Monday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 38. Sunrise is 7:09 and sunset 4:21 for 9h 11m 38s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 57.4% of its visible disk illuminated.
Whitewater’s Police & Fire Commission meets at 6 PM.
On this day in 1971, during a concert by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention at the Montreux Casino, an audience member fires a flare gun into the ceiling, causing a fire that destroys the venue.
The agenda of the Whitewater Common Council session for 11.21.23 had 36 items. A post here at FREE WHITEWATER on 11.22 considered Item 27. See Puzzling, Ongoing Irresponsibility. Today’s post will address a few more items from that November meeting. I’ll call on figures from history, heavy metal, and master planning to help me out.
Item 12 was an Immigration Roundtable Update and Item 16 was the Resolution Adopting the 2024-2025 City of Whitewater Municipal Budget. The discussion of Item 12 begins at 1:26:51 on a recording of the session and a portion of the budget discussion involving police staffing begins at 3:37 on the session recording.
The council approved additional funds for a staffing study and technology additions to the police budget. See video @ 38:10.
There’s a link between the two items, as in both there are discussions of changes to the city’s demographics. For Item 12 that’s necessary categorically; for Item 16 it may not be. It’s a small point but one the city has time to consider: immigration necessarily involves talk of immigrants, but staffing may be needed for many reasons, some of which may not involve immigrants.
If a study on the matter points to the need for more officers, and if the method of hiring requires a referendum, then (but only then) the question of staffing becomes an electoral & political matter. There’s sure to be a desire, from city staff and the department, to address all of this now. Choosing among justifications, however, has political implications.
How to present a referendum is a matter that can be addressed when the city is closer to a vote (likely spring 2025). 2025 may seem close, but there’s plenty of time. No reason to take my word for it — the Duke of Wellington explains it well:
Another part of Item 16’s budget discussion involved Councilmember Gerber’s desire to ensure specific percentage targets for city employees (e.g., 70% to goal, 80% to goal, etc.). As it turned out, however, it’s not possible to set a percentage-to-goal target unless one knows what goes into the targets. Seventy percent to goal, as against for example eighty percent, only matters if one knows what comprises the goal. Video @ 27:00.
The council sensibly held off on percentage goals until it knew the substance behind those percentages. Video @ 30:00. To have done otherwise would have left the council in the unfortunate situation of Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap, who thought a number mattered more than (and indeed determined!) what it represented:
Item 16 had a portion for public comment reasonably limited to three minutes per person. A community-minded official could afford to be patient with his fellow residents for three minutes. Indeed, he should be patient with them under that limit. This council president, who often speaks nebulously and vacuously, saw fit to remind others not to be repetitive. Video @ 17:20. If there’s a time limit for each person to speak, then that should be enough for this council. A time limit and a reminder not to be repetitive is what someone says when he condescends to others. Sure, maybe Dalton Russell never repeats himself, but then he’s a master planner:
The rest of us aren’t like that. It’s either an unmerited arrogance or unacceptable laziness that would cause an official in local government to think that he needed to remind someone about repetition over a brief three-minute period. A timer is enough; no one should be following this council president’s words of caution on supposed repetition by ordinary residents. They should be able to speak within that period as they’re able.
Whitewater is a small & beautiful city where all residents deserve respectful opportunities from their local government.