FREE WHITEWATER

Local Government

In Whitewater, Three Recent Trespasses Against Public Comment

Whitewater’s public comment periods are lawful rights worth defending, and there has never been a time when respecting public comment – humbly and gratefully – has been more important for the city. Since June, there have been three meetings during which Whitewater’s current council president has deprecated public comment, or wrongly set the order of…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 9.15.20: 4 Points

Updated 9.16.20 with meeting video. Last night, among other items, Whitewater Common Council’s met and considered municipal actions in response to the pandemic, heard presentations from Downtown Whitewater, Inc. and Discover Whitewater, and appointed a resident to fill a council vacancy in AD 5. A few remarks —  1. Pandemic Responses. Whitewater’s council last week declined, on…

Local Politician Tells District Administrator How to Read District’s Own Approved Documents

In Whitewater, a local charity, the Whitewater Community Foundation, publishes a website in which the city council president poses as something like a reporter. It’s an obvious conflict of interest, from a man who shows no understanding of either proper journalism or conflicts of interest. Where Whitewater departs from the conventional in natural beauty, she…

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Helpful Advice for Whitewater, Wisconsin

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is rightly celebrated as a masterpiece. It also offers useful political advice, even for small town officials. From that musical’s Washington on Your Side, consider this sage observation on the limits of intra-institutional reform: If there’s a fire you’re trying to douse, You can’t put it out from inside the house. There’s…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 9.9.20: 5 Points

Evening of 9.10.20: Updated with full session video. As always, the best record is a recording. Original post follows — Last night, at a special meeting of the Whitewater Common Council, that public body voted 5-1 against consideration of a municipal ordinance to regulate mass gatherings during the pandemic. (The agenda packet, with the ordinance…

Whitewater’s Local Government: Always Literally, Not as Often Seriously

It was the Trump apologist Salena Zito who, by way of defending Trump, suggested that his words should be taken ‘seriously, not literally.’ (She offered this defense in a deceitful effort to absolve Trump from the plain meaning of what he said, at any moment. Instead of considering his statements, one was supposed to take…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 9.1.20: Culture & Prohibitions

At last night’s meeting of the Whitewater Common Council, the council discussed and gave direction to the city attorney to draft an ordinance regulating large gatherings of people on private property during the pandemic. (Updated with video. A revised agenda is available here.) The council plans to meet again on 9.9.20, where they will consider a…

September Arrives: Consequences Will Settle Claims

September arrives. Small-town Whitewater, like all America, wrestles with a pandemic and a recession. In the spring and summer, one often heard that we would know more about the coronavirus and the economy in the fall. Fall now arrives. There have been, and will continue to be, officials’ claims about how the city, university, and…

Social Capital and Hardship

What role does social capital play in a community’s health? Adam Gopnik, in The Paradoxical Role of Social Capital in the Coronavirus Pandemic, ponders whether there’s a relationship between communities with high social capital and a community’s public health. Gopnik uses a traditional definition of social capital as the “parts of society that, without being…

Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 8.4.20: 6 Points

At last night’s meeting of the Whitewater Common Council, among other items — the council slightly modified its mask ordinance, discussed (but took no action on) a racial justice initiative that would create an Equal Opportunities Committee, voted unanimously to extend the lake drawdown project for approximately another year, and voted to continue virtual public…

Whitewater & Walworth County’s Working Poor, 2020 ALICE® Report

The 2020 ALICE® report, on those who are “asset limited, income constrained [yet] employed” is now available.  These latest data were collected before the recent recession – one can be sadly confident that hardship reaches farther now. For Wisconsin, 11% of households were below the poverty level, and 34% (including those below the poverty level) were…

Engagement and Engagement-Engagement

Sometimes, as a matter of emphasis, people repeat a word – so a big tree becomes a big-big tree, and something sweet becomes sweet-sweet. The repetition of the adjective suggests an exceptional thing – more intense or more significant. In this way, there might be both engagement and engagement-engagement. In this first situation, there’s some…

Whitewater, Wisconsin’s Temporary Mask Ordinance: 7 Points

Updated evening of 7.22.20 with meeting video. (The discussion on Whitewater’s mask ordinance runs from 31:09 to 3:37:50.) At last night’s meeting of the Whitewater Common Council, the seven-member council voted unanimously for a temporary mask ordinance, taking effect 8.1.20 and running through 12.31.20, requiring masks in parts of buildings open to the public, and…

About That Proposed, Temporary Mask Ordinance for Whitewater, Wisconsin

So, there’s a proposed, temporary mask ordinance before the Whitewater Common Council tonight. Needless to say, there’s been a lot of talk about the measure (and so a lot of emails sent my way – thanks much for these messages). Readers have asked what I think of the proposal. I’ve offered a simple answer: I’d…