Costs of all these projects are piling up
So what’s an $11.6 million cost increase for a hockey rink?
I think I understand why the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s coaches, athletic administrators and “academic” administrators, the construction companies, the real estate speculators, the bankers who will peddle the bonds, the University of Nebraska regents and the crème de la crème of Nebraska society want to build a new palace for the benefit of themselves and a few athletes.
I guess the revised $88 million that the regents will spend on the new hockey rink isn’t very much when you compare it to the costs incurred for Werner Park, the Ralston Lingerie Football Palace, CenturyLink Center, Pinnacle Bank Arena, TD Ameritrade Park, Kearney’s Archwaste Mausoleum and the Memorial Stadium expansion.
What I wonder is: How much more “good government” can the rest of us 1.8 million Nebraskans afford?
Rob Bligh, Omaha
Find tax balance Tiemann envisioned
The whole idea of going to the income tax and sales tax way back when Norbert Tiemann was governor was to get away from relying on the property tax. And a certain percentage of the income tax was to go toward school funding.
But since then, the state has refused to live up to the amount that was supposed to have been for property tax relief. This is because of political pressure from certain elements who to this day are trying to get their share of the income tax reduced.
The formula that was put in place has never been allowed to work the way it was supposed to. Now we are back to the point where property taxes are paying for most if not all of the cost of schools. And as property values increase, who pays the taxes for schools? The big payers are the farmers. Even now, the present administration wanted to cut the income tax on the big boys and shift it to the sales tax, which would hit the property owner even harder.
Everybody has to pay, and it has to be fair for everybody — not just certain elements that have the political clout to get their way, big business included. We must quit giving away the store to get industries to come to Nebraska while the state’s agricultural industry gets taxed beyond what is reasonable.
James Hartmann, Seward, Neb.
Start school-funding debate with the goal
A Sept. 8 World-Herald editorial argues that the Nebraska Legislature should frame its policy for K-12 funding around limited resources. I suggest the conversation should begin with what it would take to provide all Nebraska children with skills to be competitive in this 21st-century global economy and then creatively define the funding mechanism.
Are we satisfied if our Nebraska schools lack resources to help students reach their full potential? No! Should we expect less than excellence from our students? No! Nor should we expect less than excellence from our legislators. Our Nebraska Constitution requires the Legislature to “fully fund” K-12 education.
Our future requires that we define and provide the curriculum that will allow all students to reach their full potential. It’s our moral underpinning. What is “achievable” is limited only by our moral character, not inflation.
Dan L. Flanagan, Papillion
Don’t do away with the ‘big stick’
Although Stan Tuckson makes an important point about the perilous nature of war and diplomacy (Sept. 14 Pulse), the implication that the United States made a miscalculation regarding peace in 1938 is misguided. That distinction goes to Great Britain.
With respect to Syria, the more appropriate lesson of history should be drawn from President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
By retreating to America’s historic bent toward isolationism (our flawed policy in 1938), the public and members of both parties in Congress essentially took the “stick” out of the president’s hand by not supporting the authorization for targeted military strikes against Syria.
Effective diplomacy does not work in a threat-free environment, as evidenced by efforts to stop Iran’s march toward a viable nuclear weapons capability.
As an instrument of national power, the military option should always be available, no matter which political party is in the White House. Its mere threat gave rise to the Russian proposal (and Syria’s agreement) to put these chemical weapons under international control.
The future holds the key to the ultimate outcome, but the military option proved its effectiveness in this case.
Augustus O. Wills, Bellevue
Obama played a shrewd bluff on Syria
I think Obama is far smarter than many think. I believe the attack threat was always a bluff, but he had to make it appear real enough for Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin to take it seriously.
The political drawbacks were risking that Obama-bashers would accuse him of hypocrisy and that the peaceniks would be stirred up. Also, the chicken hawks would whine about not nuking Syria to the Stone Age. And Obama would be accused of indecision by the do-something-right-now-even-if-it’s-wrong critics while he waited for Assad to blink.
