Former Fairway city councilman apologizes for criticizing Wal-Mart shoppers

08/21/2013 8:39 PM

08/21/2013 8:39 PM

People not from Johnson County sometimes get the creepy feeling when shopping or visiting there that they’re not welcomed and are being looked down upon.

Unfortunately for Johnson County, former Fairway City Councilman John Ridenour put it in writing. He distributed a letter to porches and doorways in his ward on the southwest side of Fairway in response to a new Wal-Mart being built in nearby Mission, The Kansas City Star reports.

What he wrote didn’t take a favorable view of Wal-Mart shoppers from the viewpoint of one of the wealthiest counties in the country:

“Our neighborhood will get noticed and some will want to move into it. BE HONEST with yourself. Most of them are of a different class in that they do not feel the desire of a beautiful neighborhood and maintaining property values. When they move in we will start to see junk cars in disrepair in front yards along with other trash, and down will go the property values. BIG TIME!!!”

Naturally people took offense because some of the same thinking went into white flight from Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., to Johnson County and other surrounding less diverse suburbs. It is unfortunate that such thinking persists especially as the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary next Wednesday of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

King’s dream of people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin still isn’t a reality in America.

Ridenour said it. Fortunately, he did the right thing and apologized for what he wrote.

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