Our Views: Thumbs up/down for Monday, July 10

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Thumbs down to banning vegetables in the front yard. Those radishes and broccoli crowns growing in Janesville front yards are illegal, though few people seem to know or care. This indifference or acceptance of front-yard plantings likely explains city officials’ plans to amend an ordinance to allow veggies in the front. And why not, as long as the gardens are well maintained? The city council is also considering loosening rules to allow residents to landscape up to 50 percent of their front yards, 50 percent of their side yards and 75 percent of their backyards. Some municipalities encourage residents to abandon their thirsty lawns for drought-tolerant plants, admittedly an odd suggestion with all the rain we’ve received this year. But with Janesville’s water rates recently rising, drought-tolerant plantings could save on the water bill during dry years.

Thumbs up to the Milwaukee Brewers. OK, this is not the Sports Page. But for a team expected to accomplish so little to be in first place at the All-Star break deserves some wider recognition. True, there’s half a season to play, meaning plenty of time to choke like in previous years. But this year’s Brewers have shown a surprising amount of resiliency, refusing to self-destruct after a few bad games. While their record isn’t amazing, the Brewers are ahead of the defending World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs, whom they clobbered 11-2 on Thursday. The Brewers are celebrating their 35th anniversary since winning the American League pennant. If the Cubs (of all teams) were able to win a World Series, might a miracle happen for the Brewers?

Thumbs up to bipartisan talk on infrastructure. Sen. Tammy Baldwin delivered in Edgerton last week a hopeful message about Democrats’ willingness to work with President Trump on infrastructure issues. “I certainly think there’s a lot of room for agreement, and frankly, you know, it’s long overdue to have the parties working together.” In theory, infrastructure allows much room for agreement, given that both parties want good roads and modernized water systems. Where the two parties often come unglued is over the details. Both sides need to be open to compromise on how to achieve their goals. Republicans cannot insist on only using tax breaks to pay for improvements, while Democrats must incorporate the private sector into their plans.

Thumbs down to Trump’s voter fraud investigation. Wisconsin has joined many other states in refusing to cooperate the Trump administration’s request to provide personal information on voters, including names, birthdays and the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. Maybe if the United States had a problem with voter fraud, Trump’s Election Integrity Commission might be justified in seeking this information, but the commission was created as a result of President Trump’s own insecurities regarding his loss of the popular vote. He hasn’t offered a shred of evidence to back up his claim that millions of people voted illegally in the November election. Many groups are rightfully concerned the Election Integrity Commission is a fishing expedition seeking to suppress voting. The integrity of our elections is important, but this commission appears to be focusing on the wrong issue.

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