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The Public Pulse: Thibodeau is the adult in the room; No mow May; Ricketts' pet projects

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Campaign clown show

When will the final curtain drop on the horrid gubernatorial vaudeville act performed by Brett Lindstrom, Jim Pillen and Charles Herbster? The only thing that seems to stand out — millions of dollars later — is that none of these characters should be the next governor of the state.

This meaningless show featuring sharp objects and shotguns seems to be broadcast every third commercial. The cast of characters (candidates) must confront one crisis after another: Brett being portrayed as a liberal playing a conservative on TV, Jim accused of introducing feces into the water supply, and last but, not least, my favorite character I refer to as “The Herbster,” is facing the time-honored political hit job of being accused of unwanted sexual advances. Plus, there’s a sub plot of being lambasted for being tardy paying his taxes.

There is an alternative candidate that is worth a second look: Theresa Thibodeau. She seems more inclined to discuss the issues and articulate her vision of how she would govern. She appears to have an edge over the others by being able to relate to most of the voters. She hasn’t been surrounded by any scandals either.

Thibodeau comes across as the adult in the room far above the rancor. Her no-nonsense approach of wanting to focus on the citizens of the state instead of bragging about herself or making a feeble attempt at humor is a distinct contrast to the exhaustive campaign clown show presented by the other three.

To Brett, Jim and “The Herbster:” Your commercials are painful to watch and most of your junk mail is dreadful to read. Remember this point fellow voters: The campaign commercials and junk mail provide a glimpse of how these candidates will govern. Keep your minds open.

Daren Schrat, Bellevue

No mow May

Spring is here, birds are chirping, bees are buzzing ... well, maybe not so much. Over the past few decades, bees and other pollinators that we depend on for our food have suffered serious declines. Loss of habitat, increased use of pesticides and herbicides, disease, climate change, etc., have individually and together contributed. With so many factors it seems that there is nothing that we as individuals, especially those of us living in the city and the suburbs can do. But wait, one good and easy thing we can do is to really do nothing (at least for a month or so). That’s right, put away the lawn mowers, rakes and spreaders, put up your feet and support “No Mow May.”

First started in 2019 by the UK conservation Plantlife, it’s gaining traction in many cities across North America. Just leave your lawn untouched during the month of May during that critical stage when pollinators are first emerging and need the early pollen and nectar to begin life.

So, give yourself a break and give the pollinators — the bees, butterflies and others that do so much work to produce much of the food we eat a hand.

Tom Reardon, Council Bluffs

Questions for Ricketts

I have a couple questions: Will the Cloisters on the Platte in Gretna, the Ricketts family’s religious retreat center, directly benefit from the construction of the huge lake between Omaha and Lincoln that will be fed in part by the mega million-dollar canal diverting South Platte River water from Colorado to central Nebraska? Those are Gov. Ricketts’ pet projects in his last year in office. Whose land will be taken by eminent domain, possibly, to complete these projects? Water and land are the big bones of contention in this century and manipulating them for profit or personal satisfaction is just plain wrong. The more food-producing land we drown or pave over, the less food production we have. Nebraskans need to ask more questions and get better answers.

Janet Bonet, Omaha

Crime and violence

I’m a newcomer to Omaha of just one year, but have experienced life over seven decades in many American communities from tiny, rural villages to the Big Apple. The city impresses me with its ambitious future-forward thinking, no doubt fueled by the deeply dedicated business owners who I’ve met in the last year. I worry, though, about the insidious and growing criminal groups that are carving out anchors in its neighborhoods. The news is full of tragic, volatile violence too often and from people too young to throw away their lives. There are layers of exploitation by aggressive individuals that create immediate victims and long-term victims who are the community that begins each day in fear. Omaha’s media carry the sobering stories into our homes and offices throughout the day. We need our leaders and police together, united on a vocal continuous assurance that they have a strong plan to excise the hardened elements and inspire the greater community to focus every day on its personal accomplishments and goals, lift up and put aside negative influencers and step ahead. There is a lot of energy in the areas where crimes are happening repeatedly. That energy can carry those same neighborhoods forward and away from violence.

Roxanne Fritz, Omaha

Who pays?

One question not addressed in the World-Herald article (“Ricketts event opposes conservation effort,” April 21): Who is paying for Gov. Ricketts’ conference to “Stop 30x30?” If my tax dollars are footing the bill for this meeting, I am outraged.

Charles Keene, Bellevue

‘Lie’ question

Why does the former president continue to perpetuate the “big lie?” I can’t help but question something: What if the votes for his presidential win over Hillary Clinton were rigged and/or fraudulent?

Kathy Hoyt, Omaha

Why be rich?

I almost bought a share of Berkshire Hathaway back in 1991. Then I learned a portion of its profits went to Planned Parenthood. Why be rich when your conscience won’t let you sleep at night?

Ed Johnson, Bellevue

Republican choice

On April 9, the executive committee of the Nebraska Republican Party met to decide the nominee for the special election in the first Congressional district. I compliment their decision to nominate Mike Flood, who is a driven conservative voice, will make a difference in Washington and will represent Nebraska well. Flood has helped pass the two largest tax cuts in Nebraska history, the most sweeping abortion ban in the nation, codified the right to carry concealed weapons and consistently helped grow Nebraska’s rural communities.

Having the support of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, the Nebraska Cattlemen PAC, the Nebraska Right to Life, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NRA and a host of political leaders in our state shows the respect Flood has earned and I’m proud to support him in his race for Congress. I look forward to voting for Mike Flood on May 10 in the primary election and on June 28 in the special general election.

Judy Mutzenberger, West Point

Cuming County Republicans,

Cuming County Supervisor

What’s their motivation?

It is difficult to follow the governor’s logic when he cites his reasons to not apply for federal rental assistance (OWH, April 16) and to scale back food stamp assistance (OWH April 18). It sounds as if the governor thinks that if people have assistance to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, they will no longer be motivated to work. Does that same logic apply to individuals who are born into wealthy families, who do not have to be worried about their housing or their food supply to live on every day? Are they no longer motivated to work?

Mary Sullivan, Lincoln

Heartless move

Turning down federal funds for unemployment and food assistance is a heartless move on the part of Gov. Pete Ricketts. In a time of increasing costs of living, there is no other word for it. Families will go hungry and homeless because of this, and with no sensible justification. The money is simply there and ready to take, yet it will not be used to help Nebraskans.

The governor says that there aren’t many people on unemployment anyway, and that he does not want Nebraska families to face a “cliff” when their benefits end. The latter isn’t coherent, all he’s done is bring that cliff forward, removing months that could be critical for paying debts, seeking better employment or reducing expenses. To the former: just because there are less people on unemployment doesn’t mean those individuals need any less help. Whether our unemployed number thousands or only tens, the fact remains that each one of those people will benefit from that assistance. That there are less people in need is no justification at all to deny them help.

Cynthia Pierce, Omaha

Big picture

After many years, there is still resistance to the modern streetcar. Many times it is from residents in west Omaha. I explain that since I live downtown, it doesn’t directly benefit me if we widen a street out west, but it benefits the city. Similarly, when we add a streetcar it helps the city by making our urban core more vibrant for residents, visitors and convention guests. The city will realize more sales tax income because downtown guests will stay longer and move between the Old Market and Blackstone spending money at stops in between. The city will seem more relevant to Nebraska college grads who may decide to stay in Omaha instead of moving away. Our new riverfront parks with the added mobility of a streetcar will make the city a bigger regional vacation destination. Every person in the city needs to see the “big picture” to understand the benefits to the city as a whole.

Alan Rust, Omaha

OWH Public Pulse - March 2022

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Define blighted

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