Who will be Omaha's next mayor? Next week, voters choose between Jim Suttle and Jean Stothert. To help them make the most informed decision possible, World-Herald humor columnist Brad Dickson hit each candidate with the hard questions.
If you win the election, will you feel guilty about ending the gravy train for members of Mayor Jim Suttle's administration?
No. I won't. Suttle appointees have been so well paid that I've heard they want to buy the Chicago Cubs from the Ricketts family and then plan a tender offer to acquire Berkshire Hathaway.
The mayoral forum at Anthony's Steakhouse in March has been compared to a civil disturbance. What can we do to reduce political acrimony in this country?
Dictatorships have been tried in some countries with limited success. However, I'd rather be sure you “freedom of the press” people have something fun to write about.
You have an active Twitter account. In 140 characters or less, why should Omahans elect Jean Stothert as mayor?
Vote 4 me. After 50 male mayors in a row, O! needs a mayor that will listen … all husbands proven ineligible.
You've called for streamlining city government. Does that mean that if you're elected, the Suttle administration's director of envelope licking will be eliminated?
No, envelope glue tastes terrible, so I'm keeping that position. To streamline further, however, I will eliminate the City Council. Since I served on the council, I can pretty much take it all from here, thank you.
On your website, you lay out your plan in simple, concise, clear, unambiguous, straightforward language. Are you sure you're cut out for Omaha politics?
What?!? That was obviously written without any input from me. I will edit it to muddy the waters, confuse voters and take positions on both sides. Thanks for pointing that out.
What steps are you presently advocating to get Jim Flowers back on the air?
I am helping as much as I can by writing a big check to WOWT each week for overpriced television ads so they can afford to bring him back.
Have you ever played golf with Gov. Dave Heineman or gone cow tipping with Sen. Deb Fischer?
The only way I'd have a chance at golf with the governor and his buddies is if I spelled my name G-E-N-E. As for Sen. Fischer, I believe she should be able to enjoy the PETA-sponsored sport of her choice.
You're adamantly opposed to wasteful spending. Do you think you can handle being mayor of a city that has a $2 billion sewer system?
I have to give this one to Mayor Suttle. After all, he is the one who mentioned the idea of a federal toilet paper tax to pay for it. I wonder where he was when he thought of that?
At a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts, you rappelled down the Woodmen Tower. Have the Wallendas made you an offer?
Always happy to do what I can in support of the Boy Scouts. It's one of the many interests that World-Herald Publisher Terry Kroeger and I share. As for the Wallendas? I have not heard from them, but I have my dream job as mayor of this great city.
You have several thousand more Twitter followers than Jean Stothert. In 140 characters or less, why should Omahans re-elect you?
We are financially sound. Flood disaster prevented. Low unemployment and we were the #1 city to weather the recession. Omaha is working.
You introduced a smartphone app that allows people to report potholes in Omaha. If you invented this in the private sector, wouldn't you be worth billions by now?
I am proud of the smart app. It's a great example of how my administration has embraced new technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce the red tape between citizens and their government. Worth billions? I am not sure about that, but I am happy with the savings it provides our city.
Your campaign asserts that Jean Stothert has been vague on how she can afford her pledged tax cuts. If you had to give the Stothert tax plan a name, what would you call it?
Well, I like what University of Nebraska at Omaha professor Kenneth Kriz said in your paper: “Magic Math.” We could call it the Magic Tax. However, if she does have access to magic, let's hope she keeps it to herself.
There is a street named after your predecessor, Mike Fahey. What would you like to see named for you someday?
I don't see my legacy in terms of buildings, or statues, but in the real economic progress that we will be able to make in the next four years. Bringing light industrial and warehousing to 16th and Locust, and then on to 27th and Martha, along with other major developments, including Crossroads, UNMC cancer center and the Civic Center, will begin the process of infilling the city so our transportation plan and our services are being delivered more efficiently. I see that process as my legacy; if you put my name on that, I'd be happy.
By my unofficial count, there were approximately 879 mayoral forums during the primary. Why so many?
It's hard to turn down free cookies and watered-down Hi-C.
As a Democratic Party politician in Nebraska who still has a job, you're eligible for the endangered species list. Why is that, and how can Nebraska Democrats turn it around?
It's a jungle out there. We may have to consult the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium to keep the breed alive.
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