Tuesday, October 30, 2007

City Hall Rising... in cost.

City Hall's Settling, er, Unsettling News - JS column by Jim Stingl.

We've Sunk a Bundle Into City Hall - JS column by Mike Nichols, in which the author has the gall to propose tearing down Milwaukee's single most iconic pre-Calatrava building.

Milwaukee City Hall

Not related, but:
Want a really long commute? Take the 'A' train - JS column by Patrick McIlheran. Man, I hate it when snotty* conservatives are, more-or-less, correct.

(Of course, his unspoken argument of "BIG CITY BAD, SMALL CITY GOOD, SUBURB BETTER" dodges the issue of, who's the more successful city, New York or Milwaukee? Which one has the most valuable real estate? Where's the most money being made? Which one is drawing the most people? It also disregards the likelihood that 40 minutes on the train is far more pleasant and potentially productive than 25 minutes fighting through traffic.)

* "Snotty" because in this and other columns, there's this unspoken, passive-aggressive implication that suburbs are the one and only thing that everyone really wants, that all their problems are just propaganda, that they and they alone represent the perfection of some kind of American democratic libertarian ideal of Free Choice For Everyone, that the only reason those annoying cities even exist is because... someone, probably evil liberals, forced innocent suburban taxpayers to surrender their hard-earned dollars to give away to undeserving urban elitists, that the only reason anybody lives in cities at all is because freedom-hating commie terrorists are forcing them to, and that if a city advocate dares support urban development of any kind anywhere, it's going to force everyone everywhere to live jam-packed into hundred-story high rises.

The truth is a tad more murky than that, since most of those suburbs wouldn't work or even exist without the insanely expensive government-funded Interstate highway system to function as their backbone, or without the government-funded GI bills that favored such development for decades, or without the urban core to act as the seed-germ that allowed them to exist at all. And god forbid people advocate building urban environments in the city! That's just crazy talk!

I'm a little unfair taking it all out on this one poor columnist who does make some efforts to be balanced in his reporting, but it's a hypocritical, paranoid, unfair, and inaccurate attitude I've seen time and time again among conservatives and/or suburban advocates, and I'm more than a little sick of it. We're not coming to take away your stupid mega-mansions and half-acre lots. We just want to live the way we want to live, and maybe not pay for your billion dollar highway expansion that we're never going to use.


Jennifer said...

Yeah, blame the evil left-wing conspiracy. Er, wherever it is. And whatever it's actually done. *crickets chirping*

I've always wondered what those "snotty conservatives" (as you put it--can I borrow that?) are so afraid of, because they alway seem to win.

Nuclear Art said...

The Journal has always advocated tearing down Milwaukee's landmarks. Back in the 1930s they spearheaded the demolition of the beautiful old courthouse and in the 1960s they had a huge series of articles detailing the ugliness of old, turn of the century buildings downtown and how they should all be demolished.

You can't put a price on repairing the city hall. IMHO, it is a mandatory cost we must pay.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny when urbanist libs state that they will never use the highway. Hmmm... How do you think your food, beverages, entertainment, etc. will get into Milwaukee, via some Star Trek portal? I have not seen any beef cattle, chickens, corn fields, etc. within the city in a long time. What do you suggest we eat, flys?

Robert Powers said...

Anon -- good point! I think that's what they did before the highways came along 1950s, in fact. Too bad they didn't have any form of mass transportation back then.

Megan said...
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Anonymous said...

The rail system in Europe is amazing. I've ridden it in several countries, and to be quite honest, its much more comfortable than driving any day. If we had bothered to invest in a decent system back in the day rather than the highways, we'd have avoided a lot of the current problems we face today. But hey, we Americans MUST have our automobiles and big, over-watered lawns and ugly, architecturally insignificant bi-level out by the Walmart. Forget history or having any architectural identity! America's throw away culture has been in existence since the colonists built houses they expected to rot in 50 years and lord knows the 1970s was the poster child for throwing out everything and replacing it with crap. We just have to accept the fact that as Americans we're all obligated to be cheap and ignorant, and therefore unwilling to spend a little money to save a beautiful piece of Milwaukee architecture.