18 July 2009

slum-lord millionaire

I have a post rattling around in my head about blessing your enemies....thanks a lot Francis Chan! As I was reading Crazy Love and it mentioned this, I started to ask myself, well, what enemies do I have? Oddly enough, or maybe not, I have made a number of enemies over time here in river city. I tend to wear it as a badge of honor. If you run down a list of folks who really don't like me you'll find a common thread I think.

Developers. During my time in city government I held true to my convictions of responsible development and careful planning to ensure a sustainable infrastructure and wise use of our limited resources. Land is a limited resource, by the way. This led to some pretty intense meetings with outcomes unpopular with, well, primarily just one family. I sat down for coffee with their public "face" and commented that we can find some common ground...taking off from a sermon preached on blessing your enemies. I see the way we do things as a very backward, archaic and wasteful mindset. But then, I also look at who is calling the shots and they are of another generation.....which is why I believe we seem to lag behind everyone else. Oh sure, we like to think of ourselves as progressive, but we point to ideas of the 1950's for proof.

the de facto Politburo. Either by accident or design, river city and republicania county suffer from weak leadership. With a vacuum of not only qualified but visionary folks to lead, we've ended up with a handful of big money guys who call the shots but don't have the courage to run for office themselves....they just put in people to do their bidding. These guys and their enablers view anyone who can think for themselves, don't toe the line, and likely disagree with their personal agendas as a threat. I can't help but view my undoing and loss as a response to that threat.

Slumlords. I think I am most honored by this. River city suffers from a rental rate of nearly 50%. There are a few landlords who own huge numbers of properties.....and a few landlords who can legitimately be called slumlords. These guys don't live in town and they are making it so that no one else wants to live in town either because of their properties. I pushed and pushed for better accountability and an effort to clean up the town.....regardless of who owned the properties. Two of these guys have made significant money off of rental housing; the one I certainly would consider a slumlord. The other, I don't think so, but others have told me differently. One of these guys pledged $10,000 to whoever ran against me when I considered a run for mayor. The other couldn't wipe the smile off his face the night of the election in which I was ousted.....he also sold some poor kids a house in a floodplain without disclosing it and often his homes are sites for meth-busts.

Badge of Honor.

But, do I bless these guys? Is that right, really? I'll get to that later. I found this bumper sticker..how funny:

2 comments:

penny lane said...

Well said. I have first hand knowledge of the slum lord you speak of and his incredible cruelty. He took adavantage of a young, very nice, and quite naive couple with a baby. He knew exactly what he was doing. He had no remorse, none whatsoever. I came across many people in my job -- good and bad, mostly good BUT this one kept me up at night. I passed this story on to family (well-known in Plymouth) and friends. No one was surprised at his actions -- amazing!

hoosier reborn said...

dont' you know it!