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Milwaukee, Wisconsin SperlingViews

"The pros and cons of Milwaukee"

The pros and cons of Milwaukee - 7/8/2010
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Milwaukee, WI

I moved to Milwaukee after graduating high school and lived in various areas of Milwaukee for 20 years. I most recently lived in Shorewood, an 8,600 per square mile village three miles north of downtown and situated along Lake Michigan. Whether you rent or purchase, housing and property taxes are extremely high for what you get. When I started visiting my friends from high school who had all relocated, one by one, to Georgia, and saw the high quality of living at a much lower cost, well, my eyes were opened. It was taking all of my wages just to 'get by' in Milwaukee, and I got a real awakening to see what my friends' lives were like elsewhere. Milwaukee is an extremely segregated city, and once you venture into the expansive African American areas, it is highly dangerous and dumpy. I was the victim of having my car window smashed in broad daylight and having some property removed. The police were called, and even though there were security cameras outside, the police could have cared less, as this is just a drop in the bucket to their daily call of duty. Strolling into the ghetto cost me over $1,500 that day, and it was the final straw in a string of horrible events that I suffered through from the moment I moved into Milwaukee county. Six months prior to that, as I was driving to work on the northwest area of Milwaukee on a dark 5:30 am morning, I hit a huge pothole and damaged my tire. A few hours later, my tire was nearly flat, so I took it to a nearby car repair business, which shouldn't be a big mistake, but beware, doing ANYTHING on Milwaukee's north and northwest sides is, and asked to have two new front tires put on my car. When the incompetent mechanic(s) drove my car onto the hydraulic lift, my car slipped off the lift, falling and causing $3,000 damage. This is typical of what you should expect when and if you venture into the huge ghetto of Milwaukee (and if you're anywhere other than directly downtown or on the north shore, it's a ghetto). The roads are indescribably horrific and will tear your nice car to shreds, so be prepared if you live or move here to spend A LOT of money each year or so on costly steering and suspension repairs. The car repair businesses will tell you that they stay in business due to the Beirut type road conditions in the entire Milwaukee metro area. It is infuriating since Wisconsin, but particularly the five county metro Milwaukee area, will cripple you with property taxes, and you just have to wonder where the money is being spent. If you don't mind forking over a lot of money, as I have had to, to live in a village of Milwaukee with its own great schools, your child(ren) can have excellent education, but trust me, it will cost you big time. I can simply no longer justify what I am spending in monthly rent (I am single and could NEVER afford the exorbitant housing prices) to send my daughter to an excellent school, and I am now looking for an alternative. Most housing is very old; I guess they call them character homes, and they're nice and charming on the outside, but walk inside and be prepared to step back in time to 1910, but pay 2010 prices. What I love most about Milwaukee is that I know where each and every neat neighborhood/village is, and so those are the places I inhabit most. But, I think to a newcomer, they would be difficult to find. Downtown Milwaukee is absolutely fabulous, in my opinion. Fun, safe, clean, lots of water everywhere, canals, drawbridges, delicious restaurants, music, festivals, easy parking, acceptable traffic. But, to me, it seems mainly comprised of either 20-25 year old UWM students, or the elderly, and very few of the 30-somethings. I am attractive, intelligent, 40, and single, trying to find a significant other, and have had zero luck whatsoever for all the years I've lived here. Who I thought was my true love left me because I was white (so was he), and even though he was positive we'd live a beautiful and peaceful life together, he left me to find a black intellectual -- which leads me into the next issue with Milwaukee -- and that is the counter-culture society that is growing here. There is a huge culture here that pushes the boundaries of normal, but call it 'community building'. Yeah, right. I am vegetarian, love sustainability, rooftop gardens, green housing, you name it, but I am one of the VERY LONELY FEW who have maintained my femininity and girlie-girl qualities. I am utterly outnumbered by the mass of individuals who also embrace these interests, but who push gender identity to the max -- where the females are all bisexual and androgynous and the men dress like women (yeah, and I mean in dresses). And they have no problem hooking up and living happily ever after. But be warned if you decide to move or live here that there is a huge clan of believers of this 'free' lifestyle, and my former boyfriend decided to jump on board. As an intellectual, but girlie-girl, I feel COMPLETELY UNAPPRECIATED here. This is not the place for feminine women, as you will have a very difficult time finding a male who you can a) identify with, and b) appreciate you. Good luck. The lake is gorgeous, the downtown and Third Ward fabulous, but it comes at a cost -- financially and emotionally -- at least in my case, and that's all I can account for. Wish it were different. Am in the process of looking at other alternative places to call home, find a boyfriend, and afford housing. Sorry, Milwaukee, I wish things were different. I feel I have not been served well by you. You take more than you give.

