Our City Is Too Good for the Likes Of You, Citizen

A piece today in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the inner ring suburbs of Milwaukee working to improve their neighborhoods by squelching small entrepreneurs: Tapping out liquor licenses:
Corner taverns squeezed out as communities work to upgrade images, tax revenue

A spokesecrat for West Milwaukee speaks ex cathedra about what the monolithic entity wants, says:

“The times that there are two or three bars on every block is passed,” said West Milwaukee Village President Ron Hayward. “West Milwaukee wants to upgrade its image.”

Got that, citizens? West Milwaukee, the organic entity, has determined that the time of small entrepreneurs running their own taverns is over. Instead, it’s time for West Milwaukee to look like Springfield, Missouri, and Chesterfield, Missouri, and most of the other suburbs in most other towns. Bring on the Applebees! Wait, sorry, I mean:

“What they’re deciding is what’s good for the neighborhood and what’s not,” said Weinzatl [owner of a building denied a liquor license renewal], 36. “When they didn’t have the tax revenue coming in, the Chili’s and Chipotle’s, we were all good enough for them. Now that they have all these opportunities, they’re going to squeeze out the little guy.”

Bring on the Chili’s! West Milwaukee wants to sacrifice its local character to the gods of suburban sameness to sucker in some traffic from Miller Park attendees who wouldn’t walk through the worn wooden doors of a corner tavern with the name of the owner above the door on a discolored Schlitz sign but who would be much happier to pull the jalapeño door handle just like they do once a week out in Sussex.

And the West Milwaukee citizens who would like to run their own businesses?

Melody Nordness, 45, a homemaker and homeowner who has lived in the village for 17 years, had hoped to lease Weinzatl’s space in her first crack as a small business owner. She wanted to create a corner tavern where neighbors could stop in for a beer while walking their dogs, chat about the village goings-on and just sit for a while, she said.

She had already paid for her license and started fixing up the place when she received a letter July 14 providing her with reasons for a denial.

Among the reasons:

“The Village of West Milwaukee Board has identified the need to change the culture of the community, to encourage redevelopment and reduce the property tax burden on homeowners.”

“One of the redevelopment goals identified by the Community Development Authority is to encourage restaurant uses in the village, in lieu of taverns that do not primarily serve food.”

While Nordness got her money back, she wanted the license.

“I was very upset for the fact that I have lived here 17 years, and we wanted to keep this bar/tavern a community-type business,” Nordness said. “We kept them afloat for 17 years, paying the highest taxes in the state of Wisconsin.”

Quiet, citizen! You forget your place. You serve the Government’s needs, not the other way around. Do you not understand that the Government is adjusting your culture as It sees fit to broaden Its tax base or improve Its image to Itself. Love It or leave It by moving to another community just like this one.

And be grateful that the Government has not taken your land for Its own vision of megastripmalldom. Yet.

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