Several days ago, New Berlin blogger Linda Richter made a post showing a list of projects and organizations within that suburb that were controversial and could be considered racist. Linda doesn’t hold much back, and included the following:
Besides racism issues, our city has gotten much media attention when some churches wanting to locate here ran into considerable resistance. Remember the St. Augustine Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church debacle? That church ultimately sued New Berlin and won.
And do you remember the flap over a Buddhist Temple? The June 12, 1997 Journal Sentinel reported: “An attempt to locate a Buddhist temple in New Berlin failed when neighbors objected to having a Buddhist temple in their midst, citing traffic, property values, and religious concerns.”
In a letter published in the Sept. 15, 1994 Journal newspaper, a man wrote: “ I am a Christian who lives in New Berlin and spoke at the August 29 hearing in favor of the proposed Buddhist temple. I said I hoped religious intolerance was not rearing its ugly head in New Berlin. I then listened intently to residents who spoke against the temple, saying their opposition was based solely on zoning and traffic concerns. They stated they were a Christian community with no room for bigots. It appears from some news accounts that some of the speakers were disingenuous that evening. To equate Buddhism with Satan worship, as one resident did, is irresponsible and ignorant in the extreme. Other residents say Buddhists do not belong in New Berlin. The First Amendment clearly guarantees freedom of religion, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. You will note that the words ‘except in my neighborhood’ are nowhere to be found.”
Linda’s post makes it ever so obvious that there are still underlying social issues in New Berlin. They were pried wide open with the workforce housing development proposal in their City Center project over the past few weeks. I think residents in New Berlin forget that there are plenty of residents, even New Berlin residents, who could fit into this category. Which New Berlin residents, you ask? Well, what about the students of New Berlin – those who graduated high school and are attending college and working their butts off? Some seem to forget that most people, at one time or another, likely fell into a category where times were tough financially. Projects like the one in the City Center provide a good option for those who might not have tremendous income but want to live close to work or, in the case of students, closer to home.