For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead. Events since 2016 have made predictions harder, but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city. These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the same topic many times as needed throughout the year). A few general issues for Whitewater appear below, listed alphabetically.
Assault Awareness and Prevention. The campus wants healing, and the city needs enlightenment, but both will come only through a process of truth and reconciliation. Whitewater has slipped closer to Missoula or Steubenville than any town should. Those communities do not have reputation problems — they have had, so to speak, individual injury problems. The latter led to the former.
Community. There are green shoots in this city even in hard times. They’re not to be found at the Whitewater CDA, or city government, but in local organizing efforts (for food, clothing, necessities). These are worthy efforts that will make a difference in residents’ lives. For all the hard problems to address, these are the soft (yet durable) solutions to applaud.
Economy, Local. Whitewater has a weak local economy. See Two Truths of Whitewater’s Economy.
Indeed, she’s gone in the wrong direction (from Wisconsin and America) these last ten years. See Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade.
Economy, National. Recession or not, growth will decline enough so that it will feel like a recession for many. See Low Growth as Decline.
Evers. He has a tall order before him, but I think he’ll grow on more and more Wisconsinites.
Print Publications. Putting the expression ‘circling the drain’ to good use.
Schools. The most important work isn’t a referendum; it’s everything afterward.
Town-Gown. Accreditation, coffee, dogs, and shopping (however attractive in the moment) won’t be enough to bridge the gap between campus and the community beyond.
Trumpism. There is no greater threat to an American community than a bigoted, self-dealing authoritarianism that holds federal executive power in its grip.
WEDC, CDA, CIA, FBI, whatever… If there’s ever been a risible failure for Whitewater, it’s the state-capitalist and crony-capitalist approach of the WEDC, and the use of the Whitewater Community Development Authority as a tiny WEDC. Local notables and their out-of-touch appointee playing venture capitalist with public money isn’t venture capitalism, or any kind of productive free-market approach. It’s a vanity project that short-changes the community. Pride makes for poor policy.
For all these that one can see, there will be other issues that emerge over the year.