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Local Government

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…

Miscellany on Development Policy in Whitewater

There’s a significant difference between local, political calls for urgency and genuine need. Recent discussions about development policy in Whitewater only bolster this view. A few remarks (as I’ve been asked more than once what I think of the last two months’ events) — Independence. The best decision one could make when writing about policy…

Do Yorkshire Terriers Dream of Being Wolves?

Perhaps Yorkshire terriers dream each night of being ferocious wolves.  If that should be so, and if even tiny dogs imagine themselves as mighty predators, then there may be a natural explanation – in animals and people – for the yearning of smarmy local development men for gigantic corporate welfare schemes. Of those men and…

A Reminder About Opportunity Zones: Bad Policy Flacked Locally

Those following what passes for economic policy in Whitewater know that this website has been rightly critical of the economic opportunity zones that were part of Trump’s tax bill. See About that Trump Tax Bill, More About that Trump Tax Bill, and The Trump Tax Bill: That’s Not Reform. Jenny Schuetz, commenting on part of Trump’s…

‘But Not in Conditions of Their Own Choosing’

It’s a truism to say that all people make history, but not in conditions of their own choosing: Admittedly and sadly, the local boosterism of the pre-Trump years is now in retrospect worse than one might have initially believed: across America boosters who peddled false descriptions & junk solutions during the economic hardship of the…

More Predictable Than an Atomic Clock

If one read beforehand the agenda for last night’s common council meeting (1.21.20), one would have seen the applicants for various boards (particularly the Whitewater Community Development Authority). Seeing them, and knowing what the last ten years on the CDA have been like, one could have confidently predicted which candidate would be recommended for appointment.…

Newnan, Georgia & Whitewater, Wisconsin

One reads, in the New York Times, about How 17 outsize portraits rattled a small southern town (‘Not everyone was ready for what they saw’). After a white-nationalist rally in Newnan, Georgia, that town put up 17 large-scale banner portraits, images of the ordinary people who make up the town. They hang from the perches of…

Market-Hating Republicans Have Been a Local Problem for Years

George Will, writing in the Washington Post, observes that Josh Hawley sounds like he has far too much faith in government: The sails of [Republican] Sen. Josh Hawley’s political skiff are filled with winds gusting from the right. They come from conservatives who think that an array of — perhaps most of — America’s social injuries,…

But, but, but…we were promised growth, growth, growth!

Locally, statewide, and nationally, Trump & those who flacked his tax bill, and those who also pushed corporate welfare schemes (Foxconn, WEDC, Whitewater CDA), promised growth, growth, growth! How odd that these men — politicians, movers-and-shakers, developers, landlords, and public relations types — seem to have missed the mark: The World Bank sees U.S. growth stumbling from…

Who Implied That Toppers Might Move Its Headquarters? Whitewater’s City Manager, That’s Who

In a Janesville Gazette story from 12.5, Whitewater’s city manager, Cameron Clapper, is reported as saying that another paper’s coverage incorrectly implied that Toppers Pizza might move its Whitewater headquarters. In fact, the video of a recent Community Development Authority (CDA) meeting from 11.21.19 reveals that it was Clapper, himself, who implied that Toppers might move.…

Local Government’s Failure to Speak Independently and Effectively

There’s a story at the Janesville Gazette that illustrates the inability of Whitewater, Wisconsin’s local government to communicate effectively on its own.  The story, primarily, is about the ongoing search for a stand-alone grocery store to come to Whitewater.  See Whitewater city manager remains ‘optimistic’ city will get a grocery store (Beleckis, reporter; Schwartz, editor). Routine,…

Forget the Tender Feelings of a Pernicious Faction

Over at the Journal Sentinel, Craig Gilbert writes about the political divide in For voters in this purple part of Wisconsin [Richland Center], the impeachment fight is a symbol of broken politics. The story establishes a false equivalence between those who support impeachment and those who oppose it, as though the conflict between these views…

What the New Dealers Got Right – What Whitewater’s Local Notables Got Wrong

There’s sound reason to doubt that the New Dealers’ economic solutions to the Great Depression were effective, but there’s no doubt that Roosevelt’s Brain Trust was hard-working, smart, and candid in its description of America’s economic problems. For a critical assessment of the New Deal, written accessibly, see The Forgotten Man: A New History of…