FREE WHITEWATER

Laws/Regulations

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

The Limits of Messaging

UW-Whitewater quadruples parking without a permit fine Whitewater, like many small towns, is marketing mad: claims, professions, insistence, publicizing, and declarations exceed actual conditions. Newly-increased fines over Whitewater’s available parking spaces on campus illustrate this problem. The local campus is large, relative to the non-campus parts of the city, and that places pressure on both…

Coerced Beauty Isn’t Beautiful

 

For a thousand years, some men in China insisted that a woman wasn’t beautiful, desirable, and worthy unless her feet had been bound into an unnatural and distorted form.

Rather than allow women to develop normally, these men insisted that their own imposed desires were superior to the natural feminine form.  The price of this imposition was a woman crippled and dependent for life.

If it should be true – and it is – that big-ticket projects in Whitewater have failed the fundamental test of community development (improvement of widespread personal and household economic well-being), then what shall one say of a generation’s efforts in that regard?

If it should be true – and it is – that unfettered demand heavily favors rental housing over single-family units in Whitewater, then what shall one say of a generation’s obsession with promoting a less favored arrangement over a more popular one?

It’s fair to say that some in Whitewater have supported these efforts in the belief that such programs might somehow make life better here. Such support, running contrary to the free, voluntary consumer demand in the whole area, might have been well-meaning, but was no less misguided.

For others, however, there must have been – and must be – some awareness, either partial or complete, that their efforts could – and can – neither meaningfully improve individual well-being nor change appreciably the overall housing stock of the city.

Empty programs attract notice that diverts attention from actual needs, and send resources in the wrong direction.

Community development in Whitewater, as it has been publicly advanced for the last few decades, looks nothing like the development of personal and household economic well-being.  Time and again, public resources have been directed at the bidding of a private business lobby.  Indeed, Whitewater’s Community Development Authority looks as much like a private 501(c)(6) business league as anything else.

Perhaps some in this city can’t imagine otherwise, in the way that years ago some men in China couldn’t imagine beauty unbound.

When the Whitewater CDA’s executive director rattles off an alphabet soup of public agencies to meddle in the marketplace, he’s parroting the sham capitalism so popular among fast-talking officials statewide.  State &  crony capitalism have the same relationship to free-market capitalism as pig Latin has to genuine Latin: they share some of the same letters, but mean very different things.

For a fraction of the public funds wasted on sketchy tech ideas and out-of-town businesses wandering nomadically for a handout, our city might have developed directed programs for the poor, and for in-town enterprises.

If it’s ‘community-minded’ to spread economic myths and reinforce empty boosterism, then to be community-minded has an unworthy meaning.

There is, of course, community happily to be found now in Whitewater, but it rests in private undertakings, apart from those who have directed public institutions to narrow and futile ends.

PreviouslyTwo Truths of Whitewater’s Economy.

Two Truths of Whitewater’s Economy

  There are two truths of Whitewater’s economy, each fundamental and each a refutation to the last generation’s myth-making. For today, it’s enough to list the two fundamental truths.   Large Public Projects Haven’t Overcome Weak Household-Income Levels in Whitewater. This is true both in aggregate, and for age brackets (children, adults 35-64) not representative…

Owner-Occupied Housing in the Whitewater Area

During these years I have written, and long before, one has heard from local officials and residents that the City of Whitewater needs more single-family housing. Single-family housing is a kind of owner-occupied housing (e.g., one owner, two adult owners, a single-family). Indeed, one hears that the City of Whitewater needs more single-family housing the…

Foxconn Deal Even Worse Than Most State Capitalism

Over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jason Stein reports Foxconn package cost Wisconsin eight times as much per job as similar 2017 state jobs deals: To land the massive Foxconn factory, Gov. Scott Walker has committed the state to paying more than eight times as much per job as Wisconsin will provide under similar job creation deals struck…

The Planning of the Planning Commission’s Subcommittee

Whitewater’s Planning Commission Subcommittee on Housing recently met on 1.17.18. They had single-family homes and rental properties on their minds.  (The discussion is embedded below, and the city’s file is online.) One could have had this same housing discussion ten or fifteen years ago, and yet, and yet – here we are, ten or fifteen…

A Second Empire Bed & Breakfast

Near the middle of college-town Whitewater, there’s a large Second Empire bed & breakfast that the owners are looking to sell. Whitewater’s Planning Commission, on 1.8.18 in the video clip above, had numerous questions for the prospective buyers. The request afterward met with rejection as a change in zoning & conditional use at  Whitewater’s Planning…

A Sign for Whitewater High School

Whitewater Planning Commission – A High School Sign from John Adams on Vimeo. Anyone who thinks that small town politics is simple hasn’t watched small town politics. In the video above, the Whitewater Planning Commission took 28 minutes to approve conditions for the local high school to place an electronic sign on school property. (Whitewater…

Daylight (Part 3 in a Series)

One finds oneself with a question, when there are gaps in a public record, when there are easily-avoidable deficiencies of open government: What will one do about it? A good method in this matter is deliberate, dispassionate, and diligent. A few thoughts: 1. Foundation. One looks at state and local provisions for public records and…

Midnight (Part 2 in a Series)

Open government is right both in itself and in consequence: a free society confers political power only for limited & enumerated purposes. Those who confer this power have a right of oversight and a sensible obligation to assure that power’s exercise remains limited & enumerated. The right derives both naturally and by positive law. In…

Amendments, Canaries, Coal Mines

                    Embed from Getty Images I wrote yesterday about two proposed amendments to Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission ordinances (Items O-1 and O-2 on the 10.3.17 Council agenda). See Amendments Concerning the Landmarks Commission. Last night, Council unanimously passed O-1, and amendment O-2 died for lack of a…

Amendments Concerning the Landmarks Commission

Even during the most difficult national conditions, there are likely to be local conflicts. A dispute in Whitewater over the powers of the city’s Landmarks Commission is one such conflict: a purely local matter. Proposed changes to Whitewater’s Municipal Code, Title 17, Landmarks Commission, are before Common Council tonight. See Whitewater, Wisconsin, Municipal Code §…