Daily Bread for 5.20.24: On a New Common Council & New Community Development Authority

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with rain and a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:25 and sunset 8:17 for 14h 51m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 91.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1609,  Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

On this day in 1863, after the unsuccessful assault on Vicksburg the previous day, Union forces regroup in front of the city. The 1st Wisconsin Light Artillery and the 8th, 11th, 18th, and 23rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments joined the 14th and 17th Infantries to prepare for the next attack. While these arrangements took place at Vicksburg, the 4th Wisconsin Infantry fought in a skirmish in Cheneyville, Louisiana.

Whitewater now has a new Common Council majority and a new Community Development Authority majority. A few remarks today about these new majorities; remarks will follow tomorrow about specific contentions from a few holdovers from yesteryear’s CDA.

First, the obvious: this libertarian blogger is not, and has never claimed to be, a development man. And yet, and yet, a person need not be a development man to see the difference in quality between the self-serving claims of a conniving clique and the genuine accomplishments of residents and development employees. (One doesn’t have to be a watchmaker to see the difference between a fine timepiece and a cheap knockoff that’s scarcely right twice a day.)

Whitewater is a town of many talented people, of many sharp people, of many capable people. Thousands upon thousands, truly. This isn’t true because I believe it; I believe it because it’s true. Our advanced American civilization is far more than the product of a few — we are the work of millions across centuries. Whitewater, in the same way, is far more than the product of a few — we are the work of thousands across generations.

Whitewater, after all, has a Common Council (lit., ‘belonging to, open to, or affecting the whole of a community’) and Community Development Authority (lit., ‘the people of a district or country considered collectively; society’).

Whitewater does not have a Special Interests’ Council, or a Few Businessmen’s Development Authority. These are public bodies of — and for — the whole community, not simply platitudinous men, self-dealers, self-promoters, and their operatives, catspaws, scoundrels, or sycophants.

Whitewater now has sincere, independent majorities on her Common Council and Community Development Authority. They and I will not always agree, but I and others owe these officials the acknowledgment that whatever disagreements we may have, they are disagreements with capable and independent men and women.

Left, center, right, whatever: first, one must have men and women who exercise their independent judgment on behalf of not fifteen, but all fifteen thousand in this beautiful city.

For tomorrow, particular remarks on the CDA meetings of 4.18.24 and 5.16.24.

For today and always, best wishes and support to those sincere and principled officials acting on behalf of all of our city.

Bison herd charges Yellowstone tourists:

Daily Bread for 5.15.24: National Inflation Rate Improves Slightly

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:30 and sunset 8:11 for 14h 41m 31s of daytime. The moon is in its first quarter with 50.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board meets in closed session shortly after 5 PM, to return to open session thereafter this evening. Whitewater’s Parks & Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM.

On this day in 1911,  in Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States, the United States Supreme Court declares Standard Oil to be an “unreasonable” monopoly under the Sherman Antitrust Act and orders the company to be broken up.

Rachel Siegel reports Inflation improved slightly in April, with timing for rate cuts still uncertain:

Inflation showed some signs of improvement in April, as policymakers grapple with whether their fight against abnormally high price growth is losing ground.

Data released Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed prices rose 3.4 percent in April, compared with the year before. That’s down a bit from the 3.5 percent notched in March, and follows months of hotter-than-expected reports. Prices rose 0.3 percent compared with the month before.

In a particularly encouraging note, a key reading of inflation known as “core” — which strips out more volatile categories like food and energy — rose 0.3 percent. That measure was up 3.6 percent on an annual basis, the lowest year-over-year increase since 2021. Policymakers pay close attention to that gauge because it helps them tease out stickier sources of inflation from the kinds of rising prices that typically bounce around month to month.

If conditions improve nationally, and if that national improvement reaches Whitewater, then what will local policymakers make of that improvement? If conditions do not improve nationally, and that lack of improvement besets Whitewater, then how will local policymakers carry on?

Bringing back policymakers from the failed past will only ensure a failed future. Again, a reminder:

The only reason to return to the policies and leaders of the past would be if someone had no hope of either any possible growth or no hope for ameliorating any possible decline. That is, yesterday’s self-promoting mediocrities would be of value to Whitewater only if nothing anyone did would matter.  See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom and Now is Whitewater’s Time to Seize an Improving National and State Economy. Only hopelessness among many or the selfishness of a few would lead Whitewater to return to her economic past.

