Dear Tell All: Most of the people I know from Shorewood Hills pride themselves on their liberal principles. The village voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in 2008, and residents love to brag about their fairy-tale community where everybody gets along. Of course, having a fairy-tale community is relatively easy in an area of mostly expensive single-family homes.
Then came a developer proposing that Shorewood rezone an area on University Avenue to allow for low-income housing. And not even that low-income. In a Wisconsin State Journal article, the developer said he envisioned renters made up of teachers, retail workers and hospital workers, who would pay between $600 and $1,000 a month.
But apparently that's too low-class for Shorewood Hills, despite the fact that the village's comprehensive plan high-mindedly calls for the creation of multi-family housing. At a public meeting in December, some residents objected to the affordable-housing project with very ugly comments. A village board member worried about an influx of people with "different values from what we have here." One selfish resident fretted that the development would make it harder for her to rent her home when her family travels abroad!
When I hear comments like that, I begin to hate Shorewood Hills. The liberals there are officially concerned about low-income people, but not enough to let them into the neighborhood.
Dear Winnie: Some people love to hate Shorewood Hills, just as some people love to hate all affluent liberals. But there's nothing wrong with being an affluent liberal (what, only Republicans are allowed to make money?), and some of the finest people I know live in Shorewood Hills. Of course, you can always find hypocrites of any political stripe. I'll grant you that two or three people quoted in the State Journal article made regrettable comments. Then again, other Shorewood Hills residents were quoted in support of the affordable-housing project, calling the opposition "embarrassing." I suspect there are more where they came from, and it would be nice to hear from them as this debate continues.
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