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The Public Pulse: Don't stereotype landlords; Flawed state bid process; Teacher standards

The Public Pulse: Don't stereotype landlords; Flawed state bid process; Teacher standards

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Responsible landlords

In response to the Oct. 10 Pulse letter from Andy Vuorela, I and most of the landlords that I associate with have done the best we can to help our tenants through the last year and a half during COVID. We have forgiven late fees, reduced rents, gone month after month with no rent from some of our tenants who are struggling.

With some tenants not paying rent and government assistance coming slow and sometimes not at all, we still are expected to pay the mortgage payment, insurance, property tax and maintenance. The rent I collect is also my source of income so I can pay my own mortgage payment. If the rent doesn’t come for any reason, I can’t make the mortgage payment on the rental property. The bank will foreclose on the property and the bank will evict the tenant.

With the rent being my income to live on I also would not be able to make my own mortgage payment and the bank will foreclose on my home and I, the landlord, will be homeless. Will you represent me at no cost when the bank evicts me?

The last thing any landlord wants to do is evict a tenant. They are our customers, and we want to take care of them and hope they will stay for years.

Rick McDonald, Omaha

Flawed bid process

The Oct. 9 OWH article about the St. Francis child welfare contract stated ”St. Francis officials did not know ... about the Nebraska law setting minimum case load standards.” Really? The Nebraska child welfare RFP (Number 5995 Z1) is online at the DHHS website.

In Attachment 2, Operation Manual is a section titled “Caseload Ratio Requirements.” That section contains only one sentence! It states staffing should comply with state statutes. Specifically, Neb. Rev. Stat. §68-1207. Nothing else, not even a summary of the key requirements in the statute.

While this does possibly contradict St. Francis officials’ claim they did not know about the law, at the same time it seems to me HHS should not assume that potential bidders will wade through Nebraska statutes to determine critical requirements. At least St. Francis has now admitted they proposed a hasty and inaccurate bid.

HHS should admit to a poorly written RFP that did not clearly document the core caseload staffing and in-house service requirements that drive the cost of the services requested.

Also, cost was 25% of the scoring for the RFP evaluation. If the cost score was so dramatically better that it outweighed St. Francis being outscored by PromiseShip on all remaining criteria, isn’t that a clue the bid cost was unreasonable?

The legislative committee has focused on who decided to sign the contract. Hopefully, they will carefully assess and correct the state procurement process from beginning to end to ensure future RFPs/contracts serve Nebraska taxpayers and residents better than this one.

Bob Stein, Omaha

Teacher standards

I have to disagree with just about every point in Michael Gendler’s Oct. 8 letter to the Public Pulse. He says that race should not be a factor in hiring of teachers and that we should hire “elite” candidates for open teaching positions. That way, in his words, “teaching will come to be seen as a real profession with higher pay.”

To Mr. Gendler, I would like to say, teaching already is a real profession. The reason educators are chronically underpaid is because our society does not value the labor of women nor the caretaking of children. Is Mr. Gendler aware of the national teacher shortage? There is ample data from the Nebraska Department of Education documenting teacher shortages and vacant positions in nearly every subject area in every corner of this state. Mr. Gendler’s suggestion of additional hoops to jump through to become a teacher would only exacerbate the existing problem.

As for hiring on the basis of race, I’m not sure that Mr. Gendler knows that in their hiring practices, public institutions in Nebraska already do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy) and other considerations.

His calls for “elite” candidates, then, read to me as a call to keep the powerful in power, and in power when it comes to the education of humanity’s future generations. I believe our educators should be community members, reflective of the communities in which they teach, having reached their position as educators through multiple avenues of rigorous training and study. I say this as someone who has worked through the pandemic as an elementary paraprofessional in the great Omaha Public Schools.

Katie Foster, Omaha

Grassley has sold out

Add Iowa Sen. Grassley to the long list of members of Congress who publicly criticized the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and later jettisoned their ethics in response to political pressure.

It has become routine for the Republican leadership to blithely sacrifice conscience out of fear of a Trump reprisal. The lengths Sen. Grassley went for a Trump endorsement are particularly galling. Grassley, who in the past has championed whistleblowers and moral causes, defended Trump by saying his multiple threats to fire Justice Department officials and replace them with people who would do his bidding to stop the election certification was somehow acceptable. It was not. It was another of Trump’s several attempts to overthrow the government.

Trump is now encouraging his former political associates to ignore Jan. 6 commission subpoenas. It’s obvious Trump will try anything to keep his big lie animated.

It is truly disappointing to see Sen. Grassley’s involvement in this dangerous threat to our democracy.

Leo Miltner, Omaha

Hooray for Huskers

Without a doubt Nebraska football has talent, lot of talent. When an unranked team can go into the fourth quarter leading No. 9 Michigan, that speaks volumes.

No. 9 Michigan was predicated to beat unranked Nebraska by a measly three points, and that’s exactly what happened. Way to go, Big Red?

Sr. Mary Hlas, Omaha

Dubious status

I think all Nebraska football fans agree:

Nebraska is the “best” losing football team in the country. Not a distinction to be proud of.

Natan Schwalb, Omaha

He’s delivering

Why is everyone upset with President Biden? He promised a rising economy and he has delivered. We have rising gas prices, food prices, inflation, increased illegal immigration, crime and debt. and he’s not done yet. Recently proposed policies will increase spending, taxes and IRS involvement in our lives. Thanks, Joe!

Ron Cronkhite, Omaha

Question for senator

This question is directed at State Sen. Robert Clements from Elmwood, Neb.:

If the proven voting system in the USA has become so corrupt, how is it that you’re in office?

Thomas Anderson, Fremont, Neb.

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