A Bit More on Examples

I’ve written about Milton as a bad example for Whitewater, and I’ve written about Jefferson this way, too. See Sunshine Week 2018 (The Bad Example Nearby), Attack of the Dirty Dogs, and Thanks, City of Jefferson!. The Milton-related post prompted two readers to ask about my connections to that troubled school district’s politics. I’ve replied to […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (A Methodical Approach)

Writing about a topic is a deliberate, often slow, process. Something happens – perhaps of concern – but one may not address it immediately. A bit of waiting can be a sound response. Along the way, an original perspective may change, and a project grow larger (or smaller). See Steps for Blogging on a Policy or Proposal. […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (City, District, and State)

Local readers may have heard, as I have heard, that area officials know that there are ways around municipal ordinances and school district policies on open government. There’s no surprise in hearing this: there is no human construct that cannot be circumvented; there are few professing a public interest who do not simultaneously feel the […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (Some Years Ago, in Whitewater)

In 2010, the City of Whitewater considered an ordinance to publish video recordings of principal public meetings. The first reading of the proposal was in August, and a second reading led to its approval in September. One may find the ordinance at Whitewater, Wisconsin, Municipal Code, Chapter 2.62 (Whitewater Transparency Enhancement Ordinance). This ordinance did not […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (The Bad Example Nearby)

Just as one would prefer a beautiful neighborhood, so too would a sensible person prefer that nearby towns were well-ordered and successful. And yet, and yet, one cannot choose for those other towns: they will choose for themselves, sometimes well, sometimes poorly. When they do choose poorly, the best one can do is to guard […]

Sunshine Week 2018 (Introduction)

March 11 to 17 is Sunshine Week in America, an ‘annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community.’ If the country, then the state, if the state, then the city, if the city, then Whitewater. So here we are. Although Sunshine Week is seven days, open […]

Candidates and Candidacies

Small towns have reputations for being plain-speaking places, but the less so, in fact, than reputation suggests. One will hear much about who’s running, who’s in, who’s out, but not as much – if anything – about what candidates believe. Longtime readers know that I comment on politics, but know also that I’m opposed to […]

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 […]

Twilight (Part 1 of a Series)

One reads that the Janesville Gazette is activating a full-site paywall (three free articles a month, day pass for a dollar, Facebook comment authorization, etc.). The stated reason is that the Gazette needs money (“Digital advertising and marketing don’t generate enough revenue to cover the expenses of our local journalism”). A few observations: 1. Private […]

Grocery Preliminaries (Part 2)

I wrote yesterday about a grocery in town, in a post entitled, Grocery Preliminaries.  The post’s subject line used the word ‘preliminaries’ because it seems likely that Whitewater will get a new grocery, whatever one thinks of a public subsidy to entice one.   In this way, that post presumed a deal, and so was meant […]

Informed Residents 

One week ago, at a Common Council meeting, one heard that Whitewater’s municipal government would use a software application to increase opportunities for residents’ input on local issues. See, Common Council meeting of 6.21.16, https://vimeo.com/171809282, beginning at 1:28:17. Assuming that the means are reliable and accessible, more opportunities for collecting opinion are better than fewer. […]