People choose freely, sometimes well, sometimes poorly.

Sage the Miniature Poodle wins Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club:

Daily Bread for 5.9.24: A Reminder on Whitewater’s Fumbling & Stumbling Old Guard

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 59. Sunrise is 5:36 and sunset 8:05 for 14h 28m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1662, the figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.

FREE WHITEWATER has chronicled and critiqued the failed corporate welfare scheme that was the Wisconsin Foxconn project (links to many of those posts at the bottom of this post). Now, with Foxconn nothing more than a shell project vanished into the fog, there’s a genuine, private, multi-billion dollar Microsoft investment on that Wisconsin site: Microsoft AI center on site of Trump’s failed Foxconn deal? (‘The multibillion-dollar [private!] investment is expected to create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,300 temporary union construction jobs’).

In Whitewater, an old guard of bankers, landlords, lobbyists, public relations men, etc., pushed Foxconn more than once. Any ordinary person of normal reasoning and sound basic knowledge would have seen Foxconn was a political scheme masquerading as a legitimate project. And yet, somehow, these same Whitewater types hold themselves out as experts on development policy. They backed a joke plan because they were — and are — unsuited to serious policy. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. (The local business group was the ‘Greater’ Whitewater Committee.)

Trickle-down sloganeering is the best these local types have ever produced. It’s not a free market they want; small-town boosterism and cronyism haven’t uplifted household and individual incomes in this city. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.

Some of these men, when at the Community Development Authority, let this city languish while promoting themselves. Even at the tail end of an economic boom, these gentlemen were walking around trying to figure out which end was up. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom.

Whitewater deserves better than this ilk. These men deserve an ongoing critique, and detailed review of their record, if they capture that institution again.

Here is the Foxconn scheme, that these local, old-guard Whitewater men touted, as succinctly described in a national story:

In 2018, when Foxconn, at Trump’s urging, announced plans to create 13,000 good-paying jobs in Mount Pleasant, Wis., he celebrated the company’s $10 billion venture as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Wielding a golden shovel, Trump touted the Foxconn flat-panel display factory as evidence of a broad manufacturing revival stirred by his 2017 tax cuts and tariffs on imported steel. “You know, 18 months ago, this was a field, and now it’s one of the most advanced places of any kind you’ll see anywhere in the world. It’s incredible,” Trump crowed.

The Foxconn facility was to have included dozens of buildings dotting a giant plot of land three times the size of New York’s Central Park. But the project accomplished little more than the destruction of 100 local homes and farms before the company drastically scaled back its ambitions.

In 2020, Wisconsin state officials denied the Taiwanese company special tax credits, saying it had abandoned its original commitment, employed fewer than 520 people and spent just $300 million. Local taxpayers were left with a tab of more than $500 million for site preparation.

By last summer, Foxconn had built four structures on one corner of the site, which were in sporadic use, according to locals. One large building that was originally billed as a manufacturing facility was being used as a warehouse, one former employee said. Foxconn at the time said it employed 1,000 people in Mount Pleasant building computer servers. The flat-panel display factory never materialized.

On Foxconn previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After AllFoxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn PlantFoxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent DomainFoxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition,  Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing PlansWISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad PolicyFoxconn RoundupFoxconn: The Roads to NowhereFoxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those HeadlinesFoxconn: On Shaky Ground, LiterallyFoxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a NapFoxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know BetterDespite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still EmptyRight on Schedule – A Foxconn DelayFoxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed ThemFoxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’tFoxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for NothingHey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!Foxconn: First In, Now OutFoxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean noFoxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of SmokeFoxconn: Worse Than NothingFoxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls, Foxconn Notices the NoticeableJournal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project, Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year LaterFoxconn & UW-Madison: Two Yearsand Less Than One Percent Later…Accountability Comes Calling at FoxconnHighlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn AssessmentAfter Years of Promises, Foxconn Will Think of Something…by JulyFoxconn’s Venture Capital FundNew, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals, Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn Deal, and Adding the Amounts Spent for Foxconn (So Far).

