Election season is over, for now, until this fall (actually, August), and the UW basketball season is over, for now, until this fall.
Non-incumbent night: The most interesting result from the lightly participated-in April 1 election was the Grant and Lafayette county board races, both of them. Both Grant County Sup. Vince Loeffelholz and Lafayette County Sup. Patrick Shea lost their races, and the results were not close percentage-wise.
Loeffelholz’s loss has the potential to change the power structure of the County Board, given that Sup. Larry Wolf was elected county board chair over Sup. John Patcle 9–8, and then survived a recall attempt 9–8. The board’s reorganizational meeting is Tuesday, and that might be interesting to watch were it not for Otto von Bismarck’s maxim about watching laws and sausages made.
Perhaps new Sup. Dan Timmerman can lead the board in a direction not recently seen on the county board — deciding issues on their merits and their impacts on taxpayers instead of basing votes on whether the county board chair supports or opposes something. The county board chair position (notice I didn’t name the, or any, county board chair) makes too much money and has too much authority for merely getting more votes than another candidate for county board chair.
Meanwhile, the Platteville Common Council will get badly needed new blood in new Ald. Amy Seeboth. (That’s a comment about the entire council, by the way.) Seeboth is the type of person Platteville needs more of in decision-making roles.
One goal for Seeboth could be to help improve the council’s decision-making process, which in my almost two years here has included beating some subjects to death (downtown parking), fiscal votes that can’t exactly be called fiscally conservative whether or not the vote was correct (the 2014 Broadway project), making fiscal decisions for the wrong reasons (the 2013 budget), seeking advice and then not following up on it (the city hall task force) … you get the picture.
Hopefully Seeboth will also note the 419 votes Darrel Browning got as a sign that there are a substantial number of people in Platteville who are not pleased with how the city is operating, particularly on the issues on which Browning ran.
Ohio vs. Michigan, and Wisconsin loses: No, this is not about a Big Ten Conference football race from the 1970s, which included no team not named “Michigan” or “Ohio State.” This is an answer to a question posed in SouthWest this week by an attendee of UW–Platteville’s Wisconsin History Symposium. One of the sessions was about what’s called the “Toledo War,” a dispute between Michigan and Ohio over, yes, Toledo, with a convoluted solution. Several books and the session speaker provide details on how Congress (which is, remember, the opposite of “progress”) solved the dispute and dealt with Illinois’ and Indiana’s desires for a Lake Michigan port (since the original Illinois and Indiana northern state lines went east and west from the bottom of Lake Michigan):
• Toledo and points west went to Ohio.
• The mapmakers shaved land from Michigan for Indiana and Wisconsin for Illinois. (Which means that the only picturesque part of Illinois, the northwest, could have been in Wisconsin.)
• To compensate for losing Toledo and its land to Indiana, Congress gave Michigan the Upper Peninsula from Wisconsin.
• What did Wisconsin gain out of this exchange. Nothing.
Keep in mind when you pay your federal taxes Tuesday: The federal government has been sticking it to Wisconsin for centuries.
Fun while it lasted: As painful as the finish of Saturday night’s NCAA Final Four semifinal was — you’d think rule number one when you’re up two points with 10 seconds left is to not give up a three-pointer — Badger fans should remember that it wasn’t that long ago that the only way Wisconsin got to the NCAA tournament, let alone the Final Four, was by buying tickets to it.
The unfortunate thing, though, is that the game felt like an opportunity going away — like, to borrow an NFL analogy, the 2007 NFC championship game, which the Packers lost to the New York Giants in overtime, and not the 1995 NFC championship game, which the Packers lost to Dallas. The latter seemed at the time, and obviously later, the logical step on the way to actually winning a Super Bowl. The former seemed like the end of an era. The Badgers will sneak up on no one this coming season, and will have to get to the Final Four (which next year is in Indianapolis), with no home cooking (i.e. Milwaukee games) during the tournament.
(Speaking of the NFL: July marks the 30th anniversary of the Bears holding their training camp in Platteville.)
It was also great to watch announcers not biased against Wisconsin — the truTV telecast featured Packers radio announcer Wayne Larrivee and former UW point guard Mike Kelley.
Of course, if you are a Centurylink customer — cable or online — you couldn’t watch truTV since Centurylink doesn’t carry truTV. If you watched online, since Centurylink wasn’t part of the March Madness Live app, you could watch only a set amount of time, which was less than the entire game. (Am I being unfair to Centurylink, you ask? Given our office’s email problems this past week, well, what I have to say about that is unprintable in your favorite weekly newspaper.)