On Transgender Americans

One could write about the recent Twitter statement from Trump that “[a]fter consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” but there’s a broader question than military service. To be sure, I believe […]

How Big Averts Bad

If it should be true that small-town Whitewater faces a choice between difficult times now or an extended decline before an out-of-town-led gentrification, that her decline will otherwise be slow but no less signficant as a result, that stakeholder (special interest) politics grips the city, and that this stakeholder politics is really an identity politics […]

The Lingua Franca of a New Whitewater

If it should be true – and it is – that Whitewater is more diverse than her town fathers care to admit, with the city now a collection of disparate, minority factions, how can one reach a majority with a message? (For Whitewater’s waning notables of this generation, there’s no way to return to their former […]

A Small But Diverse City, Seldom Described That Way

About four months ago, a councilman in Whitewater (intelligent, educated) expressed concern that a municipal meeting was poorly attended (it was).  His solution was to post notice of the next meeting on the Banner.   They city posted a notice there, and the next meeting was still poorly attended (with only a few more people than […]

If Market-Based Solutions Are Superior to Cronyism, Why Are There So Many Cronies?

Here’s a question, concerning even small towns like Whitewater, for which the Financial Times publishes an answer: If market-based solutions are superior to cronyism, why are there so many cronies? First, there aren’t that many cronies (or insistent insiders) in Whitewater or elsewhere, but the few there are manipulate or intimidate weak reporters at local papers into representing their numbers as […]

The (Welcome) End of ‘Big’ in a Small Town

I don’t think much of the term ‘movers and shakers’ (that a nearby newspaper used to describe supposedly influential people) or ‘big’ people, etc.  The terms almost always exaggerate actual influence.  I am sure, though, that a combination of diverse social media, the decline of print, the shifting demographics within Whitewater, and the next generation’s […]

So What Do You Think of Whitewater?

People, including some from far from our city, often ask me what I think of Whitewater.  I think Whitewater is beautiful, and that despite present challenges she has a bright future.  Sometimes people say they might like a warmer place in winter, or a bigger place all year.  They say this sincerely, and their wishes […]

The Dark, Futile Dream

UW-Whitewater is searching for a new chancellor, and so there’s a search committee, and a search consultant to guide that committee’s work.  The consultant is Dr. Jessica Kozloff, the former president of a small, undistinguished college in Pennsylvania.  (The UW System schools are, each of them, more competitive and developed than the one Dr. Kozloff […]

The Absence of Equilibrium

Later this week, I’ll check to see how I did on my predictions for 2014, and make some new ones for 2015.  The week of January 6th, I’ll elaborate on themes from the predictions for 2015.  Here’s an observation, however, that I think describes Whitewater’s politics and culture, generally: there is an absence of equilibrium, […]

Causes and Monuments

Early one morning, while you’re in a coffee shop, a woman walks through the door, orders an Americano, and sits down at your table.  She sips ever so tentatively, while poring over a local newspaper.  She turns to you and asks, “Do you know how I could leave my mark on this community?” You’re not […]

Whitewater Educational Referendum Post 3: An Invitation

Like so many others in Whitewater, I am a believer in both proper schooling and lifelong learning.  My father and uncle first introduced me to campus life when I was still a small boy.  Years later, I had the pleasure of their visits to campus when I was a student.  On those visits, my father […]

‘Best Practices, Fair Treatment, Transparency’

Writing about the city requires reading the public documents of local government, even if one chooses not to write about what one’s read.  Reading and observing come well before writing.   Daily observation inclines an observer not to the immediate, but the distant – one takes a longer view of things.   Along the way, […]

Could the Koch Brothers Dominate Whitewater’s Politics?

Assume for a moment that Charles and David Koch decided to use their vast billions to dominate Whitewater’s local politics.  They’d spend whatever they had, under this hypothetical, to put their hand-picked candidates in office, for advertising, public relations, goodwill community events, and lobbying to get their way in elections, appointments, and in pressuring local […]