Daily Bread for 5.3.24: National Employment & Inflation

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 73. Sunrise is 5:44 and sunset 7:58 for 14h 14m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 26.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1957,  Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agrees to move the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

National job creation slowed last month, with 175,000 additional jobs created. Additional jobs were created, but fewer than the month before. Is there a silver lining in this? Yes, quite possibly. Jeanna Smialek writes The Fed Is Looking for a Job Market Cool-Down. It Just Got One (‘Wage growth and hiring slowed in April, evidence of the job market slowdown that Federal Reserve officials have been waiting on’):

While inflation is the main thing determining when and how much borrowing costs can come down, Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, made it clear this week that central bankers are also watching what happens with hiring and pay.

Mr. Powell emphasized repeatedly this week that the Fed did not specifically target wage growth when setting policy, but he also suggested that pay gains might need to slow further for inflation to come down sufficiently and in a lasting way — which means that Friday’s numbers could be a welcome development.

“We don’t target wages; we target price inflation,” he said. When it comes to cooling the economy, he said, “part of that will probably be having wage increases move down incrementally toward levels that are more sustainable.”

Stock indexes picked up after the report, as investors welcomed the more moderate data as a sign that interest rates may not stay high for as long. Investors in assets like stocks tend to prefer low rates.

These are national job numbers (with implications for the national inflation rate). Overall, these favorable national figures (job creation, relatively low unemployment, and conditions that may cool inflation).

Locally, however, there is a stark truth about municipal economic & development policy: The only reason to return to the policies and leaders of the past would be if someone had no hope of either any possible growth or no hope for ameliorating any possible decline. That is, yesterday’s self-promoting mediocrities would be of value to Whitewater only if nothing anyone did would matter. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom and Now is Whitewater’s Time to Seize an Improving National and State Economy.

Only hopelessness among many or the selfishness of a few would lead Whitewater to return to her economic past.

Semi-truck overturns, hits vehicle amid tornado supercell:

Daily Bread for 4.21.24: Revivals

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 56. Sunrise is 6:01 and sunset 7:45 for 13h 44m 04s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 94.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1946, the U.S. Weather Bureau published a paper stating that the width of a tornado that struck the city of Timber Lake, South Dakota, was 4 miles (6.4 km), making it the widest tornado ever documented in history.

So, yes, America is experiencing a vinyl revival, the nostalgic and the curious embracing that dead-but-not-quite audio medium from yesteryear. Anita Snow reports Record Store Day celebrates indie retail music sellers as they ride vinyl’s popularity wave:

Special LP releases, live performances and at least one giant block party are scheduled around the U.S. Saturday as hundreds of shops celebrate Record Store Day [4.20, of course] during a surge of interest in vinyl and the day after the release of Taylor Swift’s latest album.

There were no announced Record Store Day specials for the arrival of Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” on Friday, but her fans always anxiously look forward to the new albums and accompanying collectible LPs.

In suburban strip malls and big city downtowns, indie record stores are often the first to recognize and promote emerging artists. Years before Swift was setting Grammy records and selling out concerts in Japan, Bull Moose Music in Portland, Maine, was giving away one of her autographed guitars in an enter-to-win contest.

So, is a vinyl comeback a favorable development, especially with the availability of lossless digital audio? The case against records seems strong, even if vinyl has devoted fans.

There are, however, worse possible revivals than vinyl. Imagine someone reckless enough or corrupt enough, for example, to revive a dinosaur (a slow, stupid, destructive animal that nature long ago discarded):

There are, by contrast, favorable revivals. Scientists are cloning ferrets to try to save the species:

Daily Bread for 4.5.24: Before & After the Spring General Election

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 46. Sunrise is 6:27 and sunset 7:26 for 12h 59m 36s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 14.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1792, President Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.

Before the Spring General Election: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship.

After the Spring General Election: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship.

Before the Spring General Election: What Ails, What Heals.

After the Spring General Election: What Ails, What Heals.

There are fundamental conditions and principles, and then there’s everything else. 

The U.S. economy — national totals — added 303,000 jobs in March. No time to waste this time:

Last time in Whitewater before the pandemic: Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom

No reason to rely on the men who have fumbled again and again, for a generation, in this town.  

