Our Views: Thumbs up/down for Monday, Dec. 18

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Thumbs up to Will and Katie Springer. The couple moved to Janesville from Chicago in 2012 and found safety, affordable housing and community spirit—the sort of things Chicago and other large urban areas lack. They were featured recently in a promotional video produced by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and aimed at persuading Wisconsin natives to return to the state. The couple’s story is all the more uplifting after the dreary analysis of Rock County offered by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a Dec. 4 article. Not that one should dwell on bad publicity, but perception can become reality, which is why Janesville residents should share positive stories and aggressively counter those depictions maligning the nature of this region. Will and Katie recognize Janesville is making strides, and Will told The Gazette the downtown ARISE initiative is “one of the reasons why we’re staying here.”

Thumbs up to the Janesville Post Office. Mail carriers deliver at least as many presents as Santa (if not more), but they get none of the Yuletide glory. Santa has a plate of cookies and a glass of milk waiting for him, while mail carriers are lucky to receive a “thank you.” Many residents depend on the post office to make their spirits bright, and this season the volume of packages is 10 percent to 15 percent above last year, Janesville Postmaster Laura Coots reported. The deadline for sending packages to arrive before Christmas was Dec. 14 via retail ground, while Tuesday is the deadline for first-class mail. Dec. 20 is the deadline for priority mail and Dec. 22 for priority mail express. Don’t expect the impossible from mail carriers and wait until Dec. 23 to send a gift. They’re good at their jobs, but it’s not like they have flying reindeer.

Thumbs down to more Monterey Dam drama. Maybe if the Monterey Dam served a practical purpose, the controversy surrounding its pending removal wouldn’t be so aggravating. But alas, the controversy is likely to color next year’s city council race. The ballot could include at least two members of the Monterey Dam Association, Jeffery Navarro and Harry Paulsen. Navarro ran in the last election and presented himself as a knowledgeable candidate, though we fear his and Paulsen’s campaigns could turn next year’s election into a single-issue race. On March 27, the city council voted overwhelmingly to remove the dam, rightly concluding the dam is no longer needed. Janesville needs big-picture thinkers to run for city council. The city faces many challenges, none of which depend in the least on the Monterey Dam’s presence. At some point, people need to let go of this useless slab of concrete.

Thumbs down to dismissing Alabama election results. The Wisconsin Republican Party apparently sees no significance in a Democrat winning a Senate seat in deep-red Alabama, but the state party shouldn’t ignore potential warning signs. While Roy Moore was an unusually flawed candidate, Wisconsin Republicans could be in for a nasty surprise if they take for granted their support from suburban areas, which in many cases flipped to Democratic in Alabama and last month in Virginia. Republicans control several state governments, including Wisconsin’s, thanks in large part to their suburban backers. But if Republican infighting and President Trump’s behavior are turning off this crucial voting block, the Wisconsin Republican Party risks wasting its energies arranging the musical chairs aboard the Titanic.

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