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The Public Pulse: Path to racial progress; property tax relief; Bill Gates and steak

The Public Pulse: Path to racial progress; property tax relief; Bill Gates and steak

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Understanding needed

After reading several opinions regarding Creighton’s Coach McDermott’s faux pas regarding words he choose to use, I feel that I must respond. I am “hypersensitive” to derogatory words/remarks and/or depictions that inflame/terrify; inflamed/terrified by symbols of past and racist acts; and having my rights to vote in jeopardy. Per these opinion conversationists, I am at fault for not understanding their feelings. When people can look at “the individual” and not just “the words,” like so many writers stated, and until people can be empathetic to others, there cannot be any healing or unity.

Josephine Glass, Omaha

Problem avoided

On March 17, 2020, I transitioned from working in an office with more than 400 people to working at home due to COVID-19. We were told the move was temporary, but things went so smoothly the move was made permanent in June.

There are many reasons why I prefer to work from home. The savings on gas and wear and tear on my car to commute five days a week on the sometimes not so great Omaha roads. Being able to work in sweats and shorts, and the health reasons of not being exposed to a large room full of people, many of whom are sick with colds or flu, not to mention COVID, and the extra sleep I get that would have been used commuting.

However, the main reason I prefer working from home is I no longer have to worry that I may inadvertently say or do something that offends someone, who would then run to report the indiscretion to a supervisor, putting my job at risk. With more than 400 people in a relatively small space, the odds are good for offending someone eventually, as it is very easy to do these days. Too many people are just looking to take exception to something someone else says.

What Coach McDermott said was indeed wrong, but he realized it immediately. It should have been dealt with internally between the coach and his players and assistants. Nothing was accomplished by making a media circus of the event. Unfortunately, Coach McDermott cannot work from home.

I actually do my job better and more efficiently from home without the added pressure of watching every word as say while performing my duties or on break.

Jeff Miller, Omaha

Path to progress

I totally agree with Cynthia Ramirez Lindenmeyer’s comments on racism in Omaha (March 7 Pulse). Our town, like most others, has issues that we are still dealing with after decades and centuries of discrimination, prejudice and hatred. However, I believe it is unfair to single out any institution or school such as Creighton University and Creighton Prep. This problem is everywhere.

I can only imagine Cynthia is making inaccurate and uninformed assumptions about these schools, and the “bubble” they are in. If she had looked closer into Creighton Prep’s curriculum, she would have known “24th & Glory,” a book about civil rights and black athletes in Omaha, was required reading by all students this past summer. In addition, students study other racial perspectives from literature by minority authors such as Sandra Cisneros and Gene Luen Yang, to name a few. I have no knowledge on how other schools address racism or integrate the topic into their curriculum, so I will not make any assumptions.

I can also say that while a student at Creighton Prep, I never experienced any kind of racial or derogatory slur or comment directed towards me because of my Mexican heritage. Unfortunately, that was not the case while I was attending public school in elementary and junior high. The point being is that racism needs to be addressed at every school, business and other organizations. No one should be making assumptions about any institution or group of people, and we all need to educate ourselves in order to make progress.

Chad Diaz, Papillion

Long way to go

This is in response to the March 10 Pulse letter submitted by Andrew Sullivan. Like Mr. Sullivan, I admit there are times I feel there has been cultural overreach regarding the renaming or removal of certain public memorials. I also agree it’s common understanding that Coach McDermott is not God but is a good man and subject to human failure as we all are. I know he regrets using the word “plantation”; he has paid a just price and his coaching career should proceed forward.

But when Mr. Sullivan says he is confident the majority of Omaha knows that a person who is upset over the use of the word “plantation” probably has too much time on their hands, is humorous and friendless, I am shocked that he wouldn’t realize he is validating the very reason for the outrage over the incident. These are words spoken by someone in the majority, who has little concept of racial injustice past and present, and that is mostly due to sheer ignorance.

Although it has been encouraging to see opinion pieces from people who took the time to research the offending word and were starkly enlightened by what they discovered, these particular words of Mr. Sullivan demonstrate we have a long way to go to right a wrong.

Leo Miltner, Omaha

Final straw?

Question: What would Greg McDermott have to do to lose his job?

Tim Gross, Blair, Neb.

They need this help

I’m greatly saddened our Nebraska congressmen and senators in Washington never supported passage of the COVID-19 relief bill. It will raise 13 million Americans out of poverty and cut child poverty in half in this country.

It cost exactly the same amount of money as the tax bill they did support with then-President Trump four years ago which doubled the wealth of billionaires such as Bill Gates and lowered the tax rate to zero for Amazon.

There are families and children in poverty in Nebraska that I think they abandoned and which the Democrats have embraced, including working-class voters.

These days government is helping citizens in need and solving existential problems. Please, Republicans, start helping to solve these big problems with affirmative actions.

James Larson, Omaha

Property tax relief

Residents in both Iowa and Nebraska are demanding relief from high property taxes. Policymakers in both states should look to Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation law as a policy solution. Since 1985, Utah’s law has been controlling the growth of property taxes and providing transparency and accountability.

Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation law is considered one of the most taxpayer-friendly property tax laws. The Truth-in-Taxation law is a revenue-based limitation, which means as valuations increase, property tax rates decrease. The law guarantees that each taxing entity receives the same property tax revenues as the previous year, including new growth. This prevents local governments from getting a windfall because valuations have increased.

If a local government wants to exceed the certified tax rate, it then requires a Truth-in-Taxation hearing that is accompanied by an extensive public notification and hearing process. Truth-in-Taxation also forces local government officials to take recorded votes to approve an increase in tax collections.

Through the Truth-in-Taxation process, local governments must justify additional spending, forcing them to be more transparent. A crucial aspect of Utah’s law is a direct notification requirement, where notices are sent to taxpayers, providing information on the proposed tax increase. It also includes the date, time and location of the Truth-in-Taxation budget hearing. This extensive public notification and hearing process has been successful, and taxpayers in Utah actively participate in Truth-in-Taxation hearings.

Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation is the gold standard model for any property tax reform.

John Hendrickson, West Des Moines, Iowa

policy director, Tax Education Foundation of Iowa

Great additions

Thanks much, Papio Natural Resource District and/or the Omaha Parks Department, for installing the floating walkway/ bridge on the upper end of Standing Bear Lake in northwest Omaha. What a great idea, as now one can hike or bike around the lake without walking on the shoulder of busy 144th Street. I enjoyed my walk very much, but some additional benches along the trail would be nice. My bucket list also includes additional fishing piers, and lots of big fish. That’s it. Have a good day, unless you have other plans.

Warren Mellema, Omaha

Kindness appreciated

Many thanks to the nice fellow who filled my tank at Bucky’s on Dodge Wednesday afternoon. This was a kindness that I intend to pay forward.

Dan M. Sullivan, Omaha

Slippery slope

The current cancel culture being done by the left and supported by Democrats is no different than what Mao, Stalin and Hitler did by restricting their people of what they can think, say or read. Canceling cartoon characters and anyone who disagrees with you is a slippery slope we are on.

Scott Bray, La Vista

Time for steak

In regard to the article in Sunday’s World Herald about Bill Gates and his war against beef, I recall dining at Piccolo’s Steak House in South Omaha a few years ago with my ex-wife. On the way to the restrooms in the rear of the restaurant I encountered Warren Buffett and Bill Gates having dinner at this steakhouse. In the words of Shakespeare my only response is “Et tu, Bill Gates?”

Don Rhoden, Plattsmouth, Neb.

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