Common Council, 8.6.19: 5 Points

Whitewater’s common council met in regular session on Tuesday, 8.6.19, and at that meeting the council selected an applicant to fill a vacant council seat.  See Common Council, 8.6.19: The Context of an Appointment.

Today, a few other points to consider:

1. Government is not the community; it’s a slice only. While it’s practical to watch government closely (and it’s a libertarian disposition to do so), the vibrant life of a community is found in free exchange and associations among residents, not in the machinations of elected or appointed officials.

2. In a rural community beset with economic stagnation, where government has been ineffectual or destructive to sound policy (Whitewater’s Community Development Authority comes to mind), the best options are private ones (especially private charitable ones). See An Oasis Strategy.

3. It’s good to expect preparedness, but council members who are older (and likely retired) only condescend when they ask young applicants (who are an absolute majority of the city’s population) “can we count on you spending that amount of time [1-2 hours] to be prepared for the meeting?” (video @ 6:20).

Perhaps the better question for those older residents now in office: if you’ve spent 1-2 hours in reading, what does the average resident have to show for it?

Just as likely, it’s long-time incumbents who need to read more, and read with greater discernment.

4. It’s true (video @ 40:45) that listing service clubs on the city’s website would be useful to newcomers. It’s also practical to solicit feedback about the city’s website (video @ 41:20).

And look, and look – messaging from local government isn’t most often ineffective because it’s poorly formatted – it’s ineffective when the underlying claims are absurd.

Notices about community events or groups aren’t an occasion where politics fails – grandiose claims about political accomplishments are a notable occasion where politics fails.

5. As always, the best record is a recording.

1 comment for “Common Council, 8.6.19: 5 Points

  1. J
    08/08/2019 at 1:14 PM

    It is true about Whitewater’s chasm between town & gown. We are not talking to each other as equals. Neither one likes or respects the other. There is condescension in that question about being prepared and there is condensation from some of my colleagues directed back at the city, too.

    It’s not a supportive relationship on either side.

    The census numbers completely drive home the point that the town part of Whitewater is small. Bad rural times have not helped anything.

    The article from James Fallows about successful cities does not describe our campus’s role in Whitewater. We are not a research university so that was never going to be a factor. The sad part is that Fallows states that a community college can also have a positive effect, but as a four-year school we do not have the kind of close ties that some two-year schools have in their communities.