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Open Government

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.…

A Local Newspaper Squeaks

Local newspapers like the nearby Janesville Gazette often self-servingly contend that they’re like the last oasis before a news desert. It’s closer to the truth to say they’re a contributor to an increasingly arid local climate. Even stories that reveal some information hold back from readers other key documents that would aid in fuller understanding…

What else did Trump say on his call with Ukraine’s president?

Carol D. Leonnig, Craig Timberg, and Drew Harwell report Odd markings, ellipses fuel doubts about the ‘rough transcript’ of Trump’s Ukraine call: President Trump said Wednesday that his controversial July call with his Ukrainian counterpart was transcribed “word-for-word, comma-for-comma,” an assertion that fueled growing questions about the nature and completeness of an official memorandum about…

Why Transparency Matters in Local Politics

From 2015, Libertarianism.org offers a podcast (posted on YouTube) with Kevin Glass, then of the Franklin Center. (Now called the Franklin New Foundation, it’s a center-right organization; many of Glass’s comments – he now works elsewhere – on open government are, however, non-partisan.) There are similar projects with a center-left focus.  In Wisconsin, for example,…

School Board Applicants’ Letters of Interest

Last week, I posted on the applicant interviews with the Whitewater Unified School Board for a vacancy (following the resignation of board member Jean Linos). See School Board, 9.16.19: Applicant Interviews and Reporting. Seeing that the agenda for the meeting lacked key information, and a local newspaper’s reporting (Gazette; Beleckis) was deficient, I submitted a…

School Board, 9.16.19: Applicant Interviews and Reporting

On Monday night, the Whitewater Unified School District’s board met to interview four applicants for a vacancy on the board (following the resignation of board member Jean Linos). The agenda for the meeting, although posted online, listed none of the applicants: not by total number, let alone by name or with their accompanying letters of…

A New Embrace That Should Have Been an Old Embrace

One reads that, in rejection of a prior administration’s approach, [Wisconsin Attorney General] Kaul Embraces Opens Records Policy: Wisconsin’s open records law applies to all records requests, big or small. But under former Attorney General Brad Schimel, the Wisconsin Department of Justice implemented a restrictive policy that limited access based on the number of potentially…

Closed Government is Expensive Government

Small communities – by definition places with small populations – have fewer people from whom residents can choose officials, elected or appointed. The rational response for these communities would be to be as open as possible, to make best use of their full populations, and to encourage newcomers. Pride, however, stands in the way of…

The Best Record is a Recording

A video recording of the 5.28.19 Whitewater Unified School Board meeting is now online. It is, truly, a genuine good without merely particular ends.  (Every regular and special board session should be online, by the board’s own policies. See Public Records Request, 5.20.19.) A recording of the full session confirms yet again that the best…

The Disorder Nearby

All the communities in our area are struggling economically, but yet Whitewater has fared better than neighboring places. The commitment of a community to transparency inoculates against an inferior, disordered politics of the sort one sees in the nearby cities of Jefferson and Milton. Look at Jefferson (where city officials dissemble about relationships with fraudulent vendors)…

Whitewater’s Channel 990

Update 1, Tuesday morning: Channel 990 is televising properly again. Here’s my original email, and a reply from Whitewater’s city manager, Cameron Clapper.  (See also a message below from Kristin Mickelson, Whitewater’s PR & Communications Manager.) Original email: Good morning, City Manager Clapper. I hope this note finds you well, and enjoying a snow day in Whitewater.…