I was originally going to write a column about the Nov. 4 election, though I imagine readers are sick of political ads on radio and TV.
I decided otherwise because I’ve concluded that there are no undecided people left in this state; every single voter has either decided how to vote, or (like myself) has already voted. Every election that includes an incumbent is a referendum on the incumbent, and every election without an incumbent is a referendum on the incumbent’s party.
Here are three more facts: The sun will rise Nov. 5, regardless of whether your candidate(s) win or lose. (A well known basketball coach in this area called all his players the morning after a painful loss to tell them that.) At a minimum, the Republican Party will control at least one house of the Legislature, which makes a repeal of the controversial Act 10 public employee collective bargaining reforms unlikely. And immediately after this election, candidates will be lining up (if they haven’t already) for the 2016 election (which comes after spring 2015 and 2016 municipal and school board elections), including president and U.S. Senate. (Politics is like sports except that the season never ends.)
A vote of a different sort: The Platteville Common Council is scheduled to decide the fate of a proposed loan from the city to the potential buyer of 25 E. Main St., where your favorite weekly newspaper is produced each week. The city Downtown Redevelopment Authority has already approved an $80,000 loan for exterior work, but the prospective owner wants a $172,000 revolving-loan-fund loan for interior work, which requires council approval.
It occurred to me this weekend (which is why I didn’t mention this in this space last week) that there is a difference between those two loan requests beyond the dollar amount. Façade improvements could be said to benefit downtown businesses as a whole because they approve the appearance of downtown. Interior improvements, however, have the biggest benefit to two groups — (1) the building owner and (2) area units of government in higher assessed value for property taxes.
The issue — and I assume it’ll come up with another downtown building in the future — also is about whether a municipality should be a lender of last resort for a building project, particularly when a loan benefits one building owner at the potential expense of other building owners whose tax dollars are paying for said loan, at least until it’s repaid. That issue also applies beyond downtown redevelopment to Tax Incremental Financing district development as well. Like elections, it too is a never-ending issue.
Hill(wo)men: One reason I decided against writing a political column this week is because of what happened Friday and Saturday — Platteville’s Level 1 football win over Clinton and regional final volleyball win over River Valley.
In terms of drama and all that, Saturday beat Friday. That’s because the Hillmen Friday basically never let Clinton into the game. Platteville led only 17–6 at the half, but had thoroughly dominated the first half, and after the first three defensive series and Platteville’s fourth score, it was obvious that it wasn’t going to be the Cougars’ night, even at their home stadium.
A truism about the National Football League applies to high school as well — there are really two seasons, the nine-game regular season and the postseason. The first is a marathon, not a sprint (though with five conference games obviously one loss is bad for conference title aspirations), while the second season has the one-or-done atmosphere of other team sports.
Having seen all but one Hillmen game this season, it occurs to me that, paradoxically, Platteville might be a better postseason team than regular season team this year. Last year the Hillmen’s postseason was basically the last five regular season games (the “prepostseason”?) before the playoffs began. This year, the Hillmen’s issues all year (basically pass offense and pass defense) are not as important because the traditional postseason weather makes passing more difficult. Teams that go far in the postseason generally are teams that can run the ball — particularly those 10-play four- to six-minute drives — and, after scoring, stop the run.
As for Saturday … Hillmen games against River Valley should come with a viewer or listener warning about risks to your heart. Lose the first set, win the second set, win the third set to get momentum, lose momentum by losing the fourth set, and then trailing 7–3 in a set to 15 is probably not good for your nerves. Good thing the Hillmen players don’t seem to mind.
I might as well mention this: I have invented a new verb: “to Stecklein,” as to be unable to return a spike by hitter Morgan Stecklein. In the third set she hit back-to-back booming spikes whose “BOOM-BOOM!” probably could be heard back in Platteville. Maybe the student section (which was, bizarrely, chanting my name during the second set of the regional semifinal Thursday) could chant, “YOU’VE BEEN STECKLEINED!!! (clap clap clap-clap-clap)” at the appropriate moments.
It’s a good thing gas prices have dropped to where they are now. Going from Platteville High School to Sauk Prairie High School and back, Lodi and back, and (if the Hillmen win Thursday) Whitewater High School and back totals 512 miles.