The list runs in reverse order, from mildly frightening to super scary.
10. On Time. It’s been a challenge these last years for simple road projects to finish on time. Here’s hoping that next year is better. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Whitewater’s roads and bridges should be finished within the same year.
9. Modernization. It won’t hurt us one bit to adopt best practices from other cities, but there are still needless worries about this. Those who are looking at model ordinances, and comparing our policies with those of other cities, are making life here better for everyone. The world should be our oyster.
8. ‘Out of Control’ Behavior. Oh, please – when your politics is one of accusing your opponents of wild behavior, yet all the people of your area know better, you’ve simply embarrassed yourself.
7. State Educational Testing. Last year we saw federal No Child Left Behind stats for Whitewater, this year it’s a state report card (in lieu of NCLB). Madison’s closer than the District of Columbia, but we could do even better with more innovative approaches that mostly ignore a simple score for ideas from successful communities wherever they might be.
6. Diligence. The more up-front analysis there is, and the more of that analysis that gets posted online, the better our politics will be. An open approach is good for everyone, including officeholders.
There’s a value not merely to stability, but stable progress and growth.
5. Revisionist History. A perennial. One still hears a powerful nostalgia for the past as a golden age, the reinterpretation of past mistakes as successes, or insistence that ideas only recently advanced were, truly, the accomplishments of someone from a decade ago.
Listening to these contentions, one feels as though one fell into an alternative reality:
4. Snow. Last year was mild. That won’t last. At least there’ll be some good snowshoeing.
3. Tax Incremental Districts. Anchor, albatross, millstone: take your pick.
2. Emerald Ash Borer. If they arrive in numbers and destroy hundreds or thousands of area trees, they’ll have left the city less attractive, less pleasant. So many dead trees will cost dearly for removal, and no expense for replacement trees will restore the same natural look.
1. Snakes. A silly ending to the list. Boa constrictors, anacondas, pythons, whatever. They own this place now. We’re all just passing through. Only bright side – they’ll get rid of our overabundance of squirrels.
Wait a few years, and this won’t be a movie trailer; it’ll be a local documentary: