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The Public Pulse: Omaha police union is out of line; Mayoral election

The Public Pulse: Omaha police union is out of line; Mayoral election

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A flyer from the Omaha police union describing City Council candidate Cammy Watkins as a danger to public safety has provoked outrage among some on social media and a fracture in her opponent's campaign.

Police union out of line

Does the Omaha police union really believe that if Cammy Watkins is elected to serve on the Omaha City Council that there will be “No Police. No Protection. No Peace” and that no one will be safe in the great city of Omaha? Just a tad inflammatory, don’t you think?

This Chicken Little attitude that the police union is suggesting should not be tolerated by the fine citizens of Omaha.

Michael Connor, Omaha

ORBT failure

As we approach the six-month date from the initial launch of ORBT service in Omaha, I cannot help but wonder what the true cost of this debacle really is. A $37 million investment has resulted in empty buses traveling the Dodge Street corridor day after day. Rarely is there even one passenger on the buses I see. If they didn’t stop at the empty bus shelters, whether they had passengers or not, they would literally be running in a pack up and down Dodge Street.

At the Westroads Mall you will frequently see one bus leaving the mall area and one pulling in at the same time. The service is free and still nobody rides the bus.

I believe in the importance of public transportation, but at what cost, and if there is no ridership, is this really necessary? How long are the taxpayers expected to support a service nobody is interested in even when it is free to use?

Karen Wells, Omaha

Eight years is enough

Sometime in the 1980s, Hal Daub, when campaigning against Brenda Council for mayor, stated that the Omaha Police Department is a paramilitary organization, that community policing is turning police officers into social workers. Today, the Omaha police pension is underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. The citizens of Omaha believe that their property taxes are oppressively excessive.

The current mayor has touted the fact that she has lowered property taxes, although it is a minuscule amount. She has also, however, touted the fact that she helped pass a multi-hundred-million-dollar bond issue to repair streets in Omaha. She has been a master of passing the buck in increasing the debts to be paid by our children and grandchildren.

Consider the power our military — the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines — would have if they had unions that could endorse a specific candidate for president or any elected office. That is akin to what has transpired in Omaha for the last several decades. If you are fed up with high property taxes with diminishing results, let’s consider term limits for the mayor — let’s say, eight years.

Also, how about determining an approach to prevent the police as well as firefighters from endorsing mayoral candidates. If you want more bang for your tax buck, vote against any candidate endorsed by the Omaha police or fire unions.

Chuck Kilgore, Omaha

Roads improving

During the recent debates, RJ Neary has been critical of Mayor Jean Stothert’s $200 million bond issue to fix our roads. The voters passed it overwhelmingly last year and as a result there are 59 significant improvement and reconstruction projects underway right now. (One example is 120th Street north of West Maple that I drive by every day.)

Neary has said he voted for the bond issue. I guess he was for it before he was against it.

Zach Herr, Omaha

Support Stothert

In each of eight years of budget proposals to the Omaha City Council, Mayor Jean Stothert has allocated more money for street maintenance and updates than previous administrations. So why is she continually being faulted for over 50 years of neglect? What have been former mayors’ contributions to this issue? What did they do with our wheel tax dollars? Where were they spent? Where do we see results? Were the streets of Omaha paved in gold and silver prior to Stothert’s election? Gene Leahy had a mall named after him. What was his legacy in regard to streets? Mike Fahey has a street named after him. What did he bring to the table as a solution to this problem?

Blame Jean Stothert? You’re all talking through a dead phone.

Charlie Aliano, Omaha

Support Melton

This opinion addresses the Omaha World-Herald’s choice for District 7 in the City Council race. The paper supports Sara Kohen, whom you describe as having a focus on practical problem-solving as an important asset. You do not mention any problems that she ever solved, though.

You also indicate her ability to explain well the need for constructive relationships in Omaha policymaking. That is a gloss statement that says nothing about her. You mention that Amy Melton can be political. I assume the Omaha World-Herald believes itself to be above politics and that is why we are being told who to vote for in this election.

It is my understanding that Aimee Melton is endorsed by Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and Nebraskans Embracing Life, Mayor Jean Stothert, U.S. Congressman Don Bacon, Douglas County Board Member Mike Friend and the Omaha Police Officers Association.

With that level of backing and support, it looks like your attempt to indicate she is a contrarian and weak in developing community spirit is very subjective, and you could use some training in objectivity of your own.

Gary Venhaus, Omaha

Omaha streets

I have to say I have lived in Omaha for some 50-plus years. I feel our current mayor is doing a fine job! I agree with everyone who complains about the bad streets — part of that problem is our weather (can’t do much about that) and I hope the other is lack of funds! Maybe we all should be paying more taxes to keep our streets like we want, minus holes, cracks, etc. I vote for more money to go to street repair!

Katherine E. McConnell, Omaha

Not buying it

I was discussing the upcoming mayor’s race with a few friends when I heard this story: A well-known dog food company saw its sales fall precipitously. Alarmed, the CEO called an emergency meeting of its board of directors. “We have the best dog food product. We have the best sales team ... and the best distribution network. Why is our dog food not selling?” After several uneasy seconds of silence, a voice from the back of the room said, “Dogs don’t like it.”

That sums up for me the state of RJ Neary’s campaign. We just don’t buy what he is trying to sell us.

Lena Makui, Omaha

Conagra connection

I take it Janice Mohs hasn’t been downtown for quite some time (Pulse, May 4). Contrary to her claim, Conagra has not abandoned Omaha. They retain substantial operations here with hundreds of well-compensated employees. While the CEO and top aides decamped for Chicago (so he could be closer to his home), the company’s presence downtown remains robust. Might I suggest Ms. Mohs not rely on research from the RJ Neary campaign when attacking Mayor Stothert?

Bryce Johnson, Omaha

Time for change

I heard there is a possibility of a Convention of States and that the Nebraska Legislature voted against a resolution supporting it. We need term limits for U.S. senators and U.S. House members. We need to establish a nine-seat Supreme Court with a maximum age limit before Democrats pack the courts and Democrats and Republicans go nuts and keep adding seats to one up each other, each time the control of the House and the Senate changes. Also, we need to balance the federal budget by passing an amendment to make it mandatory.

All of these things can be passed by amendments established by the Convention of States with a vote of 38 states approving. This would be something that people of the state Nebraska would have wanted to know about. Congress is never going to pass term limits. That would be cutting their throats, because they don’t to lose the possibility of lifetime jobs. If term limits are good for Nebraska, it can be good for the USA. If states can have balanced budgets, why not the federal government? And why can’t we have the Supreme Vourt be stabilized so that it doesn’t become a political football?

The possibility of a Convention of States might let the federal government know that the citizens of this country demand that we be heard and that we want positive change.

Mike Dworak, Omaha

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