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The Public Pulse: Police union flyer was accurate; Legislature failed these families

The Public Pulse: Police union flyer was accurate; Legislature failed these families

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The Nebraska State Capitol.

Flyer was correct

The May 26 editorial regarding police and protestors requires a response.

Most urgently and egregiously, this newspaper continues to assert that an Omaha Police Officers Association (OPOA) political flyer opposing city council candidate Cammy Watkins for her publicly-held position on defunding police was both “inflammatory and false.”

At a community forum last year, Ms. Watkins was asked directly if she supported defunding the police. She gave a thumbs up. These are facts, disputed by none, that provided the basis for the flyer.

In a World-Herald story on the flyer, Ms. Watkins was given another public opportunity to clarify her position. She refused to say she opposed defunding police. Instead, Ms. Watkins suggested “there is so much nuance” to the issue and that she was “open to a broader conversation about what makes a community safe.”

There are simply no words nor actions nor evidence from Ms. Watkins to suggest that the OPOA incorrectly stated her position in support of defunding the police. The World-Herald should stop editorializing that our flyer attributing this position to Ms. Watkins was false.

Additionally, in every city where elected leaders have voted to defund police, homicides and violent crime rates have risen sharply. These are very specific and factual consequences to the policy position held by Ms. Watkins, and the flyer’s purpose was to inform voters of those consequences.

The reality is that inflammatory rhetoric has become the standard to raise awareness in political campaigns, whether the World-Herald chooses to acknowledge that or not. Regardless, it is dangerously inappropriate for those who disagree with the political speech of the OPOA to criminally trespass on private property with severed pig heads and messages of harm to our members.

It is my responsibility as the president of this association, and as a black man who understands that violent crime disproportionately affects black and brown communities, to speak out on issues that affect public safety. As the largest law enforcement organization in Nebraska, the OPOA has a responsibility to vigorously oppose candidates who seek to defund the police. Our membership cannot afford nuance on this issue.

Sgt. Anthony L. Conner, Omaha


Omaha Police Officers' Association

Legislature's mistake

I am forever tied to Nebraska. My entire extended family is from northeast Nebraska. My parents still live there. I went to college at Wayne State. My husband and I have both worked and paid income taxes in Nebraska for 12 years. But our daughter can’t live in Nebraska.

She has Down syndrome, which means she needs extensive medical services and therapeutic interventions. If we moved to Nebraska, she would lose access to Medicaid and her home and community-based services while she sat on the developmental disabilities waitlist for 7-10 years. Being able to access Medicaid means we don’t have to choose between speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Can you imagine having to ration care and make the choice between your child learning to talk or walk?

The legislation at the Nebraska Legislature for the family support waiver, LB 376, would have provided another tool to address the 7- to 10-year waitlist for individuals with developmental disabilities in Nebraska. Families would have had access to Medicaid and a small budget to pay for respite, specialized child care, and home and vehicle modifications necessary for their children. But the Nebraska Unicameral killed the bill last week. Families were referred to as millionaires taking advantage of the state. Not true. They are parents who are trying to provide for their children and hoping it doesn’t cost them their homes, marriages and ability to work or cause them to flee to another state that provides better access to services.

I guess the state tourism motto is right: “Nebraska, it’s not for everyone.”

Rhonda Haitz, Council Bluffs

Safety on the trail 

While I appreciate the World-Herald editorial entitled “Simple Steps Can Help On The Trail” identifying several courtesies that make trail use more pleasant and safe, I feel there is one tip missing. I regularly bike our trail system and enjoy seeing people out getting exercise. I always announce that I am passing to alert trail users of my approach. In recent years, many walkers are using ear buds or head phones either listening to music or talking on the phone. As a result, they do not hear my announcement.

Please, either leave one ear open or keep the volume down. It is also considered common courtesy to indicate you have heard the announcement by a slight wave or flick of the wrist. Thanks.

Jim Healy, Omaha

Danger on the road

Not long ago, our misguided governor helped kill a bill that would have legalized regulated medical marijuana because it would, in his misguided mind, "kill our children."

But now he has signed a law legalizing "take out alcoholic drinks" at bars. He probably doesn't comprehend any negative consequences from people leaving bars and getting in their cars with drinks in their hands. Amazing!

I guess the liquor lobby has more money that the parents of sick children lobby.

Gery Whalen, Omaha

Peace of mind 

Kindness, caring, compassionate, welcomed.

These words describe every single employee at The Heritage at Fox Run in Council Bluffs. Having to move my beautiful 80-year-old mother out of her Wisconsin home of 62 years due to early onset dementia, we found the most beautiful place closer to us for her to call "Home."

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for making my Mom feel so special and welcomed.

We are so grateful to have found you.

Ron and Peggy Sarno, Glenwood, Iowa

They're professionals

In the April 26 issue of the OWH, in the article regarding what the Legislature is doing in regards to police reform, Senator Lathrop stated "We are going to professionalize the law enforcement officer and the agencies they work for". As a retired officer of 35 years, I am insulted that he apparently decided that those who are in the profession or have been are not professional nor their agencies. I have always considered myself to be so as well as the agency I worked for. There will always be bad apples, who are usually weeded out, but please, Sen. Lathrop, do not insult the ones who have held their professional standards high.

Steven A. Miller, Bellevue

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