Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender to Retire

On Sunday, City Council President Lisa Bender announced she would not seek re-election in 2021, according to an article in the Star Tribune. Bender was among the first City Council members to take the stage at Powderhorn Park and declared their promise to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department after George Floyd’s death. The result has been one of the most violent years on record in the city.

The Star Tribune article states Bender had made the decision earlier this year “well before multiple crises hit our city,” but her departure leaves Minneapolitans in the lurch:

“Her announcement comes at a time when many people are looking to the City Council for a clear plan on what it intends to do with the Police Department following George Floyd’s death, after its first attempt to replace it hit a roadblock.”

Not everyone was convinced Bender was the correct person for the job:

“In light of all the turmoil and upheaval and concerns surrounding our city leadership, I believe that Lisa Bender made the right decision to not seek re-election in 2021,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, founder of the Racial Justice Network.

Levy Armstrong, who favors reforming the department, said she was disappointed with how Bender handled police issues and thought she should have consulted with a wider group of African American leaders before unveiling plans to end the department.

“At the end of the day, I think Lisa Bender was in over her head in terms of being able to address very complex issues surrounding public safety, race relations and police accountability,” she said.”

Bender’s damage to the city was not just a matter of public safety. According to the article, she was a leader on the $15 minimum wage ordinance which has harmed small businesses and the restaurant industry. Even City Pages, which was never known for economic literacy, noted that restaurants were struggling with the minimum wage increases.

That was before COVID and the enormous upswell in violence that has led to 76 carjackings or attempted carjackings in the last seven weeks and 73 murders this year. The ever-increasing hostility toward businesses, rising property taxes, and rising crime have left the city in a worse position to recover from the economic fallout from the virus and rioting.

Like all lawmakers, Bender will simply walk away from the car wreck she’s left behind and leave the clean up and consequences to the residents of the City. This is why the Thomas Sowell quote below rings to true:

“It would be hard to think of a more ridiculous way to make decisions than to transfer those decisions to third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.”

Hopefully Bender’s retirement opens the door for a City Council member who understands that the job of local governments is to solve local problems, and public safety should be their number one priority.