, state, and nation. In Whitewater, many thousands of people can reason, speak, and act more capably than this.
3. Modifications to the proposal do not remove its objectionable elements. These modifications — using an existing firm for these purposes — do not obscure the waste and bad faith of the majority’s action.
4. Any firm, and any attorney, working for this majority has clients that have fomented excuses, errors, and strife in this city of 14,889. I’ve initial sympathy for any attorney who represents so few who are so addled. Good luck, God bless. Nonetheless, anyone representing this band will require from normal and competent residents diligent scrutiny.
5. A reminder: Whitewater deserves better from its common council majority; this city is better than its council majority. No one should feel bad about Whitewater because of these few. We are a beautiful city, and our people can do much more than this fumbling and stumbling band.
Yesterday, I linked to the agenda of the Whitewater Common Council session for 11.7.23. In that Tuesday post, this libertarian blogger listed several agenda items that drew my particular interest. In today’s post, I will consider one of those items, No. 42 (and the closed session Item 41 that led to Item 42). In the days ahead, daily posts here will go through other portions of the 11.7.23 council session.
Here were Items 41 and 42, as they appeared in full on the Tuesday agenda:
41. Adjourn to closed session, to reconvene in open session, Chapter 19.85(1)(f) “Considering financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons, preliminary consideration of specific personnel problems or the investigation of charges against specific persons except where par. (b) applies which, if discussed in public, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such histories or data, or involved in such problems or investigations.” Item to be discussed: 1) Discussion regarding complaints received by the Human Resources Department and pursuant to Chapter 19.85(1)(e) “Deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session.” Item to be discussed: 2) Negotiation of Aquatic and Fitness Center Agreement with School District.
42. Discussion and possible action regarding matters addressed in closed session involving complaints received by the Human Resources Department. – HR/Employment Attorney
When the Whitewater Common Council returned to open session, here was the statement on behalf of the council concerning Items 41(1) and 42:
At this time, the Council wishes to make the following statement:
The Council is respectful that each individual councilmember has distinct, competing, and divergent viewpoints designed to promote the best interests of the city and representation of the community.
The Council intends to work on a plan to enhance the effectiveness of the Council as a body and as that body works with the employees of the city. The Council is committed to Robert’s Rules as a guideline and the city’s Transparency Ordinance.
The Council will explore and conduct training as to governance, conduct of meetings, and open meeting compliance, and encourage appointed office holders to participate in such opportunities.
The Council will explore standards of decorum and civility for its meetings.
The Council will work with the City Manager for the development of an onboarding process for newly elected and appointed office holders. The Council will set expectations for self-accountability, individual commitment to one another.
The Council will consider whether the use of outside resources is of benefit to this process including resources from CVMIC, and the executive branch of the city, facilitators, or other resources.
The Council’s commitment to this plan is ongoing, which the Council will address at subsequent meetings.
A few brief remarks.
1. In more than sixteen years of observing Whitewater’s local government at FREE WHITEWATER, this writer has never before seen a need for any previous council to go into closed session — with an attorney’s guidance — and issue afterward a public statement like this. I’ve never seen it in those many years because no one has. Deficiencies so serious have not presented themselves during that time.
2. Proper conduct is not a matter of mere ideology, of right, center, or left. Since April, with its current president, this council’s majority has performed below the standard of any previous council during those sixteen years, and below the standard of Whitewater’s residents (of whatever ideology).
3. Ordinarily and normally, the leader of an institution takes responsibility for deficiencies in the group. Last night, however, it was not this council president, but another councilmember who read the statement on behalf of the institution.
4. It was Reagan who cleverly popularized the Russian proverb ‘trust but verify’ (doveryai, no proveryai) in America. So it is here: one will trust there will be necessary, significant improvement only through observed verification.
Whitewater deserves no less than worthy conduct from her officeholders. Officials’ tenure in office requires from them consistent, demonstrated conduct in reasoning and manner befitting our community. more >>
On this day in 1994, WXYC, the student radio station of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, launches the world’s first internet radio broadcast.
Linked above is the Whitewater Common Council agenda for tonight’s council session. Embedded below is the full agenda packet for the session. Although I have begun embedding the council or CDA agendas on the day of the respective meetings, this post offers both the full council packet and mention of items of notable interest to this libertarian blogger. Ordinarily, I make no particular notice before a meeting agenda; the importance of tonight’s meeting requires an exception.
All this city knows that since April the Whitewater Common Council has embarked on a course contrary to limited and responsible government, on which no one ran before taking office, and which if continued will take this struggling-yet-hopeful city into a years-long decline. SeeThe Shape of Decline to Come (and How to Carry On)and ‘Gradually and Then Suddenly.’This council risks turning what has been for many residents an economic Long Twilight and turn it into a Long Dark.
Here Whitewater arrives tonight, at a session of the Common Council that will decide much about the city’s near future. A few items from that agenda draw especially this libertarian blogger’s interest. (Each resident watching will have his or her own list of notable items; these are mine.)
Item 7. Memo on Conflict of Interest Inquiry — City Manager.
Item 8. Update on R0 Zoning District — Neighborhood Services.
Item 14. Discussion and possible action regarding motion to reconsider RFP for legal services to retain an outside law firm to advise the Common Council on employee discipline and personnel matters not to exceed $10,000 — Hicks/Dawsey Smith.
