Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 82. Sunrise is 5:42 AM and sunset 8:20 PM for 14h 38m 26s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1974, in the Watergate scandal, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Nixon.
A Monday evening presentation to the Whitewater School Board (Addressing Needs in the District) described the socio-economic condition of the community, and its particular, greater-than-average challenges. See from 7.26.22 Slides on Whitewater’s (Socio-Economic) Condition.
Socio-economics are only part of district’s (or community’s) condition and needn’t be determinative of achievement. It’s not true that low-income communities cannot achieve economically; it’s that it’s harder for them to do so.
There are two ways to consider a presentation that includes the district’s socio-economic challenges: as merely instrumental to achieve approval and support for a referendum to exceed revenue limits or as an acknowledgement of a condition that’s intrinsically significant.
If the measurements are presented as significant intrinsically, then they should and would be influential of ongoing policy. If one believes that these conditions are meaningful (and they are), then policy should be directed to address them.
Recognition of this significance would lead to an ongoing, all-hands-on-deck response.
Whitewater, historically, views discussions of a referendum as a budgetary matter, and as in 2018, the 2022 presentation was a budgetary presentation. That’s Whitewater’s misguided approach (although the 2022 presentation was welcome for its candor). Discussion of the socio-economic challenges of the community must begin and be repeated from the top of every public and private institution (superintendents, city managers, chancellors, executives). This libertarian blogger would not suggest that these economic problems are suitable only for local government solutions, but they require government acknowledgement at the highest levels.
If economic disadvantage should be true, and it is, then government should provide basic services competently, be transparent to residents. avoid distractions and controversies, and remain otherwise limited to allow for private initiatives variously profitable and charitable.
In difficult economic conditions, boosterism is ineffectual at best and a lie at worst. Of Whitewater’s boosters who were at their height immediately before the Great Recession: vain and self-promoting, narrow of mind and small of heart. There are fewer of them now, as daily life has a way of refuting even the stubbornest lies.
In difficult economic conditions, there is no margin whatever for administrative turmoil, blaming residents for divisions, or government’s failure to explain before acting. Truman was right: the buck stops at the big desk, the big chair. Personal responsibility and accountability are even more important as leadership accountability. Doctors, lawyers, educators: practitioners have no legitimate escape from the demands of their professions.
There’s a referendum ahead, but there are actual conditions now and all around.
What to think about the referendum? Whether four dollars a year or four million, how is the district speaking and acting in response to actual socio-economic needs and academic goals? Government wants, but what is government doing?
Although this is a small town, dozens and dozens of prominent government leaders (city, school district, university) have come and gone since FREE WHITEWATER first began publication in 2007. (It shouldn’t have been so many. I’m convinced Whitewater would have had less turnover among leaders had they been better aligned with the real condition and needs of the community. Effective rhetoric rests on reality.)
The referendum is months away; these are brief and preliminary remarks. Loving this small town, as I do, is no casual or occasional affection. Serious subjects deserve serious efforts. There’s time enough for this libertarian blogger to write in detail about which policies and actions that might justify public expenditure, both generally and particularly for Whitewater.