Doctors claim that sitting is bad for you. Well, what am I supposed to do when I have to sit through a lot of meetings? Such as …
Divided economic development: I sat through the last session of the Wisconsin Senate Economic Development Listening Tour at UW–Platteville Monday afternoon, which struck me as yet another example of how divided we are politically.
In this case, the division isn’t among parties; it’s among geographic areas of the state. Speakers pointed out that Southwest Wisconsin has to compete against Illinois and Iowa, which have considerably more in the way of incentives for businesses to locate there. (Which apparently led to a printer moving from Dubuque into Illinois for Illinois’ tax incentives, only to move back across the Mississippi River when the tax incentives expired.) Wisconsin offers little in the way of tax incentives beyond Tax Incremental Financing districts, which are widely used yet controversial.
One speaker said he didn’t believe business incentives should be used at all, because they help propagate big government (Lee Dreyfus’ Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules) and high taxes (partially offset by said tax incentives). That seemed to be a minority view given that this area competes for businesses that can get better offers across the river or state line.
State Sen. Rick Gudex (R–Fond du Lac) said he had heard similar sentiments from the committee’s hearings in Menomonie (also a college town like Platteville) and Rhinelander, but not from the committee’s hearings in the eastern part of the state. That makes you think a one-size-fits-all economic development approach won’t work, and that the local economic development experts know more than someone from Madison about how to grow business in a specific geographic area.
Conference dominos: Last month the Riverdale School Board voted unanimously to move its football team from the Southwest Wisconsin Activities League to the Ridge and Valley Conference. The move is subject to approval from the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.
One wonders if Riverdale’s departure, if approved by the WIAA, will set off, as usually happens, a domino effect of conference shuffling. Lancaster is the smallest school in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference, and has been speculated to be able to move to the SWAL were one or more of the SWAL eight to leave. That would end the SWC, because conferences cannot have fewer than six teams.
Theoretically (and this is all theory) Richland Center could move into the Coulee Conference, and Dodgeville and River Valley could move into a Madison-area conference (probably the Capitol North or Capitol South). That places Platteville … where? The SWAL with Lancaster? The Rock Valley Conference? Driving a lot?
The logical answer, since football is affected far more by enrollment than any other sport, is to create football-only arrangements and then reset conferences for sports not named football based on geography. Since that is the logical answer, that won’t happen.
107 and counting: It just figures that the one time I write about the Chicago Cubs, they get eliminated from going to the World Series before I got the column posted online. I did include an online disclaimer that the column might be out of date by the time it was posted due to the Cubs’ reverting to form and getting swept by their archrival New York Mets.
The Mets are playing Kansas City this week. Both teams were beneficiaries of epic World Series collapses in back-to-back seasons. The St. Louis Cardinals were three outs away from winning the 1985 World Series when, leading 1–0 in the ninth inning of game six, the Royals’ leadoff hitter reached base when he should have been called out. What followed was a misplayed foul popup, a base hit, a passed ball and a two-run single, followed by an 11–0 wipeout the next night. One year later, the Boston Red Sox were on the way to winning their first World Series since 1918, leading by two runs with two out in the top of the 10th inning in game six. Three hits, a wild pitch and an error later, the Mets won, clinching the World Series two nights later.
I used to watch baseball much more than now. The expanded playoffs, the brainchild of former commissioner Bud Selig, means that teams need not actually win anything (that is, a division title) to get into the World Series. The pre-World Series playoffs are no longer on over-the-air TV, go into snow season (game four of the 1997 World Series was played with 18-degree wind chill, with flurries and ice on the field), and go on too long at the end of a too-long season. About one month less season would be meteorologically ideal.