Boo! Scariest Things in Whitewater, 2023

Here’s the seventeenth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater.

 (The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 20142015, 2016, 2017, 201820192020, 2021, and 2022 editions are available for comparison.)

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

10. Bears. Look, I’ve warned the city — out of love— about a coming coyotepocalypse.  See In Whitewater, People Won’t Feed Coyotes — Coyotes Will Feed on People. And yet, somehow, people are now worried about bears. Keep food away from them, and bears will stay away. Still, there are timid people in every community, and for them, this libertarian blogger offers with love a series of documentaries on ursine behavior. (Consider it exposure therapy for the nervous among us. You’re welcome.)

9. Plain Language. Why is it so hard to speak plainly? Some of these aged men in the city should simply say that they want what they want because they think they deserve more, and should have a greater say, despite a generation-long record of failure. Say it — it’s what they plainly mean, so they should plainly say it. 

8. The Advisory Committee. One member of the CDA would have liked to have had an advisory committee of aged men as an extra-legal body to advise a legally appointed consultant. His preference, of course, was the set of serial failures who have run this town into the ground while running their mouths in self-praise.

7. ‘Our Traditions.’ So another man on the CDA wanted to preserve ‘our traditions’ rather than adopt modern practices for community development. Let’s be clear: his traditions are stagnation and relative decline.

This ‘tradition’ is vacuity and vanity. It’s a city of 14,889, not a cabal of bankers and landlords. It would have been better for the whole community if these few had taken their leave of public office and spent their later years reading scrapbooks filled with fawning but false headlines. They’ve inflicted themselves on others long enough.

6. Government Men. Some of these men on the Whitewater Common Council or Whitewater Community Development Authority speak as though they were merely private citizens. They’re not. Those on the council or CDA are government men as much as anyone in the city administration (more so than many, as the CDA and council types took an oath). See Who’s a Government Man? A critique of local government does not exclude these men; on the contrary, a critique of government should begin with these long-in-the-tooth council and CDA men. 

5. Tenure. It’s ignorance to believe that tenure in office is an advantage; it’s more often a burden. The longer an official has been around, the more responsibility he bears for mistakes on his watch. If you’re touting that you’ve been on “two different CDA’s” [sic], then you don’t know what it means to tout something to your advantage. Being on two community development associations, when at least one of them is Whitewater’s, isn’t an advantage; it’s a confession

4. Someone Else, It’s Gotta Be Someone Else!  One sits and listens to this common council president, on council or the community development authority for decades, as he blames others for the lakes project, why certain types of stores are in town, and ignores why so many other businesses have over the years gone under or left for other communities.

Where does he think he was all these years? Did longtime politician James Allen not know that there was a lake or a downtown over the decades he has been in office? (Presumably, he did know there was a lake because he spent an inordinate amount of time during the lakes project focusing on whether there would be carp in the lake, rather than the actual dredging, for example.)

When the lakes project went south, there began a quick attempt to blame others: the weather, a pause during the pandemic, DNR trickery, etc. Wait, what? If Allen and others have been around for years, why couldn’t they manage better? All those years, and still the DNR (supposedly) outsmarted these men!

There was no DNR trickery; these local officials were simply too slow or too lazy to monitor the project properly. 

In their excuse-making, Allen and others are like the meme about the Hot Dog Guy:

The original image used in the meme comes from the TV show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, which premiered on April 23rd, 2019, on Netflix. The “Hot Dog Car” sketch was featured in episode five of the first season, and the catchphrase appears around the 1:26 mark in the clip.

In the sketch, a hot dog-shaped car crashes into a store and a man dressed in a hot dog costume attempts to pretend he is one of the customers wondering who was driving the car. The full quote from the man in the hot dog costume, played by creator, writer and star Tim Robinson, is,

“We’re all trying to find the guy who did this and give him a spanking!”

Who did this? The longtime blame-shifters in government.

3. The Common Council Majority. Whitewater now has the worst common council majority in the seventeen years that I have kept this Halloween list. There have always been one or two councilmembers who have been, well, not quite up to snuff, but this majority is below the standard of the community. Not average; below average. A good and sensible standard for our community is what one would expect from a graduate of our high school. A student of average ability from Whitewater High School would reason and speak more clearly than this council majority. Whitewater has not had this problem before; she has it now. 

No one in this city should feel bad about himself or herself because the council majority conducts itself poorly. Residents here perform better than many of their elected representatives. 

Whitewater’s residents should be proud of their city, as we are a beautiful community beset only by a few. 

2. The Long Twilight. Whitewater has been in a long twilight of economic underperformance. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA. There’s a way out; no one should accept that what we’ve had since the Great Recession is normal. It’s not normal. Residents don’t have to settle; old and vainglorious men want residents to settle for less while they take more. No, and no again. 

1. The Long Dark. This is the dark future that awaits, worse than the Long Twilight the city has experienced, if a few bankers, landlords, and the career local politicians who scrape and simp for them get their way. See The Shape of Decline to Come (and How to Carry On) and ‘Gradually and Then Suddenly.’

(The Long Dark is also the name of a survival video game, but unlike the digital version, Whitewater’s experience would be real and heart-wrenching.)

A few men plot to remove this city administration and replace it with an older and broken model they prefer.

They have placed themselves not in conflict with this city administration but with residents themselves.

Whatever comes to pass, there is no place that this libertarian blogger would rather be. As is true with a traditional wedding vow, so it is true for one’s love of this city: “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”

Although I am a tragic optimist, it’s optimism that forms my fundamental outlook. We’ll come through.

As always, best wishes for a Happy Halloween.

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1 month ago

There is something else to be scared about in Blanco-Agua. Whitewater is, for the most part, a one-horse town. That horse is, of course UW-W. Enrollment is dropping, and budget reductions are inevitable. Platteville, Stevens Point, and Oshkosh have already seen significant reductions. When that trend rolls over Whitewater, how will the city deal with that? Form study committees? Express concern? Who can say?

A Town Squire
1 month ago

Long, long overdue! It’s nice to see you ahve the right focus. These guys are out of control. Keep going. I know you’re saying what you believe but it’s obvious that Whitewater has fallen behind FOR YEARS under their watch.

Saw Knight going off at the last council meeting like he’s some big shakes. What a joke. Allen as the hot dog guy is true about that whole crew. People gave them the benefit of the doubt for years. Critics like you were right. The people who think these guys aren’t losers is smaller by the day.

Yeah, keep going. It’s fertile territory as far as anyone can see.

1 month ago

The hot dog meme is pure gold. It’s always an outsider who did these guys in. They were geniuses but some evil outsider screwed it up. They have grown up blaming others. Zero official responsibility. Also glad to see that our permanent councilman is getting the critical attention he deserves.

CDA has been a farce. Everyone gets that. Saw that they published Knight’s long memo too. It would have been ten times longer if he tried to defend the CDA mistakes and wasted $. How many loans went bad? Who put that guy back on?

Good stuff about bad stuff.

1 month ago

Happy Halloween, John Adams.

Where does all this go?