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Daily Bread for 6.14.22: When (Local) Government Treats Abnormal as Normal

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 97. Sunrise is 5:15 AM and sunset 8:34 PM for 15h 19m 13s of daytime.  The moon is full with 100% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Public Works Committee meets at 6 PM.

On this day in 1775,  the Continental Army is established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Armed Forces.


Many of Whitewater’s current challenges have no partisan or ideological cause. It’s not a matter of Republicans, Democrats, independents, etc. These problems are not a matter of left, center, or right. They are, instead, a matter of becoming inured to poor performance and poor results. Government delivers less, while either pretending that it is delivering more, or blaming residents for mistakes and controversies, for which those residents are not responsible.

Troubled communities remain troubled when they give up discussing, debating, and demanding better. These unfortunate places — victims of their own sloth and malaise — descend still lower. They become inured to failure and disappointment.

A story about Whitewater’s police department is about more than one set of allegations, or different sets of allegations. It’s not normal for a small town to go so long without a permanent police chief. It’s not normal for the public to know nothing about a supposed public investigation that’s carried on for seven months. That’s treating abnormal as normal, and expecting residents to accept that sad situation. (Key point: I don’t ‘dislike’ policing. Defunding the police, for example, has always seemed a clumsy idea to me. Rather, the city government needs a well-ordered department within a community that’s well-informed about news both good and bad. When a community hears both good and bad, residents will not overreact to either.)

It’s not normal for a school district to come through the controversies of a once-in-a-century pandemic only to have worse commotions after the pandemic. These aren’t complaints about national ideological topics, they are chronic local complaints, month after month, about a local administration. It was not normal to respond to those complaints with a seven-minute, prepared board statement before public comment even began. There is both arrogance and ignorance in thinking that approach would work. (It did not: the 5.24.22 board statement only brought more concerns at the 6.7.22 board meeting.)

It’s not normal to have a small city government that underestimates the cost of a dredging project by millions, the cost of a lift station by a million, while remaining silent on the status of its police department, and explaining little about its plans for its fire department.

It’s not normal for a small public university to have so many complaints over so many years about sexual harassment and assault (indeed, to be named as one of only 100 universities like this in the nation).

These are local problems of local administration. Whitewater’s residents are not less capable than the residents of other places. They deserve public institutions and officials that do not treat abnormal as normal.


Yellowstone National Park closes after ‘unprecedented’ rain, flooding:

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A Town Squire
11 days ago

THis is probably good advice that no one in the city/school district is gonna accept. They will think its not serious or some kind of trick.They all think that the best thing is to avoid the public. Plus, at this point half of them would not know what to say anyhow. But yeah you have a point.

Wondering
11 days ago

do you think whitewater will get to normal
?

Joe
11 days ago

John,. Could you give your opinion, with specific position titles, how improvement can start? It seems no one person knows what to do, school or city. Where does community begin?

joe
11 days ago
Reply to  JOHN ADAMS

Lets start with getting Singer back on Council.

anonymous
10 days ago

what if there is no change?