Patrick McIlheran is willfully obtuse when it comes to looking at relations between Milwaukee and the suburbs (i.e., it's Milwaukee that's always mean to the suburbs) and the history of race and the suburbs (i.e., there was no such thing as racially motivated white flight to the suburbs, pay no mind to what John Gurda says).
So as one might expect, he has little of value to say in the whole controversy over workforce housing going into the derelict New Berlin City Center.
But let's unpack anyway!
"So who's leaping to such conclusions about New Berlin anyway?" he sprightly asks, one of the conclusions apparently being that New Berlin has its share of bigots who don't want black and brown folks interrupting their "traditional cosmopolitan living" experience. Well, there was the mayor, who suggested his town was full of bigots (before backstepping) and that's the only honest interpretation of some comments following up on various JSOnline stories. And of course the experience of anyone who's lived in Milwaukee in the past 30 years. Apart from that, nothing.
This made me LOL:
So, no, New Berlin isn’t exactly Snobville. It’s got people who seem legitimately ticked off over congestion and parking issues. The workforce housing is “really not the problem,” said Laura Karvala, head of the impromptu Concerned Citizens of New Berlin, when I tried getting her to say it was all about poor people. She wouldn’t -- because, I suspect, for her it isn't.
“It’s the quantity of people moving through here,” she said of the nearby National Ave. and Coffee Road intersection, right by her subdivision. The plan got changed, she said, in a way that adds much more traffic, and it got changed in what she saw as a sneaky way.
OK, let me get this straight: You want galleries, you want restaurants, you want shops. DOn't you think that would involve some fucking traffic? Seriously, think this stuff through. Not everyone is as gullible or as eager to believe you as Patrick McIlheran.
Also amusing is that Patrick McIlheran puts this development, which again is aimed at blue-collar folks, in the same category as Cabrini Green. No fearmongering there. (Did the Brawler ever tell you about the time he waltzed, unharmed, through Cabrini Green at night? It's true?)
Continuing on the fear-mongering tip, he says people are right to be fearful of these apartments because there has been violence in section 8 housing elsewhere. But this isn't section 8 housing! But that's the sort of nuance that's apparently beyond Patrick, who also manages to ignore that there is significant research indicating that affordable housing doesn't lead to depressed property values or higher crime (it would really be a public service if the MJS would take a look at this research when it dutifully reports that people are worried their home values will drop).
Still, the Brawler is grateful that McIlheran pens paragraphs like this:
Which New Berlin, by the way, does. The argument for “workforce” housing is that since people earning less than $35,000 have jobs in New Berlin, they should be able to live there, too. But, again, why? The city already provides opportunity in an admirable way: It’s fairly open to retail and, especially, industry, containing several big industrial parks, something comparatively rare in residential suburbia.
These stores and factories do not hire only New Berlinites. They hire people who find more modestly priced houses in neighboring West Allis, for instance, or Waukesha, only slightly farther away.
Those jobs are opportunity. Is there something that says people must live and work within the same municipality? The idea is absurd: We’d all be moving constantly upon switching from an employer in Franklin to one in Menomonee Falls.
Its rare that conservatives that classes exist as a meaningful force in the United States, so the Brawler is grateful that Patrick not only concedes this point but he legitimizes it.
Finally, the Brawler was amused by this passage:
For that matter, my employer is in a fairly high-priced neighborhood, downtown Milwaukee. I live in what had been a lower-priced neighborhood when we bought our house, Bay View (not that I could afford it now). The price of a four-bedroom home downtown is beyond my means, so I commute a longer distance than it would take to get from West Allis to central New Berlin.
What, downtown Milwaukee’s not open and welcoming because it doesn’t subsidize me into the Kilbourn Tower? Don't be silly: It's just an expensive neighborhood for what I need.
That's right, the property value of the failed New Berlin City Center=property values in downtown Milwaukee. Thank you, Patrick, for illustrating your expertise in these matters.