Daily Bread for 12.4.23: More on the 11.21 Council Session

 Good morning.

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.

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New Attendee
2 months ago

She spoke with a tone quite highbrow,
“I know the goals!” she proclaimed with a vow.
With an “I” in each phrase,
Her demands set ablaze,
A confidence bold, yet somehow…

When asked, “Your source, could you cite?”
Gerber faltered under the spotlight.
“Well, I just made it up,”
She admitted, abrupt,
A contrast to her fictive might.

While experts with data do ply,
Offering guidance, not shy,
She, in her muddled sphere,
Oft dismisses what’s clear,
Preferring her own “I know why.”

Reply to  New Attendee
2 months ago

This poem is great!The poem plus video makes same point two ways. It’s like your boss tells you to do more but doesn’t say more of what.

2 months ago

Yes, great stuff today for post/comments. Telling to have a separate agenda when there is so much focus on extra law firm or obsession on some staff goal that’s not going to change the basics for any residents. That’s totally disconnected from real issues. Them asking a million times won’t make it more normal.

Purple Rain
2 months ago

Twas a cold winter morning in our run down looking town
All the folks were asleep except one sporting a frown
She cleaned last nights street with personal care
Which was really quite easy cause no one was there

All the people were elsewhere, to towns with cheap gas and stores,
and lakes that had water with no weeds at the shore
To towns with low taxes and streets that weren’t lumpy
And the folks at town hall werent bossy and grumpy

For progress is not measured by stores that take dollars
Or where coffee shops bloom like cat tails in wet hollers
But rather where diplomacy and professionalism flow
when the new kid in town takes a trip down the road

2 months ago

One could choose to recite the alphabet as many times as one was able within the three minute and be both repetitive and under the three minute mark. Pity that’s not been done. Might liven up the discussion.

Censuring public comment is unacceptable.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell

New Attendee
2 months ago

Ah, imitation, the sincerest form of flattery.

There once was a voice, Purple Rain,
Criticizing new people, in vain.
For the issues run deep,
In the council’s old keep,
Yet they point to the new, with disdain.