Daily Bread for 4.4.24: Economics to Socio-Economics to Chronic Hardship

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see scattered morning snow showers with a high of 41. Sunrise is 6:29 and sunset 7:25 for 12h 56m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 23.6 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM

On this day in 1949, twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Consider the claim, in a comment at FREE WHITEWATER from two days ago, that some in the retail and service sector in the city (and other area communities) would find lack of confidence akin to low confidence “not in the height of the 2008 recession but certainly in its lingering aftermath.” 

What to make of the claim?

It’s accurate, that’s what.

The Great Recession (2007-2009), more even than the pandemic, was and remains the most important economic event of our time. (The pandemic had immediate and tragic consequences for many lives, but it was the failure to address the Great Recession’s effects that set Whitewater and other places on their economic and socio-economic course.)

Whitewater, in particular, could not have had worse leaders than the ones from that time in grasping and responding to the Great Recession. A few are still around, as feckless and ineffectual as they were then.  

How to think of that time: like a man with a disease untreated, or a broken bone left unset: other maladies or deformities have sprung from the failure to treat effectively the original condition. 

Some of us have, of course, done well even in hard times for others, as an earlier generation did even during the Great Depression. 

Can we who have done well not see that, in our very community, there are longtime residents who through necessity now barter for diapers, baby food, and small appliances? 

That’s hardship for them and policy failure for us. (For advocates of free markets, like this libertarian blogger, these questions arise: did markets reach everyone, if they did not why not, and if they did why were they ineffective in specific cases?)  

Greatly simplified (as these are not wholly separate forces): Economic loss leads to socio-economic dysfunction and socio-economic dysfunction leads to community fragmentation, strife, and chronic hardship.

Daily Bread for 3.21.24: The Agenda for the March CDA Meeting

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 39. Sunrise is 6:53 and sunset 7:09 for 12h 16m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 88.4 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM

On this day in 1963, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary closes.

Linked above is the agenda for the 3.21.24 meeting of the Whitewater Community Development Authority. Embedded below is the agenda for that meeting.

Athens zoo welcomes the birth of a rare pygmy hippo

Daily Bread for 2.1.24: Private Company, Public Company, Public Agency

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 47. Sunrise is 7:08 and sunset 5:08 for 9h 59m 35s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 63.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Ethics Committee meets at 5 PM

On this day in 1942, Voice of America, the official external radio and television service of the United States government, begins broadcasting with programs aimed at areas controlled by the Axis powers.

There’s a difference between a private company, a public company, and a public agency. Ordinary people understand this difference, but special interests conflate these three different arrangements to maximize their influence over wholly public agencies. 

First the distinctions, with help from Matt Levine’s description of Elon Musk’s influence on private companies as against public companies. A private company is held individually or by shareholders with shares that do not trade on a public exchange. A public company is a private enterprise with shares that do trade on a public exchange (e.g., the New York Stock Exchange). Levine writes of Musk’s considerable leeway with a purely private company like SpaceX:

At all but one of his companies, he could stroll into the boardroom, throw a big bag of ketamine down onto the table, and say “I need the company to spend $50 million to build a giant golden statue of me riding a rocket,”1 and

  1. the board would be like “yes definitely let’s do it,”

  2. the board members themselves probably are, or represent, big shareholders of the company, and as shareholders they would happily go along with the statue plan to keep Musk happy and dedicated to their company,

  3. the other shareholders, the ones without board seats, are probably even bigger Musk fans, and are probably working on their own Musk statues in their garages anyway, so they’ll be fine with the company spending their money on a corporate gold statue, and

  4. nobody else really has any standing to complain.

And so in fact when Musk went to SpaceX and asked to borrow $1 billion until payday so that he could buy Twitter Inc., the board was like “here’s the check, we’ve left the amount blank, take whatever you need.” And, look, was there a Wall Street Journal article saying “hey that’s weird”? There was; it was weird. Did anything come of that? No. SpaceX could just do that: Musk controls SpaceX, the board loves him, the shareholders love him, nobody in a position to complain has any complaints, and everybody else is in no position to

SpaceX is a bigger version of many private companies: these companies may have one or more owners, and those owners may be shareholders, but those shares are not available for ready trading by the general public. These owners have considerable leeway. 

