The good news is the exciting high school postseason is upon us. The bad news is that an election is too:
A first! Before the election comes up: Even though I’ve been doing this for quite a while, at no point in my career have I covered an event that included the subject of my office — to be precise, my office’s building — as took place during the Platteville Common Council meeting Oct. 14.
(For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, read the story, or look at the south side of the first block of East Main Street. This is also the first time that my employer has been the subject of two stories in one newspaper. The second case is opposite the first.)
Who wanted whom: I wrote in this space of your favorite weekly newspaper two weeks ago that the state Democratic Party’s anointment of Pat Bomhack as its preferred 17th Senate District candidate instead of Ernie Wittwer was reminiscent of the state Republican Party’s anointment of Bob Kasten as its preferred 1978 gubernatorial candidate instead of Lee Dreyfus. A letter-writer followed up by suggesting that the state Republican Party asked Rep. Howard Marklein (R–Spring Green) to run for the 17th seat against, or in place of, Sen. Dale Schultz (R–Richland Center).
My information is that assertion is not accurate; Marklein decided to run on his own, or so I’m told. Whether or not that was the case, an incumbent is never, and should never be, guaranteed against a challenge within his or her party. Recall that Rep. Travis Tranel (R–Spring Green) was opposed in the 2012 GOP primary by Dave Kuhle of Hazel Green, who had run against Tranel two years earlier when both were trying to unseat Rep. Phil Garthwaite (D–Dickeyville). Regardless of motivation, and regardless of encouragement or opposition within one’s own party, anyone who wants to run should be able to run.
The letter-writer also claimed that 17th Senate District Democratic voters chose Bomhack over Wittwer. That statement is legally correct but factually very questionable. Given the disappeared ballots in Monroe and irregularities elsewhere, you would have as valid an opinion by arguing that Wittwer actually won the primary and may have been able to win a court challenge.
I doubt the letter Wittwer’s wife, Rita, wrote after the recount would have been written had not the state Democratic Party intervened in the 17th in an unseemly fashion. Two Democratic state senators, Kathleen Vinehout (D–Alma) and Tim Cullen (D–Janesville), thought the state Democratic leadership should have stayed out of the primary. Vinehout and Cullen were correct.
(By the way: Has anyone else noticed the similarity in the mail ads about a candidate for Wisconsin Senate and a candidate for U.S. Senate from Iowa, each of whom is “not one of us”? Not many original ideas out there in the Land o’ Politics.)
Praise for the WIAA! The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association warrants praise about as often as I root for the Minnesota Vikings. However, this week’s volleyball playoffs demonstrate something the WIAA actually got right.
When Platteville won the WIAA volleyball title in 1994, volleyball’s rules allowed scoring only when a team was serving — “side-out scoring.” The postseason was a group of tournaments — the regional tournament, the sectional tournament, and state, all in a round-robin format, with tiebreakers in case more than one team had the best record.
The international volleyball rules changed in the late 1990s to allow rally scoring, where teams can score whether they’re serving or not. The WIAA then changed matches to best-of-five, instead of best-of-three; that and rally scoring has made volleyball much more watchable. The WIAA also changed the postseason format to the same as basketball, baseball and softball, all of which are team sports, after all. The regional quarterfinals started Tuesday, the regional semifinals are Thursday and the regional final is Saturday, followed by the sectionals the following Thursday and Friday and state the week after that.
Of course, the state volleyball tournament (and the state girls basketball tournament) is in Green Bay, which meets no one’s definition of the center of the state, but that’s a subject for another day.
Let there be light(s): I may have brought this up last year when the M was lighted pink for one day. Given advances in technology, it would be cool to have the M as a giant indicator light similar to the lights on the Texas Tower on the University of Texas campus, or the Empire State Building. The M could be colored red for a Hillmen win, orange or blue for a Pioneer win, red and green for Christmas, etc. A lighted M as seen from U.S. 151 is quite a sight.
And now, a program note: We have been hearing from readers outside Platteville that they are not receiving The Journal on the day they are used to getting The Journal. The problem appears to be with the post office — not the Platteville post office, but higher-up distribution facilities. We are working with the Platteville post office on this issue, and we’re pleased that our readers are eager to read The Journal the day they’re supposed to get it in the mail.