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 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 1.9.24: Awry Comes at You Fast

 Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be snowy with a high of 34. Sunrise is 7:24 and sunset 4:39 for 9h 15m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 4.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s city hall and schools are closed today. Play responsibly. 

On this day in 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco.

Yesterday’s post included a video of the successful launch of a private lunar lander (see US firm launches moon lander to space).  Not long afterward, that mission went awry. Kenneth Chang reports American Company’s Spacecraft Malfunctions on Its Way to the Moon (‘After a flawless launch to orbit, the privately built robotic Peregrine lander is unlikely to reach the lunar surface because of a failure in its propulsion system’): 

The first NASA-financed commercial mission to send a robotic spacecraft to the surface of the moon will most likely not be able to make it there.

The lunar lander, named Peregrine and built by Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, encountered problems shortly after it lifted off early Monday morning from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch of the rocket, a brand-new design named Vulcan, was flawless, successfully sending Peregrine on its journey.

But a failure in the lander’s propulsion system depleted its propellant and most likely ended the mission’s original lunar ambitions.

“The team is working to try and stabilize the loss, but given the situation, we have prioritized maximizing the science and data we can capture,” Astrobotic said in a statement. “We are currently assessing what alternative mission profiles may be feasible at this time.”

And there we are: 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. 

We can do much better. 

South Korea passes bill to ban dog meat industry

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 11.16.23: Managing Pronunciations as Generational Independence

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 62. Sunrise is 6:48 and sunset 4:30 for 9h 41m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 11.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

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

  On this day in 1990, Pop group Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.

This post about pronunciation isn’t about pronunciation. This post about zoning isn’t about zoning.

It’s about generational independence.

Here’s the background. Some years ago, in 2016, the City of Whitewater adopted a new zoning designation, R-O. It was an overlay designation, and its effect wherever imposed was to reduce by one the number of unrelated adults who could live together in a single family residence. See City of Whitewater Municipal Code Section 19.25.030.  (“In all nonfamily residential overlay districts, the nonfamily household limitation set forth in Whitewater Municipal Ordinance Section 19.15.010 is reduced from three to two. Therefore, in any nonfamily residential overlay district, a nonfamily household shall be limited to two unrelated persons.”)

The zoning changes of the mid-teens in Whitewater came with, as one can imagine, all sorts of particular preoccupations. City officials at the time made much (way too much) of reminding everyone how to pronounce the R-O district (‘overlay, overlay, overlay’). They said this as though repeating the ‘proper’ pronunciation of the designation R-O (as Ō , the fifteenth letter of the English alphabet) meant as much as the limitations on residency themselves. 

How fortunate that better times have now arrived. 

At the 11.7.23 session of the Whitewater Common Council, beginning at 6:12 on the recording of the meeting, there was a general informational update about the designation that alternated between use of R-O (oh) and R-0 (as zero). Whitewater’s Zoning and Code Enforcement Administrator shifted between the two pronunciations in response to a question, without breaking her stride.

Good for her. Smoothly and well done. 

The brief presentation was useful twice over: it was both informative and free of any particular obsession on trivial particulars that once gripped too many in this government. 

And now, and now, one arrives at the deeper meaning of this brief discussion. Residents have doubtless heard a few aged men insist that there is a certain ‘way we talk around here’ and a certain ‘way we do business around here.’ 

No, and no again. 

It’s a city of 14,889, not a half-dozen. It’s a city of many, not a few. 

No small number, enveloped in self-regard, decides for these many. New officials, new residents, a new generation: they’re free to call all of this what they want.

Tomato, tomahto, and all that. 

This libertarian blogger, happily residing in the House of Dissenting Opinion, finds new variations from new leaders welcome. Sometimes (as in this case), it’s simply delightful. One looks away but for a moment only to see something new upon restoring one’s gaze. 

My late father would sometimes remind: a house is not a museum. Neither is a city: this community is meant to change, to evolve, in spontaneous and dynamic ways. 

Whitewater’s extends beyond a tired few. The city is much more than that, and those who think otherwise are risibly wrong. 

We’re all — fortunately, blessedly, happily — ordinary people in a beautiful town of thousands. Variations, alterations, and improvisations from among those many are most welcome.  