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Salem, WI

Response to the 2010 "Don't even think about it" p - 1/26/2014

I love these responses! Wish I had been aware of this sight when she was posting. I think the $10.50 an hour job with a college degree might have something to do with a lack of spellchecking? (she used nickle and becuase several times) I've lived in Detroit, Chicago and now Milwaukee suburbs. We travel to the city often and maintain a residence there as well. I think the taxes could use some help and unless you live in “White folks Bay” or Shorewood, I would recommend private schools, but this isn't isolated to Milwaukee. Larger cities are all suffering from a school and services perspective right now. The bigotry piece isn’t unique to Milwaukee and its far worse in Chicago. I do find it funny that she’s now in Texas and calling Milwaukee and suburbs bigoted with bad government.(unless she's living in Ausitn) Milwaukee is no worse than most from an education\taxes standpoint and the parking rant, that’s big cities again, no difference. It's better in some ways and no worse than most major cities today. Art's entertainment and restaurants are wonderful here, and Summerfest is without question, one of the best of its kind in the country! People are relatively friendly and I've not been uncomfortable in any circumstances I've encountered in my 20+ years. It's big enough, but still maintains a smallish vibe. [read more...]

Milwaukee, WI

Quality of life in Milwaukee - 11/28/2013

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Astoria, NY

Specifics? - 1/8/2011

I tried posting this as a reply, but Sperling's seems to have a website problem. Regarding the two vociferously critical comments in Dec 2010: Two such hateful reviews make it very hard to take what you're saying to heart. In particular, could you give specific examples or links to stories to which you're referring when you mention the "child abuse" in public schools? We've lived in a fairly difficult city (Brooklyn, NY) for almost 20 years, and having been in Milwaukee twice in the past three years, I can't honestly say I've seen the things you talk about. I also know Madison pretty well, and it's always seemed, well, rather self-satisfied and overly idealistic. Bigots are everywhere--e.g., your comment about "insufferable yuppies"--but open minds may change the places they live. I appreciate other comments, however, that give specific feedback on specific issues--like the woman who talks about how difficult it was for her to meet an appropriate partner, or reasonable comparisons of the crime and long-term living compared to other American cities. [read more...]

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Milwaukee: Don't Even Think About It - 12/28/2010

Perhaps the happiest moment I had in Milwaukee was the day I left and realized I would never have to return. Yes, it's that bad, and since our new governor is the former County Executive of this hole, we can expect him to drag the rest of Wisconsin down to Milwaukee's level. First of all, the taxes in Milwaukee are so high they're crippling, and you don't get anywhere near what you pay for: the streets are in awful condition, snow removal is so-so, police often don't respond to calls, and the schools aren't schools in any sense of the word;, they actually border on child abuse. As for things like sewers, during heavy rains Lake Michigan is used as a septic tank. In fact, about all your taxes get you in Milwaukee are an army of parking checkers that nickle and dime people handing out tickets for some of the most arcane parking regulations in the nation. I understand that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, but Milwaukee rips off its residents As for jobs, you can forget that too, unless you consider working as a temp for $10.50 a great opportunity. Bettering and educating yourself is almost frowned upon and won't be appreciated by your employer. In sum, this is what we have in Milwaukee: a miserable, overpriced, crime-ridden city surrounded by dull, bigoted suburbs. I wouldn't send my worst enemy or an unwanted dog to this city.[read more...]

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Don't Even Consider Milwaukee - 12/28/2010

As a former resident of Milwaukee, I cringed when I saw that my two choices for governor were two Milwaukee politicians becuase I fled that huge bucket of FAIL years ago. Why am I so hard on Milwaukee? I think the question should be why am I not harder on the place? As the years went by, I pretty much discovered that even when I got a degree my job prospects would more or less consist of working as a temp for $11 an hour out in New Berlin. And even if I got a decent paying job that allowed me to utilize my skills, my housing choices would consist of a) enclaves on the far eastern end of the city populated by insufferable yuppies, b) dysfunctional crime ridden neighborhoods, or c) dull, overpriced suburbs full of bigots. Making matters worse are the taxes. I understand that taxes are the price one pays for civilization, and though Milwaukee's are some of the highest in the nation you don't get anything approaching civilization. While the city is begging for money to fix its useless schools and can't answer police calls in a timely fashion, they have plenty of money to hire parking checkers to nickle and dime people enforcing some of the most arcane, useless parking regulations in the nation. In fact, if they put the same energy in crime prevention and economic development they do in handing out parking tickets, Milwaukee could be a decent place. But they won't, becuase they only care about shaking the residents down and hoping they don't find a decent city to live in. And the suburbs? The taxes aren't much better, and they're populated by frightened soccer moms and whimpering bigots. Living in Madison, which is admitedly somewhat overrated at times, we at least have the hope of better times and elected officials that care about the people that they serve. Milwaukee has none of those things. And now that one of their fearless leaders is governor, I fear for the future of this state.[read more...]

