Not only does news generally walk up to the editor of your favorite weekly newspaper and present itself, so do opinions:
From a non-candidate: Apparently finding city manager candidates isn’t that difficult, given that there apparently are 34 candidates for the Platteville city manager position, according to the city’s search firm.
Or is it? The City of Prairie du Chien had 51 applicants for its city administrator position when it was last filled in 2009. The Village of Little Chute had 47 applicants when it advertised for a new village administrator.
Those 34 candidates will not be joined by another candidate who certainly would have been qualified for the job. This candidate chose not to pursue the position for family reasons, but had three interesting observations:
• The non-candidate noticed that the average tenure of a city manager “is similar to that of a 1950s Central American dictator. I read the city audits and budgets very carefully and it seems there are some tough decisions to be made, and this could add considerable risk to the job of the administrator who has to recommend those choices.”
• “The council seems to be more interested in ‘minor’ items (i.e. the pit bulls ravishing the city, how they address each other in meetings) and letting the big things roll down the road (i.e. infrastructure, the city’s debt schedule, etc.).”
• The non-candidate called the city audit results “interesting” and said the city should “hire a zero-based budgeting numbers guy and give him/her some free reign.”
These observations suggest, without my making an endorsement for the April 7 election, that a change needs to be made in the council status quo. This is not the first comment I’ve read or heard asking why the council is considering the pit bull ban instead of dealing with more important issues, such as dealing with the city’s streets in a more timely fashion and city debt, which continues to creep toward city policy limits.
City residents will vote in, well, 1.25 races. (One-fourth of the city will vote in the District 4 race, but Ald. Ken Kilian is unopposed.) A change in the status quo cannot be made when only two of the seven spots may change, and only one spot is guaranteed to change since there is no incumbent for the at-large seat. Perhaps the remaining incumbents might want to consider, though, whether they’re doing their jobs correctly.
(And if, like me, you had to sit through the three-hour-long Common Council meeting March 24, you would think every alderman should be replaced, whether or not they're running in this election. More on that subject in two weeks.)
A doggone bad idea: The Don’t Bully My Breed Facebook page reports that more than 25,000 signatures have been collected against the proposed pit bull ban. Clearly most are not from Platteville, since that total would be double Platteville’s population. I think, however, that a Ban Pit Bulls from Platteville petition, if one were set up online, wouldn’t get nearly that many signatures. (In fact, I have seen only one online comment that favored the ban. The woman — and I don’t know where she’s from — said her child had been attacked by a pit bull, so you can understand her point of view, except that her opinion seems an emotional reaction instead of being based on facts and logic.)
It’s pretty obvious that, thanks to social media, negative repercussions of the proposed ban have already affected Platteville, and not positively. When you have good things (a potential house sale) canceled because of proposed (not even enacted) legislation, maybe that says that the powers that be need to think before they propose.
Private schools vs. Milwaukee and state: I’ve written about the issues in the April 22 Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association annual meeting in which WIAA-member schools will vote on the “success factor” and the free-or-reduced-lunch reducer, both dealing with where schools are placed enrollment-wise for postseason.
Of the 20 teams in the WIAA girls basketball tournament field, six were parochial schools, four of which advanced to the championship game in their division, with two winning state titles, Milwaukee’s Divine Savior Holy Angels in Division 1 and Milwaukee Pius XI in Division 2. Of the 20 teams in the boys tournament field, four were parochial schools, two of which advanced to the championship game in their division, with Whitefish Bay Dominican winning its fourth consecutive Division 4 title.
But look at the boys tournament from a different perspective. Six of the boys teams were from the Milwaukee area. Four of those teams got to the championship game in their division, and three won titles — besides Dominican, Milwaukee’s Young Coggs Prep in Division 5 and Brown Deer in Division 3. I wonder how many WIAA-member schools think that proportion is out of whack. The growth in Milwaukee charter schools means that schools the size of Young Coggs (enrollment 188) and Lifelong Learning (enrollment 189) are now potential Division 5 postseason foes.