Lord’s Diner debate focused on wrong issues

At today’s meeting of the Wichita City Council, an item no longer on the agenda still caused some controversy.

The Lord’s Diner, a charitable organization, had proposed buying a city-owned building at 21st and Grove and making a second site for their effort to feed Wichita’s poor.

Opposition from community groups, however, drove the Lord’s Diner to withdraw its plans.

In today’s meeting, council members Sue Schlapp and Paul Gray spoke in favor of the Lord’s Diner’s plans on the basis of its charitable and humanitarian activity.

Council member Lavonta Williams, who represents the district where the proposed site exists, responded without mentioning the community’s real objection to the plan: they don’t want the type of people the Lord’s Diner serves congregating in the vicinity of the proposed location.

Mayor Carl Brewer spoke of how this has been a complicated issue. Council members must do the right thing, he said, which may not be the same as what the community wants. He said he recognizes the need to feed everyone, and there are people all over town that need help: “These are people who cannot help themselves.”

He said that people in key leadership positions said things that were “very bitter, very venomous,” and that citizens should “charge it to the mind and not the heart,” adding that “some people take desperate measures to be able to get what they want.” He asked that citizens not judge an entire community by the actions of a few.

The mayor said he sees an opportunity, and he urged everyone to work together.

What hasn’t been mentioned in the debate over this matter is that the proposal by the Lord’s Diner is a lawful use of the property. If we want to have a system that respects private property rights, that’s the only thing that matters.

Wichita Eagle reporting is at City takes Lord’s Diner proposal off table after diner pulls its offer. An informative blog post by Brent Wistrom is at Council members vent as Lord’s Diner plan sinks.


5 thoughts on “Lord’s Diner debate focused on wrong issues”

  1. Finally, a subject Weeks and I agree on… I still think LD should have bought the building, then announced their plans…

  2. I thought Mayor Brewer was going to bring people together. He is not even able to mediate the differences between the factions within his old district. The argument that a “Lord’s Diner” on 21st Street will attract unsatisfactory residents appears to be “poor people on poor people” discrimination. Where is ACORN when you need them?

  3. Just makes me mad that a some one has to be black in order to say— “we don’t want their kind in our neighborhood” without the full weight of civil rights protests looming overhead!

    Do I detect a little raaaaaaaaacism here? Don’t worry Lavonta, the ACLU only picks on whites who say such things. I hope Karma catches up to ya!

  4. I went to the DAB board meeting. Many people from different neighborhood associations and churches, plus the Pres. of the local NAACP. All spoke against it, not one person was in support at that meeting. It was also pointed out that more that a hundred churches help feed people every week in this area. If it was only about feeding people there is the place to start. Not forcing another degrading program on NE Wichita’s residents that they clearly don’t want. An alternate location was already suggested. I applaud the residents of NE Wichita for standing up for their hard earned progress on 21st street.
    Also the many churches that do already feed the hungry.

  5. Look, the bottom line is feeding the homeless is a joke. The issue is jobs. Perpetual joblessness is not a governmental responsibility. If you discontinue making it so easy to be homeless, they will and I mean WILL move on or get a job. Those are the cold hard facts of life.

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