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The Public Pulse: Casinos' harm; Sasse is a disappointment; 'Law and order' in Omaha

The Public Pulse: Casinos' harm; Sasse is a disappointment; 'Law and order' in Omaha

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Casinos would harm Nebraskans

Sometimes one needs to “call a spade, a spade.” Casino gambling is a dirty business. It is one business that some states approve of, and thus are complicit in, an activity that preys upon its citizens.

It can hardly be considered gambling in that the random act of betting does not give one an equitable chance of winning. In the case of slot machines, the one placing a bet has a less than 50% chance of winning, and the odds of winning are controlled not by chance but by the intricacies of an electronic device programed to maximize a player’s expectation of winning. This is all obvious stuff, but somehow some states have allowed the gaming industry to distort their sense of decency toward their citizens.

Now comes The World-Herald editorial that casinos ought to come to Nebraska, and this is in order that we can take 14% of gamblers’ losses for property tax relief. The editors exhibit a very shallow understanding of the commercial gambling issue, in that the discussion is totally about the proceeds, the revenue generated. For every credit there is a debit, and all this revenue that is generated is on the backs of those people who are vulnerable to being deluded into bringing their hard-earned money in hopes of hitting the big win.

Bringing casino gambling to this side of the river will not solve problems, but add to the number of people affected by loss of financial security — distress in families, child abuse, spouse abuse, bankruptcy, suicide.

Have we not a heart to see the wretchedness of taking advantage of people who are susceptible to gambling — just to pay a small part of our property tax?

Glen Andersen, Blair

Oct. 28 deadline for election letters

Editor’s note: The deadline this year for The World-Herald to receive election-related letters is Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Whistleblower saved animals

Kudos to Rick Herchenbach, Nebraska Department of Agriculture employee and whistleblower, for speaking up on behalf of the dogs and cats that he found to be in “deplorable” conditions in at least two different Nebraska breeding facilities (“State faulted for oversight of dog and cat breeders,” Oct. 15). My husband and I fostered dogs that were rescued from inhumane puppy mill facilities, and we saw firsthand the cruelty and neglect that resulted from such places.

Mr. Herchenbach had everything to lose — including his job — for taking a stand and reporting his findings of the “horrors” to the State Ombudsman Office. It is clear that those breeders put profit before the care of their neglected animals and caused them unnecessary suffering. For that, there can be no excuse. And shame on the Department of Agriculture employees for not stepping up and doing their job. Shame!

Jeanine Trofholz, Columbus, Neb.

Sasse has failed at his real duties

Ben Sasse has not accomplished anything of note in six years as a senator. His job isn’t to “speak his mind,” write books or be a “public figure” — his job is to be part of the legislative branch of Congress.

He’s not authored any meaningful legislation that has passed, nor fought alongside someone to get something passed, even as he has been in the Senate majority his entire career. (Remember how he campaigned in 2014 on all his great ideas for health care reform? What happened to those?)

His vote, both in committee and on the floor, has been, and will continue to be, a generic GOP vote. According to the Georgetown Luger Index, which the OWH cited in its endorsement of Don Bacon, Sasse is among the most partisan members of Congress. If the Senate swings to Democratic control, Sasse will be a total nonentity, as he has spent six years writing books and taking shots at NBA players and Democratic colleagues instead of building political capital across the aisle and showing himself to be a serious politician. Endorsing Sasse after six wasted years only encourages his past behavior, and Nebraska will miss out on having a seat at the table for future legislation.

While his reelection isn’t in doubt, that doesn’t mean that you have to endorse him. Let’s hold our elected officials to a higher standard.

Zach Perry, Omaha

New Omaha leadership needed

I was disappointed to learn that the October Town Hall series with Mayor Stothert has been canceled because of the risk of exposure to COVID-19. I was looking forward to asking the mayor at this meeting if she still considers herself a “law and order” mayor.

At these meetings the mayor usually has the Omaha chief of police standing next to her in full dress uniform to answer questions or maybe just to be intimidating.

I wanted to ask Mayor Stothert if she regretted her police force corralling those peaceful protesters on the Farnam Street bridge and keeping them overnight in the Douglas County Jail. Not surprisingly, these actions by the Omaha Police Department resulted in a federal lawsuit against the city, which Omaha will surely lose.

Then Stothert announced she is running for a third term on this “law and order” message. Considering the controversies surrounding OPD this summer, I thought maybe the mayor would change her stale message.

But no, the song remains the same. It’s time to look elsewhere for new leadership for my hometown of Omaha.

Ricky Fulton, Omaha

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