Daily Bread for 6.10.22: The Uncertain Course of Whitewater’s Local Turmoil

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will see scattered thundershowers with a high of 73. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:33 PM for 15h 17m 06s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 79.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1837, State Capitol Workers Arrive in Madison: “On this date, workmen arrived in Madison to begin construction of the first state capitol building. A ceremony to lay the building’s cornerstone was to be held three weeks later, on July 4, 1837.” See Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

The last months, notably the last eight to ten months, have seen both local malaise (the city) and local turmoil (the school district) in Whitewater. A few observations, at week’s end:

  1. These regrettable tensions in Whitewater have not been the result of national trends. The pandemic has slipped into an endemic, and the most intense arguments over it have faded. National debates over COVID-19, policing, the economy, school curriculums, etc. are not the cause of residents’ complaints about Whitewater’s city government or school district.
  2. These are local problems, involving local actions and reactions.
  3. If these were, in fact, national problems having arrived also in Whitewater, it would be easier to predict their course through this community. As it is, one cannot easily find other communities with these kinds of complaints from which to draw quick lessons. They are homegrown.
  4. Whitewater’s controversies are not dispassionate policy debates; they are rather questions of policy and culture, and that sort of turmoil, once begun, is more difficult to address.
  5. As I have emphasized, these are not simply complaints from or about employees of the city or school district. They have become residents’ complaints — residents’ complaints are an order of magnitude more serious. They will lead to permanent resentments and community fissures.
  6. The school board’s 5.24.22 prepared statement only made matters worse. It was perceived in this community as shifting blame onto residents. It should have been easy to see that it would be perceived that way. I’ll not bother to go through that statement line-by-line. On its own, however, it was the most counter-productive approach this board could have taken in the face of community concerns. No one on the board, not even all of the board members together, has the clout to quell these concerns through the board’s 5.24 approach. The district is now somewhat worse off than it was in May.
  7. As these complaints stem from unique local actions and reactions, some known, some inscrutable, it’s hard to tell where this community is heading. As a baseline assumption, one could begin with the view that past is prologue, and that the community is in for more of the same. Beyond that, I’ll not offer a prediction.

Putin compares himself to Peter the Great in Russian territorial push:

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13 days ago

Lets hope for new leadership at both the school and the city. people who will interact with people and listen to the concerns. (Instead of writing posts about a family member farting) Try to find happy mediums and compromise. Dismissal of people’s concerns causes more dissention. Please let our lovely town start over. Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.