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January 21, 2008



I think you did a great job in giving the city the respect it deserves. You highlighted many of the great aspects of Milwaukee and also made light of many of the ridiculous stereotypes. I especially enjoyed the quip about the cows in intersections. Thanks for sticking up for us and for another great read!


Yeah, before I moved to Milwaukee everyone would tell me that its a small, dirty dying city...which is really not what it's like at all. I lived in Madison a while and didn't care for it, I've been to Chicago a bit and find it and the people from there to be a bit pretentious...I found Milwaukeans to be refreshingly down to earth.


When I went to college in MN, I'd talk about how cool Milwaukee was, but it didn't seem like anyone believed me. I'd encourage my friends to come visit over our breaks, but they never seemed very gung-ho about it.

Additionally, one of my friends is moving from Seattle back to the Midwest. She looked into the Twin Cities, St. Louis and Chicago as potential places, but didn't even consider MKE. The thing is, I know she'd love it here – the blend of city and small-town life.

But seriously, some people don't realize that this city has entertainment and culture and diversity, besides beer and cheese and lame stereotypes.


The problem with Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin is outrageously high taxes and too much government. I would definitely be willing to move out of state.


as for me I was born and raised in HONOLULU, HI but moved to MILWAUKEE in 1998 and moved back to HAWAII in 2002. I liked it there. Yes life is abit different from growing up in a city like HONOLULU but I would move back there if I had the chance. I still go back once in awhile. I miss the seasons!!!
MILWAUKEE isn't such a bad place like people think it is...


Great work Karen! I think Milwaukee should buy Carol a plane ticket to come check Milwaukee out. These lists are so dumb. But in all honesty, Detroit and East St. Louis are still accurate. We should thank our lucky stars that Milwaukee dodged the bullet that sunk those two cities. I'm not suggesting there's nothing good going on there, but both of those cities are true disasters. You should check them out if you don't believe me. All Americans, in fact, should visit Detroit for a week to learn about everything we've done wrong over the last 50 years... I could go on and on!


Al, I can't say I agree with your statement about outrageously high taxes and too much government.

While paying my 8.625% sales tax and I-don't-even-want-to-talk-about-the-rates state AND city income taxes, I'm wishing I were living in Milwaukee again. I'll give you that taxes in Mke/WI are higher than perhaps they should be (specifically property taxes), but moving out of state might not help you much, unless you're planning on living in rural North Carolina. (Not that I have anything against rural North Carolina -- it's quite lovely.)

As for the "too much government" part... I'm not sure I know quite what aspect(s) of government you're referring to, but I don't know if that's a situation that would improve elsewhere...


Sorry folks, here's one former Milwaukeean who fled to NYC 11 years ago and never came back. I saw a performance artist here who wrapped it up perfectly for me: "New York City is the place for people no one else wanted." Well, I was one of those people. I was born and raised here, and NEVER felt like I fit in socially, religiously, politically, etc.

I tell people, if you have a good job (and you need one in Milwaukee, cuz you just can't make any damn money there) and are raising a family, Milwaukee's a good place. After that, go some where else. If you're single and ambitious, Milwaukee's not for you-- try Chi-town, NYC, or LA. If your field is in something other than health care, don't move to Milwaukee, cuz there ain't anything else.

And on a more personal note, the general population's intense need for conformity is what finally drove me out. That and a collective lack of empathy. Yeah, yell all you want, but here in NY, the neighbors actually TALK to each other because we live 2 feet on top of each other. We actually get involved in each other's lives here, look out for each other. I find Milwaukeeans to be xenophobic, bigoted, and self-centered.



Ivy, you sound very bitter. What you said could be true, but it could also be true in just about every city in the United States, including NYC. It's all just a generalization. I’ve lived here all my life and I think Milwaukee is accepting and flourishing, plus it’s filled with opportunity and diversity. There's something for everyone.


Ivy, I understand where you're coming from, but I am also a born and bred Milwaukeean who moved to NYC, and I really think you're selling Milwaukee short. I fell in love with NYC when I was 16 and moved there right after high school. But when I went home each summer, I realized how much Milwaukee has to offer. When I graduated college and had to decide whether or not I would move back to Brew City, it was probably the hardest decision of my life. My life and career are in New York now, but part of me wishes I still lived in Milwaukee. (Who knows, I may end up back there soon.)

So maybe it's not for you. But one of the greatest things about Milwaukee is that it is growing and evolving (quite quickly, I might add) into the kind of city that can become home to many people. Sure, it's not as racially integrated as New York, but I don't know of one city that is. As far as being in a career that is "anything other than healthcare" -- I know plenty of people who have successful careers in education, the arts, IT, and many other non-healthcare fields. And if you experienced a "collective lack of empathy," I apologize on behalf of the jerks you must have encountered, because I find Milwaukeeans to be some of the nicest, most accommodating people I've ever come across. (And no, I'm not merely referring to my friends, but to the population as a whole.) Milwaukee is certainly not perfect, but New York has its fair share of flaws.

If you left Milwaukee 11 years ago and "never came back," perhaps it deserves another shot before you trash talk it to everyone you know. I'm not suggesting you move back, because NYC seems to be making you happy, as it is me... I just ask that you keep an open mind. That seems to be what you find Milwaukeeans to be lacking, isn't it?

Please excuse my intensity, but despite the fact that I no longer live in Milwaukee, I still carry with me a great deal of pride about my hometown. I feel that it is well-deserved.


Having lived in a few big U.S. cities, I can say that, personally, I think MKE has a lot going for it. Cost of living is reasonable, proximity to Chicago makes getting outta the country easy (I recently took megabus to O'hare to fly to China...not so easy to do in a city like Raleigh). Summers are nice and winters are hell, so that's a wash in my book. My two biggest gripes with the city are (a) the ubiquity of binge drinking and (b) the chronic brain-drain. Someone said above that binge drinking isn't bad here. Well, it is. I work in substance abuse research and Milwaukeeans binge drink more than citizens from any other of the 35 largest US cities (that's according to a 2006 survey from Forbes). Not only is that just plain unhealthy, but it creates a social landscape in Milwaukee that is dominated by copious weekend drinking. (binge drinking is not just local, by the way, but statewide...Wisconsin had the second highest binge drinking rate in the country, topped only by North Dakota, in 2006...apparently, we're not trying hard enough).

Problem 2: we lose a lot of young, educated professionals to other cities. Call it what you will, but the city is under-educated. About 19% of Milwaukeeans have at least a Bachelors degree, well below the national average of 27%. Even Chicago, which we love to hate, boasts a Bachelors degree+ among 30% of their citizens (all this comes from the US Census-American FactFinder interweb net address...check it out).

Every city has problems, but Milwaukee needs to attract more young, educated folks, which might even add some diversity to the social scene and provide alternatives to the ritualistic liver abuse propagated by those fantastic $1 Jager-bombs at Judge's.


Make Milwaukee even better!

The City and its Community Partners are beginning the process for updating the 1999 Downtown Plan, a valuable document that has helped to guide downtown development over the last eight years. An updated plan will build on the momentum achieved to date and provide guidance regarding future downtown development. The updated plan will focus on land use and economic development issues and opportunities, as well as transit, parking, retail, preservation of iconic buildings, destinations/attractions, sustainability and revitalization of sub-areas within the Downtown.

Here's the survey!


Todd, this is great!

Thanks for sharing the survey. I might post about it so that more people become aware (comments are often overlooked). We have the opportunity to speak up about what we like and dislike about Milwaukee and we should take advantage of that.


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