It's officially Spring in Beloit, WI. Now visible, the litter of trash caught in since-melted snowbanks softly compliments the litter of political yard signs. And while it is true that school board and city council elections are not the most exciting, they are extremely consequential.
Typically, when driving on Hwy 51 here in Beloit, I ignore the views to the east: a massive white eye-sore of a building with deep red trim perched on a hill, a beautiful historic pump house given to and tainted by oligarchs, and an unfinished academy of the elite looming mightily over the taxpayers who will soon be forced to support it. They are all black eyes on the beauty of the view to my west: the powerful Rock River tamed by an engineering marvel of a dam, a gorgeous but albeit massive public high school, a historic church turned museum now being transformed into Visit Beloit's new home, a wonderful city park that serves as a melting pot for a beautiful community, and a unique, new structure, "The Powerhouse" which serves as a home for Beloit College's intramural sports as well as a host for a variety of youth sporting events. There's a bridge that crosses over the top of Hwy 51. On the bridge is a Black Lives Matter banner. This bridge is more of a metaphor than nearly all Beloiters realize.
But there is one good thing about the view to the east this time of year. The political signs that line the yard of the aforementioned eyesore of an ABC Supply building can be served as a fail-safe candidate guide of who not to vote for. The signs typically represent a plethora of billionaire-sympathetic piles of moldable mush with little to no experience in the role they are running for. This year is no different. You have billionaire endorsements of John Petersen, the city council candidate who answered the tough question of explaining Beloit's sharp increase in gun crime in 2020 in the most Neanderthal way by saying, "We need to ensure the enforcement of the law. If you commit a crime, you need to go to jail. There are seemingly no repercussions for people." Close to 300 people sit in the Rock County Jail currently, over a third of whom have tested positive for Covid-19. I'm curious to know if Petersen has an ideal number of how many Rock County residents should be incarcerated. This authoritarian answer to a complicated question seems like satire but so does the size of his peacoat in his campaign picture, so maybe it is a ruse. After all, the overlap of people who vote for Petersen and who believed Trump-attorney Sidney Powell's stolen election claims, to which her legal team now contends "no reasonable person would believe" is most likely going to be very high.
Also promoted by local billionaire Diane Hendricks-owned ABC Supply is Christine Raleigh for Beloit School Board. Christine has as much experience in public serving as I do (literally none) but used her bachelor's in communication from Waldorf College to execute a master class in cliches on her website. "Enforcing the code of conduct, fairly and consistently, will promote safety in our schools and improve the learning environment, giving both students and teachers the ability to work to their fullest potential." I wish I loved anything as much as these candidates love "law and order". She wants to "listen to statistics" but does not cite any statistics. She wants to "listen to the voices of families" yet her website mentions nothing about the Lincoln Academy. Lastly she wants to "truly consider what has been working or not working and acting accordingly to see change." Her lack of public opposition to the Lincoln Academy and ABC Supply's endorsement of her leads me to believe this is code-speak for "I love public charters attained through backdoor loopholes." Christine's husband, Dayetoven Raleigh is running for city council and is also endorsed by our local billionaire overlord. He doesn't believe there is a race relations problem in Beloit but he does believe that the city hasn't "followed the latest data" as far as the pandemic. No word as to why Dayetoven ignores the data that shows the overwhelming disparity of black tenants in Beloit's low income housing.
I'm proud to say I'm voting for Spencer Anderson for Beloit School Board. Anderson is a graduate of Beloit Memorial High School. He understands how the district operates both as a 2014 graduate and an incumbent school board member. I'm in the township but in the city school district, so I won't have the opportunity to vote for Clinton Anderson for city council but am proud to endorse both him and Nancy Forbeck for Beloit City Council. Vote on Tuesday and reject billionaires. Check what is on your ballot here. Make sure to drive past ABC Supply so you know who not to vote for.