Thumbs up to Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change study. The results of the group's study of local intoxicated driving arrests confirmed what many people suspect about drunken drivers: Their last drinks before their arrests often come from bars. The Tavern League of Wisconsin probably isn't thrilled to see Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change pointing out the obvious, but it's important for the community to consider all contributing factors to the drunken driving epidemic. Nobody should be surprised that on the same day The Gazette reported this study (Wednesday, Page 1A), a story also appeared about a Janesville man charged with his eighth OWI offense (Page 7A). Hopefully, law enforcement, businesses and legislators will use this study to help them find more effective ways to reduce drunken driving.
Thumbs up to endorsement deals for college athletes. California is leading the way on public policy by adopting legislation to allow NCAA athletes to sign endorsement deals. Wisconsin will need to catch up, though it has some time to consider its options because California's legislation doesn't take effect until 2023. Failing to follow California's lead could put Wisconsin at a competitive disadvantage, at least for recruiting Division I athletes who likely would favor schools in states friendly to endorsement deals. Ultimately, the NCAA is going to have to wake up to the multi-billion dollar reality that is the Division I sports industry. To continue to treat these athletes as amateurs is to ignore the fact that professional-level dollars are at stake.
Thumbs down to term limits for county committees. The Rock County Board has a hard enough time getting candidates to run for the board, and turnover is high. We don't see the point in trying to create term limits for committee appointments, and the board made the right call by rejecting Sept. 26 Yuri Rashkin's proposal to impose a four-year limit on committee service. The county board isn't like Congress with candidates having deep-pocketed special interests lining up to influence members' decisions. The board and its committees need as much experience from their members as they can get, and term limits would unnecessarily handcuff this body.
Thumbs down to taking white supremacists' bait. The Anti-Defamation League added last week the innocuous OK hand gesture to its list of hate symbols because some white supremacists are using it. What's next, the thumbs up (or down) sign? We hope not because that could spell doom for this column. The Anti-Defamation League unwittingly empowers white supremacist groups by allowing them to define what is and isn't a hate symbol. Most people knew nothing about these fringe groups' use of the OK symbol until the Anti-Defamation League and some media outlets made an issue of it. The Anti-Defamation League took the white supremacists' bait, and so don't be surprised if supremacists now target other friendly gestures.