FREE WHITEWATER

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Barriers to Substantive Change in a Small Town

Several recent posts here are FREE WHITEWATER are, collectively, a cautionary series on the difficulty of effecting substantive change in Whitewater, Wisconsin. One might want change; realism demands a clear-eyed assessment of its likelihood. Other towns might have better (or even worse) odds; Whitewater is not, by definition, another town. A listing of challenges, with…

Candidates’ Expectations

An out-of-town candidate for a public job in Whitewater should do some research on both the job and the community. Along the way, the candidate will visit the city, and perhaps be introduced to so-called stakeholders in Whitewater. Those introductions may be revealing, but they’re sure to be brief, and blur with other events on…

Built Against Substantive Change

Over time, no matter how small the city, national conditions and trends make their way to the edge of town. Some towns will address these conditions, but others will be resistant to substantive change. For those towns in the latter category, business as usual and rhetorical feints suffice in response to powerful forces to which…

Mentoring

When a small community like Whitewater comes to rely on hundreds of non-resident commuters to provide services (for city, schools, or university), those commuters will have a different work relationship than resident workers. (About these workers see The Commuter Class.) Many will be less attached to the community (as they’ve freely chosen to live elsewhere…

Cameras, Not Committees

Recent protests across America against excessive and biased use of police force began after ordinary people in those communities recorded official (to the point of murderous) actions, and then shared their recordings with others. It was not government – local, state, or federal – that promptly shared these recordings of excessive force; it was ordinary…

The Lingering Problem of Local Exceptionalism

A common error in small rural communities is the persistent, false claim that local officials are examples of a local exceptionalism that makes them implicitly immune from the flaws and mistakes that beset the rest of humanity. Under this thinking, while there may be problems in the wider world, there are no local examples of…

The (Unexpectedly) Divergent Paths Before the Whitewater Schools

The Whitewater Unified School district is looking for a new district administrator.  The public K-12 district serves Whitewater and some smaller towns nearby.  Over the last two days, the two finalists for that position participated in public forums held via audiovisual conferencing.  There’s no reason whatever to doubt that both candidates are sincere in their…

Local Voting & Voting Locally in Whitewater

The spring election, conducted during a pandemic, is now behind Wisconsin. There’s little question that statewide, it was a good night for Jill Karofsky and Lisa Neubauer. (I supported both candidates.) Whitewater – the city proper – also supported these candidates. A majority of the city’s voters did, in fact, prefer these voters even while…

Broadband Gaps

There’s a story over at Wisconsin Watch that reports on the broadband gap in rural Wisconsin communities. Peter Cameron reports Broadband gap leaves rural Wisconsin behind during coronavirus crisis (‘Wisconsin’s dearth of high-speed internet in rural areas makes virtual schooling, remote health care and working from home even more difficult’): Already, Wisconsin lags behind the…

Specific Numerical Claims Require a Citation

During a public health emergency involving a contagious infection, it is possible – and so it is rational – to assume that some portion of that emergency lies hidden beyond one’s immediate view. This likelihood can be described simply, in this very way: some portion of this emergency likely lies hidden beyond one’s immediate view.

Update, 3.28.20: the original article linked below has been updated (with the remaining, substantially-cited portions helpfully still present). A personal note in this, sincerely offered: a thank you to the editor for the update. We find ourselves – as an entire country – in startling and difficult circumstances. We will make our way as best we can.

Remaining original remarks after the excerpt –

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Local Public Policy as if Charitable Assistance

Whitewater’s policymakers, and those of other small, rural cities, should – in these times of economic stagnation, a lingering opioid crisis, failed business welfare, and an approaching recession – view their principal obligation as if it were charitable outreach. (It’s not charity, of course, but that’s how policymakers should view it: as both palliative and…