Local opponents, or market forces, could quash the plan, but for now, the process moves along.
More complete story here.
The uproar in New Berlin highlights larger issues: economically, the region is segregated, with housing and jobs less available to minorities and low-income residents in the suburbs than in Milwaukee.
New Berlin is not much different in this regard than other small communities in the counties surrounding Milwaukee.
These disparities hold back the region, poison regional politics and distort patterns of growth and wealth development.
When New Berlin agreed to buy Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee a while back, the suburb agreed to be a better regional partner with Milwaukee, and implied, but did not specifically pledge, that it would be more of affordable housing and related issues.
Long-term, and overall, it would be good for this project to be completed.
Short-term, I predict more protests in New Berlin even though Mayor Jack Chiovatero, under pressure, hacked away from his early support.
I'm in no way favoring it, but I wouldn't overrule a recall effort against Chiovatero and any other local elected official who had pushed the project because the level of opposition already has that angry feel to it.
And this entire experience will blowback onto Waukesha-Milwaukee relations and negotiations over Lake Michigan water, should that deal come to pass, as Milwaukee city policy calls for affirmative steps on housing and other socio-economic issues as elements of a water sale to Waukesha, with the new Mayor, some aldermen and citizens at public hearings there already balking.
So it goes in our region...