Could a robot chemist create oxygen on Mars using AI?:

Daily Bread for 11.13.23: More on Messaging in Whitewater

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 57. Sunrise is 6:43 and sunset 4:33 for 9h 48m 11s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 6 PM

  On this day in 1940,Walt Disney’s animated musical film Fantasia is first released at New York’s Broadway Theatre, on the first night of a roadshow.

  Yesterday, I posted about a Johnson-Steil political event in Whitewater on Friday. See The Local Press Conference that Was Neither Local Nor a Press Conference

That political event raises a question: what kind of local message works in Whitewater, and how does it work?

Another effort, the Save the Pool Committee, is illustrative of the limits of some messaging in Whitewater. 

(I’ve supported funding for the pool, and have argued that the dispute should have been resolved before the start of the school year. This post, however, isn’t about funding; it’s about messaging.)

At a council meeting about a month ago, a resident pointed out that the City of Whitewater’s success in moving toward a resolution of the funding dispute for the pool rested with Whitewater’s city manager, John Weidl. You know, although I’m not in the habit of touting the public sector, the resident’s observation is spot on. 

There was a ‘Save the Pool Committee’ formed in the winter or late spring of this year, not long before the April spring elections. That committee held a few of its own meetings, and leading members of that group attended a few public meetings, but it contributed next to nothing to the work that moved pool negotiations along.

One knows this because the negotiations required a level of detail that the pool group’s mere ire did not involve. Whining at a joint meeting that district officials were selfish accomplished nothing. In fact, it showed how mono-dimensional and overly emotional a public relations man and a few others can be. (In the same futile way, Councilmember Jim Allen’s request to bring a few tables together at one public meeting did nothing to bring a resolution closer but did bring both city and district into a questionable change from an open Wisconsin meeting to a semi-private one.)

Over the months that followed, it was point by point, item by item negotiations that moved the dispute closer to resolution.

By Charles J. Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography,, CC BY-SA 4.0,

In the summer, I attended the joint meeting of the Whitewater Common Council and the Whitewater School Board, in Whitewater’s council chambers. The scene was revealing.

In the back of the room sat two of the Save the Pool Committee leaders, with another supporter in the row in front of them. They listened to the discussion only intermittently, using the rest of the time to talk to each other while elected officials were speaking, to fidget with a pencil, or to praise a different meeting they had recently attended. (From my point of view, being so close was like a hike where a flock of birds settled nearby. Nature always yields insights.)  

In that same meeting, sitting a few rows forward to my right was Whitewater’s superintendent, Dr. Caroline Pate-Hefty. I could see her left side, and she was attentive to the discussion, with her expression changing as the discussion shifted, reflecting her responses to various points raised. Her right hand was also visible, and she occasionally gestured intensely  with that hand, the way someone attending a competition might react to successes or failures of a team on a playing field.  She occasionally looked down at notes on her lap during the meeting.

I thought to myself: The gap in focus and commitment between this superintendent and these pool committee leaders is Grand Canyon wide.

(I’ve no interest in a conflict with our superintendent, especially as I find myself busy elsewhere in the city. Indeed, the community surely knows that I’ve nothing but love in my bleeding libertarian heart for Dr. Pate-Hefty and all my fellow creatures.) Yet, if a dispute should one day arise between that superintendent and this libertarian blogger, I’d not underestimate her. One begins all challenges and campaigns from the perspective of a dark horse underdog.

Although I support funding to sustain the pool, it’s clear that the Save the Pool Committee advanced the pool only slightly. They overestimated their own skill in messaging, underestimated the work required to achieve a result, underestimated the district superintendent’s diligence, and have had success only through the efforts of Whitewater’s city manager. 

Successful campaigns are hard. Self-promotion and self-congratulation devolve into self-delusion. 

Moment whale body-slams wingfoiler at Sydney beach:

James Breen was wingfoiling at Mona Vale beach in Australia when a humpback whale soared out of the water and landed on top of him, dragging him about 20 to 30 feet below the surface. His GoPro captured the dramatic moment on camera. As he wrestled underwater, he said he could feel the smooth skin of the whale, leading him to believe it was a juvenile. After his leg rope snapped, he clawed his way back to the surface and made his way to the shore safely.

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,…