Item 15. Discussion and possible action regarding approval of the amended agreement for legal services from von Briesen and Roper SC — Hicks/HR.
Item 18. Discussion and possible action regarding MOU/MSP with the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater for the Innovation Center to extend the contract date to June 30, 2024 — City Manager.
Item 19. Discussion and possible action regarding the Whitewater Aquatic Fitness Center lease agreement between the City of Whitewater and the Whitewater Unified School District — City Manager/Park and Rec.
Item 25. Presentation of the 2024-2025 Budget — Finance.
Item 42. Discussion and possible action regarding matters addressed in closed session involving complaints received by the Human Resources Department. – HR/Employment Attorney.
Item 43. Discussion and possible action regarding the Whitewater Aquatic Fitness Center lease agreement between the City of Whitewater and the Whitewater Unified School District – City Manager/Park and Rec.
Councilmembers are government men and women, responsible for their words and actions. The government isn’t simply the city administration; it’s every councilmember and CDA boardmember. Everyone acting in these latter roles acts in a public capacity, bound by law and reason.
Starfishes are weirdly shaped animals. Scientists have long puzzled over how a starfish body equates to the more typical animal arrangement of a head on one end and trunk or tail on the other. Humans wear trousers on the bottom of their trunks, so you could extrapolate out from that to suggest solutions to the ‘trouser question’ for dogs, horses, spiders and even slugs. But what about a starfish? Now there’s a new possible answer based on the expression of their genes.
For over a decade, one Tennessee county arrested and illegally jailed hundreds, maybe thousands, of children. A four-part narrative series reveals how this came to be, the adults responsible for it, and the two lawyers, former juvenile delinquents themselves, who try to do something about it.
Jazz drummer Billy Hart, now in his 80s, was named a 2022 NEA Jazz Master. The Montclair, NJ resident performs with his own quartet and with the Cookers, long-time colleagues seen here at the legendary jazz club, Birdland. According to pianist Ethan Inverson, Hart is the most recorded jazz drummer of all time, included on albums by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and Shirley Horn.
Meet Jason Arday, Cambridge University’s youngest-ever Black professor who defied all odds in pursuit of his academic ambitions. Jason’s remarkable journey begins with a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay and Autism during his early years. He didn’t start speaking until the age of 11 and didn’t learn to read and write until he turned 18. Yet, at the age of just 37, he achieved the esteemed title of Professor of Sociology of Education at the prestigious University of Cambridge. Jason’s story is not just one of academic triumph but a testament to his unwavering determination and spirit. It serves as a powerful reminder that potential knows no bounds and we can achieve the seemingly impossible.
Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 52. Sunrise is 7:33 and sunset 5:43 for 10h 09m 30s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 57.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1956, Soviet troops enter Budapest to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union that started on October 23. Thousands are killed, more are wounded, and nearly a quarter million leave the country.
This year, the labor market has been undergoing a notable cool-down, across many sectors, from its red hot peak after the pandemic when employers rapidly created millions of jobs to keep up with pent-up consumer demand.
October’s job gains mark the second lowest increase since 2020, and jobs figures for August and September were revised down by 101,000. Wage growth moderated slightly in October, rising by 4.1 percent over the previous 12 months to $34.00 an hour.
“This is still one of the best labor markets for workers that we’ve seen relative to the last 30 years,” said Justin Bloesch, a professor of economics at Cornell University. “But it is definitely less hot than it was last year.”
Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 49. Sunrise is 7:31 and sunset 5:49 for 10h 14m 32s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 76.7% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1917, the Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people:
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
For many years, Whitewater has been a town beset by special interests. What’s new is that they’re now working in daylight to cement control over the town for another generation. Whitewater’s an open-air theater of small-town cronyism in action.
A few quick points.
1. Special Interests Would Rather Not Be Seen. Ideally, they will put their operatives and catspaws on boards and commissions without much attention. For elected positions, they’ll look for districts with no one else running. Districts like that are a golden opportunity to run candidates wholly devoted to them but so objectionable to ordinary residents that those types of candidates could never win otherwise.
2. If Seen, Special Interests Will Never Acknowledge Their True Purpose. No one will stand up and say, for example, “I’m Landlord Number 1, this is my Dogsbody Operative, and we’re here to make sure you pass an ordinance that favors rental properties of mine or disadvantages my competition.” They’ll never say that! Instead, they’ll argue for those very changes and dare others to call them out for having a conflict of interest.
3. Special Interests Never Defend, They Accuse Others. Every so often, something goes awry, and someone calls a special interest man out. Special interests count on others to stay quiet from ignorance, other obligations, poverty, or malaise. Damn it, people were supposed to stay quiet and let others walk all over them, but ordinary residents will tire of being doormats, and they’ll speak out.
When they meet opposition, special interests will accuse others of the wrongful conduct they have, themselves, have committed.
There are two reasons that they prefer to attack. First, it draws attention away from the special interests’ conduct. It’s critical to accuse others so that they “flood the zone with sh-t” and leave everyone confused about who did what to whom.
Second, few people will have sympathy for well-positioned special interest men. When they try to play on others’ sympathies, they learn quickly that deep down others resent their overbearing influence. The sharper among them suspect this, and so don’t even look for others’ sympathy.
When normal and decent people hold office, the special interests conspire for their ruin with bad faith accusation after bad faith accusation.