By contrast, a public company is also a private enterprise, but it offers shares on a public market to which the general public has access during trading hours. Trading on public markets comes with public — governmental — rules & regulations. (There’s a Securities and Exchange Commission, after all.) Levine explains how rules for a public company like Tesla limit Musk:

Tesla is a public company, which means that, even if 99% of shareholders love him, if 1% of shareholders don’t, they can sue.3 They can say: “Look, the board has a fiduciary duty to manage the company on behalf of all shareholders. Giving Musk a giant golden statue of himself is not necessary, or a good business decision, or fair to the shareholders; it’s just the controlling shareholder fulfilling his own whims with corporate money, and an ineffective board of directors giving him whatever he wants. He should have to give it back.” And they will go to court, and the shareholders will make those arguments, and the board will say — accurately! — “no you see giving him this giant golden statue is necessary for us to get more of his incredibly valuable time and attention,” and that will sound bad in court. And then a judge will get to decide whether the deal was fair to shareholders or not, and if it was not, the judge can make Musk pay the company back. Even if the board, and 99% of the shareholders, want him to keep it!

Levine’s description of Musk ends here, understandably, because Levine is writing about Musk’s role in private and public companies. An analysis of these companies is distinct — as Levine knows intuitively — from public agencies and governmental bodies. 

Special interests, however, don’t see it that way: they look at public bodies (a town council, a school board, or a community development agency) and expect that they can manipulate and control that public institution like a private company. They see a public body as another of their private possessions. 

No, and no again: formed only by statutes and ordinances, maintained only under statutes, ordinances, and publicly-adopted policies, these councils, boards, and agencies are public from alpha to omega. 

Special interest men in Whitewater take public bodies and illegitimately and wrongfully refashion them through catspaws into versions of private companies. In this way, they place their hands around a public agency and squeeze until it does their private bidding.  

Which appointed officials come along matters less to the health of this community than that special interests meet their match from among residents until attrition and exhaustion take their toll on that scheming faction. 

What’s in the Night Sky February 2024

Daily Bread for 1.26.24: For Years Ahead, Whitewater Will Have to Adjust from Plugging Leaks to Surfing the Waves

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see light rain with a high of 36. Sunrise is 7:14 and sunset 5:00 for 9h 45m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1915, an act of Congress establishes Rocky Mountain National Park.

Policymaking in Whitewater has traditionally been slow, short-sighted, and dull.

For the next few years, at least, to be successful Whitewater will have to adjust from plugging leaks to surfing the waves.

At first, wave upon wave will seem unpredictable, as though the water, itself were awry, askew. And awry comes at you fast:Foresight allows the avoidance of many problems, yet not all. For the unavoidable remainder, it’s “what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.” Whitewater, historically, has never been adept at either foresight or alternative missions.”

The tired refrain that this is how we do business around here won’t be good enough. Not even close to good enough.

Over time, the skillful and adroit will manage the waves and enjoy the ride. 

Protesters across Germany rally against the far-right:

Daily Bread for 11.28.23: Opportunity If We’ll Take It

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 23. Sunrise is 7:03 and sunset 4:22 for 9h 19m 44s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.4% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 5 PM

  On this day in 1895, the first American automobile race takes place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea wins in approximately 10 hours.

  A 11.21.23 essay from Brookings by author Homi Kharas describes what fuels middle-class optimism. (Kharas has a new book, The Rise of the Global Middle Class, that I have not yet read. For today, this post confines itself to Kharas’s 11.21 essay.) 

Kharas notes the rise of a global middle class:

Joining the middle class has been a ticket to the good life for two centuries now, a history I trace in a new book “The Rise of the Global Middle Class.” The American Dream, the glorious years of European reconstruction after World War II, miracle economic growth in Japan and other East Asian countries, Xi Jinping’s great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and India’s software revolution each brought hundreds of millions of people into the ranks of the global middle class. Today, thanks to this progress, most of the world, upwards of 4 billion people, enjoy a middle-class or better lifestyle for the first time ever.

