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Monday, August 17, 2009

City Management Divided, But Gazette Is In Lockstep

Wednesday's (Aug. 12, 2009) Janesville Gazette offered the newspaper's spin on the local process preceding a split Janesville city council decision to not pursue stimulus money for a second water tower. In an editorial titled "Refreshing change is percolating within City Hall," the newspaper sees these interactions within city management along with the council's decision as a new era of change and openness.

Never mind the fact that the city water utility director's series of health and safety claims made months ago against the city's ability to serve one-third of its customers had gone unchecked and was seemingly irrelevant in the council's decision on funding the project. The city government's eventual guarded response following the director's warnings along with the newspaper's seeming cooperative efforts to de-emphasize its implications portend a very strange relationship between the two entities almost bordering on collusion. The water tower funding decision had very little to do with change or openness and everything to do with money. Instead of digging deep and looking for the details, the newspaper looks the other way.
JG Editorial Excerpt:
That council members could hear opposite viewpoints from both employees is refreshing and a stark change from the previous administration, when the staff and administrator almost always marched in lockstep.

The Gazette’s attempt to turn this controversial episode into an exercise of expediency doesn't surprise me at all. They seldom if ever rock the council's boat and have been and always will be fans of Janesville city government management policies so long as they can tilt the wind their own way.

For years the Gazette championed the city's management and council's lockstep march and unanimous decisions as a bountiful reward and model of a united and efficient government absent of political discord and run by caring elected residents and academic professionals. And much like previous councils, today's city council members defend management and their economic policies against most any public criticism. Little has changed.

The newspaper's editorial almost seems meant to fabricate change, just in case you ain't noticed it.

Note: Unfortunately, the Gazette editorial referenced here is not on the open Web.

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