The controversy over whether to put apartments affordable for people making $35,000 or less year in New Berlin's ostensible city center continues apace, now with Mary Lazich making accusations about Dem senators somehow being involved. Claims the developer denies.
Those who would agree with Charlie Sykes that fear of a black and brown invasion has nothing to do with this would do well to peruse the nearly 400 comments (some obviously the work of trolls) following the Journal Sentinel story about New Berlin's mayor apologizing for stating in an email that some of his constituents are bigots. (A statement as controversial as stating the earth is round. But it's an unpleasant fact, so let's not dwell on it.)
That said, of course, people can be opposed to the development for reasons other than base racism, and that comes out in the comments as well.
One theme that emerges is that some of the good people of New Berlin feel they were lied to. That when the City Center was first proposed about a decade ago, the line was that they were going to bring high-end retail and galleries and all the other attractions of "traditional cosmopolitan living." And lo and behold, some people snapped up $300,000 condos based on developer puffery.
The thing was, though, that the development of the New Berlin City Center had major problems going back a decade due to poor leadership by the city, a developer dissolving and challenges in attracting anchor retailers. Put it this way: When landing an IHOP is a win, your gleaming city center is in a world of hurt. And the prospect of turning the New Berlin City Center into a vision of "traditional cosmopolitan living" (ie, galleries and shoppes) is kaput thanks to the recession and its aftermath. So no wonder the city and the developer are looking at other options, including senior and work force housing.
And it's only natural that some New Berliners now say they were lied to. Particularly those who speculated on luxury condos in the hope that they'd be steps away from primo shopping. But it's apparent now -- and should have been earlier -- that the high hopes for the New Berlin CIty Center were unrealistic. And perhaps driven by unrealistic expectations of what New Berlin was going to become. And yet people cling to "promises" of what the New Berlin City Center was going to become.
New Berliners lean Republican and pro-market. The market has spoken and decreed that art galleries and pricey shoppes aren't going to go into the New Berlin City Center. But the people of New Berlin seem to have a hard time accepting that verdict. How will they respond?
UPDATE: James Rowen makes interesting points here.