Daily Bread for 11.12.23: The Local Press Conference that Was Neither Local Nor a Press Conference

 Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 54. Sunrise is 6:43 and sunset 4:34 for 9h 50m 25s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1948, in Tokyo, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.

  On Friday, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil found their way to Whitewater for a closed press conference. (A closed event like that is a sham event, and simply a glorified press release with a few local people sitting around as window dressing, non-playing characters, tailor’s dummies, etc.) 

But Johnson and Steil, who’ve never carried the City of Whitewater and never will, had a message for a statewide audience. The few, selected, non-local reporters they carefully situated gave Johnson and Steil the headline they wanted:

Wisconsin lawmakers hold roundtable on crime cartels in Whitewater; call on stricter border policies from Biden Administration.

People will not want to visit, shop, send their children to school, or live in a city that is identified, as this state story does, with a crime cartel. 

People who live here now will not want that either. A more level-headed look at Whitewater would have required a thoughtful set of stories, not a television station’s clickbait. 

For insightful local reporting, the kind that Johnson and Steil did not include in their political event, one should look instead to WhitewaterWise:

Johnson, Steil meet in Whitewater with law enforcement officials; policing challenges discussed and Johnson, Steil hold press conference in Whitewater, discuss immigration, border security initiatives.

That brings residents to the question of policing challenges in Whitewater. At the 11.7.23 meeting of the Whitewater Common Council, one councilmember mentioned the need for at least three more officers for Whitewater’s department.

It’s an understatement to say that the way to build consensus in Whitewater for an expanded force will not come from what officials in county, state, or federal offices think. Some in Whitewater will, surely, support the Johnson-Steil approach. The challenge that Whitewater’s department and council face is that a significant number here find Johnson & Steil objectionable (so much so that neither has ever carried the city vote). It’s not simply that Johnson & Steil are unpopular among Latinos here; they’re unpopular generally. 

An enduring consensus here will be the opposite of their approach: not turning up the dial to eleven, but turning it down to four, and then beginning the discussion. This approach will seem counter-intuitive, if not an invitation to trickery, to many who are addicted to the notion that raising the temperature is a sure-fire winner on this issue. (In some places, on some issues, it is; in Whitewater, on this issue, it won’t be.)

This libertarian blogger doesn’t, and never will, represent the government. Whitewater’s officials will have to sort out the local implications in Whitewater if they want incremental gains in both headcount and community relations for Whitewater. People choose freely, sometimes well, sometimes poorly.  

Much will depend here on how insightful local officials will be about their own local politics and community culture.

We’ll see.

Oops! Lion wanders through Italian town after escaping circus:

A lion prowled the streets of an Italian seaside town for several hours after escaping from a local circus, before being sedated and captured.


Daily Bread for 6.14.22: When (Local) Government Treats Abnormal as Normal

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Daily Bread for 6.13.22: Wisconsin Examiner Reports ‘Complaints mount over conduct of Whitewater PD’

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Daily Bread for 1.31.22: COVID-19 the leading cause of death in the line of duty for Wisconsin police officers and firefighters

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Daily Bread for 8.21.21: Hundreds of Wisconsin Police Officers Back on the Job after Being Fired or Forced Out

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Built Against Substantive Change

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Why Now?

Social historians, looking at the many protests against police violence (protests taking place across America and in other countries) will be able (if imprecisely) to assess the motivations of these recent events. Of two things one can be confident, without being a historian: these protests are in response to specific acts of law-enforcement violence, with…