This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
Journal Sentinel, June 23, 2011 (full article available on-line)
U.S. authorities sued New Berlin Thursday, alleging that race was the reason the city blocked a low-income housing development by MSP Real Estate Inc., a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.
A 13-page complaint filed in court spells out the lengths to which city leaders and staff went block the project, even revising the city's 2020 comprehensive plan.
"The defendant's actions as described herein were taken because of race and because of community opposition that city officials understood to be based on the race and on racial stereotypes of the prospective tenants of affordable housing," it said.
The project developer, MSP, also has a pending lawsuit in federal court against the city, seeking nearly $13 million in compensatory damages.
The lawsuit seeks to force the city to approve MSP's project and require it to take steps to prevent future discrimination. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages.
A developer and the Federal government vs. New Berlin and The Constitution
US Constitution; 10th Amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
To quote James Madison, Federalist No. 45
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.
We the People:
Where in the Constitution is the federal government granted the power to subsidize housing? Nowhere! We generously (and perhaps naively) allowed it because of their stated “good intentions”. Now they sue to override New Berlin’s choice on where to apply it within the community.
There are several possible avenues in which to fight this. One is on 10th amendment Constitutional grounds. Another is through the legal concept of “coordination” in which the federal government must bargain with local communities as an equal negotiator over property use (internet search: how coordination works fred kelly grant). In addition, signs and graffiti from a few anonymous racists are not indicative of New Berlin people or our government leaders. The burden of legitimate proof of racism by the city is on the feds, and they will not find it. All we need is the political will and the specialists to fight these false allegations. It will cost us money, but enforcing vertical separation of powers is part of the cost of liberty.
People of New Berlin, upholding the Constitution still boils down to the will of the people. What will you tell your Alderperson and Mayor? The next Common Council meeting is June 28th.