To illustrate my point, I provide a clip from Monty Python. The skit is about a man, Dennis Moore, and his misguided and poorly thought out attempts to level economic justice by robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. It goes well in the beginning, but Dennis is a one-trick-pony and not a very critical thinker. So he keeps robbing and robbing until the rich are poor and the poor are rich causing him pause to say “this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought!”

Monty Python - Dennis Moore

His original actions may have been motivated by the believe in economic justice but lack of understanding of the deeper issues topped with his lack of creative problem solving and sticking to the only thing he could do well lead him to be a major (if unintended) player in carrying out major social injustices.

Richfield’s City Hall – Viva la 1980s!

Many of the Richfield movers and shakers have been around since the 1980s and 1970s. I know this because I went to high school back then and was a political cartoonist for the Richfield Sun (Now Richfield Sun-Current). I moved away when I went to college but came back and bought a house in 2002 and was amazed to find some of the same people in power and even more amazing was that while the world and Richfield had changed dramatically they had not nor had their policies.

One example was the love affair with senior citizen housing at 66th and Lyndale. By 2003 they had created a large fixed income/senior ghetto and were effectively cutting off the blood supply to the business community so that even a Dunn Bros. or Quiznos couldn’t survive there. However, they created a great climate for medical storefronts like a dialysis clinic or for discount dollar stores.

What worked well in the 1980’s with the Lake Shore Drive Condos didn’t work so well thirty years later when repeated over and over and over…

This is clearly going on with the affordable housing issue right now. Richfield 1970/1980 was very white and very middle class, diversity and affordable housing were clear issues that a progressive thirty or forty-something would have seen and should have been concerned about. But fast forward to 2012 when Richfield is now one of the most diverse suburbs in the metro area, even more diverse than many areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It also now has one of the most affordable home owner and rental housing stocks in the metro as well.

So the issues toward these should change. Instead of “how do me make Richfield more diverse?”, it should be “how can we understand each other better?” and more importantly, instead of “how do we make more affordable housing for those with low incomes?” The focus should be on maintaining the quality AND affordability of the existing rental stock not adding more and more low income housing when the older forty to fifty year old rental apartments are running down.

If being a champion of social justice is what is wanted then they need a better understanding of the deeper issues and to start creatively problem solve as well as take unpopular political risks by holding accountable the Metropolitan Council and wealthy cities like Edina who continue to shirk their responsibility of helping the poor with low income workforce housing.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

Are churches in Edina only for show?