Yes. (I’ll note that the period of China’s greatest economic success came only after liberalizing her economy toward freer markets, and that period of liberalization is regrettably over.)

Here’s how Kharas describes middle-class optimism:

Middle-class life satisfaction rests on two pillars. The first is the idea that hard work and self-initiative will lead to prosperity. The second is that thanks to this prosperity, the children of middle-class families will enjoy even more opportunities for the good life.

There’s a local aspect to this. To be successful, a community needs to have middle-class success. 

In Whitewater, CDA types in the decade from 2010-2020 failed to capitalize on state and national economic gains. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom. (“While Wisconsin and America advanced, these gentlemen were left admitting reluctantly their own poor performance. (There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  The gentlemen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.) See also A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA (“This new EOZ program allows for private investments to be made, with significant tax benefits, in lower income communities like ours that need a boost to their economy,” said Larry Kachel, Chair of the Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA).” Emphasis added.)

We have a chance for better. See A Development Director for Whitewater (“Whitewater’s development policy is meant to be a community development policy, not one captured against the public interest by a few. Who owns Whitewater? The proper answer — the answer suitable for a beautiful, well-ordered American town — is everyone and no one.”)

Rescued baby turtles scurry into the sea:

Daily Bread for 11.24.23: A Development Director for Whitewater

 Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 30. Sunrise is 6:58 and sunset 4:24 for 9h 26m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 90.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1971, during a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper (aka D. B. Cooper) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money. He has never been found.

Like most people, this libertarian blogger likes to listen to music. Much of my favorite music is jazz, and some of that jazz music is played on a piano. I, however, do not play the piano. (A cat walking across the keys would produce a more pleasing sound than any effort of mine.) 

And yet, and yet, like so many others who don’t play the piano, I can tell the difference between competent playing and… something less.

Now, I’m not a ‘development’ person (and have never claimed to be one). Instead, any critique of Whitewater’s traditional development approach offered at FREE WHITEWATER has rested on simple, fundamental analyses of economics, evidence of performance, logical reasoning, and good government.

On this last point: Whitewater’s development policy is meant to be a community development policy, not one captured against the public interest by a few. Who owns Whitewater? The proper answer — the answer suitable for a beautiful, well-ordered American town — is everyone and no one.

Soon, the City of Whitewater will have a new Economic Development Director. WhitewaterWise reports Berg hired as city’s economic development director:

The Whitewater Common Council Tuesday learned from City Manager John Weidl that Calli Berg has been hired as the city’s new economic development director.

According to her resume, Berg brings 25 years of experience in “all aspects of economic development, including business retention, attraction, and expansion,” along with other skill sets, including financial analysis and packaging, grant writing, administration, fund management, and tax increment and credit programs.

She is currently employed as the director of economic development, Milwaukee County, serving in that position since January of 2022. Prior to that, she worked as the director of economic development in the city of Franklin, between 2018 and 2022, and was the president and owner of BDM Services, a company, according to her resume, which provided consulting services to municipalities regarding economic development activities. The business began its operations in 2008.

Berg has additionally held such positions as business development manager with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and director of the Coloma-Watervliet Area Economic Development Corporation, in Berrien County, Mich.

She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration-marketing, and is certified by the International Economic Development Council as an economic developer. She is recognized by the National Development Council as an economic development finance professional and has been named by West Michigan Business Direct Weekly as a Business Leader Under 40, and has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Michigan Economic Developers Association, according to her resume.

Ms. Berg has an impressive background in development policy.

This libertarian blogger is a tragic optimist, but the fundamental outlook of tragic optimism is, happily, optimism.  

While so very many in the city will be rooting for Calli Berg’s success, no one in Whitewater will be more hopeful than I’ll be. 

One wishes the very best for Ms. Berg in applying her experience and her insight to advance Whitewater’s community development on behalf of all our community.

James Webb Space Telescope captures stunning view of Milky Way’s heart:

Daily Bread for 10.12.23: National Inflation Rate Holds Steady (and Local Implications)

 Good morning. Thursday in Whitewater will be cloudy with intermittent showers and a high of 56. Sunrise is 7:05 and sunset 6:16 PM for 11h 11m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 4.6% of its visible disk illuminated. Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 6 PM.    On this day in 1614,…