To make the bluff work, Obama had to play the avenger part but not arouse so much protest that Assad and Putin would believe he would not risk going against his own people. This is a touchy game Obama is playing, but it appears to be working. Assad is being pressured to give up his weapons, which would never have happened without the bluff.
It’s hilarious how Obama-bashers are fawning all over the bigoted ex-KGB communist, Putin, and the despot, Assad, as a way to attack Obama. In their delusional Orwellian bubble, it appears war is peace, black is white and the village-idiot bully is a genius.
David W. McCord, Omaha
Syria reminiscent of Vietnam quagmire
The word “quagmire” comes to mind as I read about this Syrian crisis.
Apparently Lyndon Johnson hadn’t heard of a besieged French fort called Dien Bien Phu and the calamitous fate that befell a large relief column of armor and troops sent to try to help lift the siege.
It was all over for the French by May 1954 — a quagmire later known as Vietnam.
Wally Polak, Bellevue
Rodeo barbarism far from family fun
Here is how the rodeo is billed: celebration, entertainment, family fun. How do these words describe frightening and bullying helpless animals? Talk about a fixed fight! Why would anyone want to witness such barbarism, let alone take their children and tell them that this is fun?
Ak-Sar-Ben should be ashamed. This is our heritage?
Nancy Meyers, Omaha
It’s unfair to send e-smokers outdoors
Part of the reason I started using e-cigarettes — and it is probably the reason they were made — is that so many places were banning smoking. Our freedom as smokers was being taken away.
I know all about secondhand smoke, but the ban of whole places is not fair. Set up at least one area for smokers.
The places are even banning e-cigs! What harm are e-cigs doing to anyone? Why are these places banning e-cigs? I’d like an answer.
Neena Kraemer-Solberg, Omaha
Garden grew like crazy with Oma-Gro
Accolades to Oma-Gro, Omaha’s recycled yard waste. We used it in our garden this year.
Our garden was unbelievable. The peppers and tomatoes were loaded. I picked 14 ripe tomatoes from one plant. My granddaughter counted 49 left on that same plant!
I am 86, and this is the most fun garden I have ever had. Thank you, Oma-Gro.
Dorothy Jean Dorsey, Omaha
At stoplights, count to 10 — then repeat
I didn’t think it was possible for so many east-west streets in Omaha to be under construction at the same time. “Congratulations” to the Roads Department. We should all count to 10 over and over while we wait through five stoplights to get through an intersection.
Sue Wedige, La Vista
Standing Bear: An inspiring Omaha story
A friend gave me the book “I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice,” by Joe Starita. It is the story of Standing Bear fulfilling his dying son’s request to be buried in the Poncas’ ancestral home.
In the winter of 1878, with the body of his son in a buckboard, Standing Bear and a group of Poncas left the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) and went north to where the Niobrara River meets the Missouri. Within miles of their destination, they were arrested for leaving the Indian Territory. The government ordered the Poncas back south. What happened next is inspiring to all who call Omaha home.
The leading government official in the region, Gen. George Crook, the man responsible for holding Standing Bear at Fort Omaha, knew that what he was being ordered to do was wrong. He quietly went to the press in hopes of getting the Poncas’ story told.
Inspired by the passionate work of an editor for the Omaha Daily Herald, the lead attorney for Union Pacific went to work. Supported by the citizens of Omaha, including the prominent religious leader of the area, Bishop Robert Clarkson, Standing Bear sued the federal government. And on May 12, 1879, from the federal courthouse in downtown Omaha, Judge Elmer Dundy ruled in favor or Standing Bear, concluding that “an Indian is a person.”
As a lifelong Omahan, I read the story with pride — and a bit of embarrassment for not knowing about it. I suggest all with an interest take the time to learn the details. And for those who today are working hard on a cause, there are great lessons in what can happen when seemingly diverse groups work together toward a common good.
Dan Mulhall, Omaha