New Berlin Racists or Protecting Their Way Of Life?
Recently New Berlin shot down a proposal that would allow development of low-income/disabled housing. Residents opposed the new development citing concerns of race and the “type” of people the development would attract.
Do you think race played a role?
Of course it did. Witnessing what the folks in New Berlin see all day, every day on TV would you want that in your backyard? Do they have a right to be concerned or are their fears justified?
After all some of those “New Berlinites” moved there to get away from the urban issues they despise in the first place. Why should they have to be forced to take on new residents who show little concern for how they live, tear up property and more importantly bring down property values?
So what do you think family? Are they right to be concerned or should they open up their doors and take a chance, hoping that their new neighbors would be great assets to the community? I think they have a fair point but I also think it speaks to the segregation problems the city and state face, well choose to ignore in large part.
For those who might live in the development, would they want to live there knowing they are not welcome? What kinds of problems would that spark, cross burnings, fights, outrage?
I think they are right to be concerned but does that make them racists or concerned citizens fighting to keep an expected standard on their way of life?
Here is the story from the Journal Sentinel:
By Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
April 26, 2011 4:20 p.m. | New Berlin — The race of potential tenants of MSP Real Estate’s proposed low-income housing project played no role in the city’s decision to reject the development, and MSP’s lawsuit alleging the city is violating federal law by blocking the project should be dismissed, the city says.
MSP filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee last month, contending that race was a key factor in the city’s decision to rescind approval of the low-income housing and senior apartments proposed for the City Center just months after the project was approved.
MSP is seeking $12,995,996 in compensatory damages and an unspecified amount in punitive damages, according to the lawsuit.
In the suit, MSP alleges the city and Mayor Jack Chiovatero violated both the federal Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the planned apartments were going to be disabled-accessible, the lawsuit says.
The city in a response filed in court April 12 acknowledges that there was community opposition to MSP’s proposal and that “some of it was based upon issues of race.”
But the development was rejected because MSP’s proposal failed to comply with city ordinances and other guidelines for development, the city says.
Among the problems, MSP’s proposal did not include the required number of parking spaces and MSP had not properly created the parcel on which the development was to be built, the city contends.
MSP’s site included land that was part of Deer Creek condominiums, but the company did not have the consent from condo owners to use that parcel, the city says.
“Despite what might have been going on in the community and the opinions expressed by some members of the public, the fact remains that these unresolved legal issues were fatal to this project and would have precluded it from moving forward under any circumstances,” City Attorney Mark G. Blum says in New Berlin’s response.
MSP issued a statement Tuesday standing by its contention that race was a factor.
“This development received legal approvals, which were reversed,” MSP said in the statement. “The mayor has admitted that he recognized and gave in to opposition to this project based upon race, which we believe prompted the reversal of approvals and violates federal law.”