Welcome to the Local Perspective Blog. I’m Jerry Deschane, Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. I was thinking that I should open this new conversation with a witty thought, a deep and incisive perspective on local control, or, if all else fails, a quote from Benjamin Franklin. Something to jump start this blog and get us both thinking deep thoughts.
That’s not what local government’s all about, is it? Local government isn’t a place of deep philosophical discussions about the woes of society. It’s a place where we plow snow so people can get their kids to school and where we make sure sewer systems run silently and perfectly twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week so we can keep…stuff…out of peoples’ basements.
Local government is made up of a bunch of citizens who just get things done; things that need to get done. We fight fires because fires need to be fought. We pave streets because streets need to be paved. We watch out for one another and protect one another…because we need to be watched out for and protected.
I’ve been involved in or observing local government pretty much my entire life. My dad was a trustee on our village board where I grew up. My mom was the Village Treasurer for a time. Other family members have also been involved in local government. I’ve spent several years as a local radio reporter, attending school board meetings, city council meetings, county board meetings and more. I served two terms on a public school board and currently sit on a charter school board. I have a few thoughts and opinions about how local government works…and why it doesn’t sometimes.
And then there’s the League. I’ve been with the League about 4 years, but the League itself has been around a bit longer. 119 years, to be precise. We were created by the Mayors of Wisconsin who realized they needed a place they could get together, share ideas and talk.
And they needed an organization that would allow them to speak to the Governor and legislators in an organized way. Because, believe it or not, over a century ago, the legislature kept passing laws that made their jobs more difficult. Shocked, just shocked, aren’t you? Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The point of this blog is simple: to continue the Mayors’ tradition of getting together to talk. To help cities and villages around Wisconsin do their jobs better. And from time to time, we’ll use this blog to speak to the public and the legislature with an organized voice.
Most of the time, the voice you’ll hear on this blog will be mine. I’ll be here week in and week out, but I hope you join me now and then. If you’ve got a thought on something I wrote, send it to me. If there’ s an issue of local government that you have an opinion about, send that to me too. The best blogs are like the League itself when it’s at its best; a conversation.
What’s your local perspective? Let’s talk.