Local Government Before a Flood

Imagine that, during flooding near a small town, the town’s levees are about to fail. How might local officials respond to this impending calamity?

1. They might deny that there is a flood.
2. They might admit that there is a flood, but deny that the levees are failing.
3. They might admit that there is a flood, and that the levees are failing, but take no action.
4. They might take action, but not the kind that reinforces the levees or otherwise mitigates the flooding.
5. They might reinforce the levees and find other ways to mitigate the flooding (moving to higher ground, sandbags elsewhere, evacuating vulnerable people, et cetera).

In many – if not most – of the communities near Whitewater, Wisconsin one can expect from officials (and like-minded boosters) some combination of responses 1 – 4 during this pandemic.

Few – if any – of these communities are united enough, with officials strong enough, to take response 5’s course of action. Even most county governments, stretching respectively over many small communities, have proved too weak to adopt temporary, limited, county-wide public health measures.  Local officials may style themselves (however vaingloriously) as movers and shakers, but when it would truly matter one finds they’ve only limited moving and shaking to offer.

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