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Milwaukee, WI


After 22 years of living in various parts of Milwaukee, last but not least, the ever-expensive village of Shorewood, I felt I had no other reasonable financial choice but to leave and move south. The downtown is gorgeous and happening; the city is situated idyllically on the gorgeous lake, BUT, this all comes at a huge price tag, in my opinion. Expect to easily be charged $1100 per month to live in a 2 bedroom run-down dump, not including heating costs. Should you be fortunate enough, or shall I say, ignorant enough, to pay $2,000 per month and up, you will then be one of the few privileged to live in a decent home. And no good and honest review would leave out the road and street conditions, and let me say from many years of personal experience and a very large dent in my bank account, not to mention my vehicle; BEWARE, and stash away loads of cash to shell out each year for the wear and tear that the Beirut-like street conditions will do to your vehicle, should you not be lucky enough to be married to a mechanic. You won't believe it until you drive it. And for that matter, if you're a bicyclist as I am, these degraded street conditions apply to that mode of transportation as well. Even walking, my foot has been caught in a pothole, sometimes twisting my ankle. I swear, no matter what mode of transportation I enlisted, I consumed more time concerned with looking down at the ground than looking upon the view ahead. You really must wonder why an area with CRIPPLING property taxes have streets that will literally eat your mode of transport alive. What is the money being used for? On another depressing note, be prepared to have to drive through the start, or end, however you want to look at it, ghetto in order to access the expressway; such joys, or should I say horrors. I cannot tell you how many lawbreaking ghetto inhabitants almost smashed my car to bits as I was simply just trying to drive down the street to the expressway. IF you've got a lot of money, and I mean a lot, and you don't mind paying excessive amounts of rent, mortgage, and/or property taxes, and a combination thereof, because let's face the truth, even we renters are paying the property owner's taxes, then you'll probably live a great life there, because it really is a gorgeous place. I miss it there, maybe always will, because it was my home, but at the end of the day and at age 41, I had to face the reality that I could have SO much more when it came to housing and clean roads if I just moved south. I have voted for the Democratic Party my entire life, and intend to always (or a third party), but I must admit, after a century with Milwaukee being dominated by Democrats, I really am angry and disillusioned at the rather egotistical attitude of this decaying city forcing its residents no choice but to be charged luxury prices for substandard housing. I feel the place took far more from me than it gave back. And on a final note, if you're a woman in your 30's and interested in finding a significant other, whatever you do, steer clear of Milwaukee. It's a town built on the transient college crowd; they come then leave; good luck finding intelligent and good looking marriage material. I am an attractive, intellectual female, and take it from me, don't waste your time with blinders on as I did; settle elsewhere. [read more...]

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cost of living - 8/9/2010

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Grand Rapids, MI

Milwaukee is just fine - 7/21/2010

I am an African-American who lived in Milwaukee and continues to visit family in Milwaukee. In response to criticisms about the housing in Milwaukee: There are many beautiful and decent homes throughout the entire city-you do not need to leave the city to find a beautiful or decent home. Milwaukee has a lot of homes with their own character and style. There is not a lot of cookie-cutter homes in Milwaukee. In response to the complaints about violence in the community: What mid-size or major city doesn't struggle with violence and crime? If you want to live in an urban area, that is a given no matter where you go in the U.S. To add, Milwaukee has many residential areas within city limits that are not crime ridden and violent. Do your homework and you will find out. In response to the segregation commentary: I have lived and visited many cities--I can say, with confidence, that absolutely no city is immune to segregation and racism. All cities and towns have a serious problem with it. It is ridiculous to nit-pick. To add, Milwaukee is one of the few cities that has many grassroots community leaders who are people of color who work tirelessly to improve the economic, political, social, and educational situation of their people. Also, the people of color in Milwaukee make a real effort to celebrate their respective cultures. Furthermore, unlike some people who commented on this board. I do not rate my quality of life as an African-American based on being able to socialize, date, or live with White people. I do not use White people as my barometer of success. What is more important to me is making sure that we as African Americans can improve our relations with each other. To make sure that we can come together as one to empower ourselves economically, politically, and socially. That should be are number one concern. Look, White people are human beings just like everyone else. They eat, sleep, have sex, use the bathroom, and die just like everyone else. They have their faults and own issues that permeate throughout their communities. I do not care what their opinion is of me. As long as they treat me with respect and stay out of my way of accomplishing my dreams and goals, I am good. By the way, I do have friends from Milwaukee, who are White, and we have a good time. This leads me to inform many of you that there are a considerable amount of White people in Milwaukee who are very socially conscious and work to improve the quality of life of all people in the city and who are environmental activists. As a matter of fact, the city itself could be viewed as a liberal and democratic city. Contrary to popular belief, there are mixed income and culturally mixed neighborhoods in Milwaukee. There is even inter ethnic couplings. Other good points about Milwaukee 1. Beautiful natural spaces; a lot of parks 2. Many plays and concerts you can go to 3. The summers are spectacular with many free community events, street festivals, and, of course, the Summerfest and all the other ethnic fests. 4. For African-Americans are the following: 1. The Black Pages (Black version of the Yellow pages) 2. Black Newspaper 3. Dance company 4. Business and Political Associations 5. Celebration of Juneteenth Day 6. African-World Festival 7. African and African centered schools for Black children 8. Revitalization of the Black business district known as Bronzeville The list goes on. Whew! I'm tired. Just do your research and make the decision for yourself. I will admit that the weather sucks. This is not a place for people who love a mild climate. Hate the snow.[read more...]

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