Daily Bread for 10.19.23: The Plan

 Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of 60. Sunrise is 7:13 and sunset 6:05 PM for 10h 51m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 22.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM

  On this day in 1781, the Battle of Yorktown ends in a decisive victory of the combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington with support from Marquis de Lafayette and French Army troops led by Comte de Rochambeau and a French naval force commanded by Comte de Grasse over the British Army commanded by British Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis.

Following posts about Whitewater’s probable near-future (The Shape of Decline to Come (and How to Carry On) and yesterday’s ‘Gradually and Then Suddenly’), I added some remarks in the comment section of that second post. Some of those remarks are reproduced below, as a post of their own.

A reminder: Whitewater deserves better from its common council majority; this city is better than its council majority. Whitewater deserves better from its community development authority’s majority; this city is better than that authority’s majority.

The Plan:

Sometimes candor demands a bleak assessment.

They [special interests, their operatives, and catspaws on common council and the CDA] will act as quickly as possible. They almost certainly have an ambitious timetable for 2023 and early 2024. Their goals will be to remove the city manager this year, and then promptly begin a replacement process for both the city manager and to complete the hiring for the now-vacant CDA director position. They’ll need catspaws in those roles to ensure that they can direct various public funds to their preferred, crony recipients.

These goals will need to be accomplished before the next spring general election in April. (If the election in April goes bad for incumbents who’ve backed overturning the city administration, the special interests will still have accomplished their main aim of installing new appointees to control development policy and money.)

Afterward, they will use the new hires they pick to force out any employees in city hall who, in their estimation, stood against their plans. (In the meantime, they will tell these employees that their concerns are only about the city manager, and no one else will be affected.) They lie when they speak, so these assurances should mean nothing to a sensible person.

Having begun this process, they will not stop. Partway in does not suit their plans. They will continue regardless of community sentiment. If they cared about community sentiment, then they wouldn’t be special interests in the first place.

These special interests (a few landlords and bankers) will use the council majority to fire or force out this city manager, after which they will hand-pick a new city manager and an economic development director who will take direction only from them. 

Public Comment Matters Less to Special Interests (they’re special, not general interests, after all): 

I think public comment matters to almost everyone. When people speak at a microphone, for example, it matters to most people. It matters much less, however, to Whitewater’s special interests when they have a financial interest at stake. They’ll take as much as they want and worry about the recuperations later.

In general, they have a low opinion of contrary voices. They’re entiled, and feel that they’re deserving of more. It’s a small town, and for anyone to think himself better is deluded, but these interests have deluded themselves and others for years. They’ll not stop now. Best guess: they assume that residents will roll over for them. Upset for a day or two, and then resigned to the special interest lie that only a few people matter.

They’ll push on.

On Predictions: 

I cannot predict the future with certainty; what I offer is an estimate only, based on observations sincere yet imperfect. Yet for it all, there are residents with whom I have corresponded and conversed over the last year who have said these men would not go as far as they have, and at each moment what seemed probable to me has, in fact, come to pass. I claim no extrasensory perception. Instead, these few men and their catspaws have been so obvious that it’s enough to look plainly at their actions and words and estimate the effects thereof.

There’s nothing special about me; there’s something especially rotten about this ilk.

I do think it’s possible to mitigate much of the harm that awaits, and now more than never there are two tasks before someone who cares about this small city.

First, to develop and propose steps to keep Whitewater going in spite of special interest control of the Whitewater Common Council and the Whitewater Community Development Authority. They’ve made plain what they want and what they will do; expecting better of them would be expecting too much of them.

Residents can achieve meaningful results for themselves despite below-average majorites on those two bodies. It will be hard, but it can be done. An ongloing project like this is a moral obligation in a community that will descend quickly into a worse state. (As always, a reminder: I have no personal grievance, but instead only a social and political concern.)

Second, a chronicle of this time, detailed and avaiable to others, will be useful to show residents what they can accomplish when they are free of inadequate schemers. It will also be useful as a warning of what might befall other communities if they allow themsleves to become prey to a few manipulators.

It’s rare that this blogger favors military metaphors for civilian life, but the concept of the happy warrior now comes to mind. (It’s often applied to both Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, ironically sometimes allies, sometimes adversaries.) We are only ordinary people, all equal, but we can in our own ways try to carry on as happy warriors.

It is good fortune and blessing, both, it is to find onself in Whitewater. As with marriage, ‘for better or worse, in sickness and in health,’ one lives and loves steadfastly. There is no place that I would rather be, or perhaps, just perhaps, could be.

Each day and every day, one lives the life of a happy warrior, approaching the day’s challenges from the perspective of a dark horse underdog.

In a city of thousands, there are countless ways first to hold, and then to advance.

Sad, yes, of course it is.

Daunting, perhaps.

Impossible, not at all.

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4 months ago

It’s all there in plain sight isn’t it?