Thursday, November 13, 2008

When the levy breaks...

Before we get into further analysis, first a Separated at Birth after the Hal Daub for Mayor announcement:

Hal's campaign manager/Guru (and former Mayoral Chief of Staff), Brinker Harding and sprituality Guru, Deepak Chopra.


At Hal Daub's announcement / press conference on Monday, Joe Jordan asked Hal if he was the new "grandfatherly", less-intense Hal Daub, as recently described by Lee Terry.

Hal blushed, thought about it, and gave a self-deprecating response to Jordan. It is definitely a message Daub would like to send to voters who remember a more combative Mayor (who had to endure a more combative City Council).

But later, Jordan asked Daub if he would raise taxes in these tough economic times. Here was the answer Daub gave:

The mill levy was sixty-two and a half cents a hundred, Joe if you remember, when I first had the chance to come on watch here for the citizens of our community.

And we lowered that mill levy to forty-two and a half cents.

It went up the year after I was out of office to I think forty-two and a half to forty-three – there was one tax increase in the last eight years.

Can you imagine what it would be like today if your mill levy was sixty-two and a half cents a hundred? Thirty-three percent higher than it is today? What that would mean to the citizens of our community.

We’ve got police, fire and pension unfunded liabilities, it’s about half a billion dollars all added up. That’s about twenty-eight million dollars a year. Lou is that about right? Twenty-eight years.

That’s, uh… one mill is roughly…two million? Property tax. So you’re looking at fourteen mills of property tax if you just look at that one very serious economic issue facing the next administration.
Yikes! Now THAT's the Hal Daub we remember.

Talking over the heads of the voters. Delving into the minutiae of policy while trying to explain a simple concept.

And that's the task for Guru Brinker Harding --reigning in the responses of his candidate. (Even though everyone knows that Daub's real campaign manager is Hal Daub). Here's how Hal might have / should-have answered that:

"As Mayor I lowered property taxes by over 30%. Even though we have to make priorities in spending, I plan on keeping them low, just like I did before."

Or something to that extent.

But Hal should never utter the words "mill levy" to voters again unless asked a direct question using those exact words.

Too often Daub wants to show how smart he is. (And the guy is truly a walking text book.)

But that only goes so far, until people's eyes glaze over.

From his brief Senate run to the current Mayoral quest, Daub has shown the ability to pause and think about an answer before blurting it out.

He would be well advised to do so before he gets into mill levies and sewer separation economics and Ways and Means Committee jargon. He needs to pretend he is speaking to those grand-children he is fond of. (It's easier for us to unnnerstan...)


Our commenters here on Leavenworth Street have been keen to discuss what many feel will be a three-man race in the Omaha Mayor primary -- Daub, Jim Suttle and Jim Vokal.

We could easily see it coming down to those three (as far as the serious candidates go).

Some believe that Suttle would cruise to the general as the only Democrat of the three. But we see party politics playing a much smaller role in this election. Not to mention the fact that Vokal represents a Democrat district. And with the lack of party identification on the ballot, voters are less likely to take that into consideration.

But can Vokal eke enough money out of big Republican donors (who pay attention to that stuff) to challenge Daub in the money race? We think he can.

As we've mentioned before, there are many local leaders who want to back a non-Daub horse. Suttle turns many off, so Vokal could be their go-to guy. And then all bets are off in the general.

But if that three-man field is it (for the big-boys), will that entice someone else to jump in?

A bigger player in the business community? Someone from outside City Hall? Or even another Councilman?

Not sure. But we still think this race is wide-open.

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macdaddy said...

You Omahans have fun with your 33% property tax increase for the next 17 years just to fund today's liabilities!

3rd floor watcher said...

Good analysis Sweeper. I must take umbridge with Vokal. We know who he is, but can he woo the nonpolitical junkies in the 6/7th of the city that has never voted for him.

Anonymous said...

Did Vokal Vokal vote for the police and fire pensions????

Anonymous said...

Be specific in your accusations Leavenworth Street Blog; you said local leaders are "turned off" by Jim Suttle. Ok, which leaders? Name some.

So much for journalism ethics.

Anonymous said...

Hal Daub wasn't just combative because of the old City Council. Just ask police officer Virgil Paltan who wanted a restraining order against Daub because of harrassment.

Anonymous said...

Steve Brown for Mayor!! Live and Local Baby!!! He will bring back smoking, guns, Ted Nugent music, fishing, etc...He can tell us stories of when he knew the Beach Boys and the good old days at Peony Park...KOIL radio...just don't mention the police auditor or Steve will explode!

He could also have Mike Boyle as an advisor and they can fight like they did on the radio when Brown would turn off Boyle's microphone and be called a Nazi.

And Mayor Brown could have meetings over b-b-q in Old Mill at the "Rush Room" and the citzens could say "Good Job Brownie" just like President Bush did to his horrible FEMA director Mike Brown. ...

ptg said...

I think much will depend upon whether Hal Daub changes his hairstyle in the coming months. All bets are off if Steve Brown runs, Brylcreem or no. I'd move back to town to vote for Steve.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is the Vote third party sign guy,the person people know from everywhere and is the most seen public spectacle outside the Qwest center. I am at every major event. I am known as the person that only cares about politics and known as the loudest mouth in town.
JERRY ODOM has announced his run for mayor. He is on the side of law enforcement....which makes him on my side.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a thought on when Vokal will announce?

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 8:20pm Nov 13 - I don't think so. Look at the World-Herald video of Hal's announcement on Monday. Virgil Patlan supports Hal and was at his announcement in person - standing behind him at the podium.

Anonymous said...

Paul Koneck was also at the Daub announcement along with John Packett, Brenda Council, the firefighters union, Frank Brown, Lormong Lo, the Marvin Ammons family, Council Bluffs residents, Cindy Daub, etc....

Anonymous said...

TO 3rd Floor Watcher, Vokal grew up in Millard and is widely known there. I believe he was recently elected into the Millard Hall of Fame. So, he is well known more than just his district. Hal is well known in 7/7ths of the city and that is not necessarily a good thing.

3rd floor watcher said...

Wow the Millard Hall of Fame!!!! Really the Millard Hall of Fame!!! 3 other people in the Millard Hall of Fame. If you ask the average west O person who is Jim Vokal, they won't know diddly.

asecurityguard said...

Smart money is on Daub to win the whole shindig, Vokal gets 2nd. Suttle might have some money in the bank but i dont think he has the name recognition to pull it off. Plus he is one of the few people in the world who truly believes that his sh*# doesn't stink. (Though daub can also be put in that category. Smart money is still on Daub)

Anonymous said...

Word is they are bringinging in a Democrat grass roots firm from Oklahoma City to do door to door work for Jon Blumenthal and Jim Vokal. These are the same people Obama supporters hired to register voters in North Omaha. Nothing like hiring outsiders, and liberals to do the work for you. Seems they're already conceding they will not have the support locally."

Interested said...

Anonymous just above. Is that really true on the grass roots organizers? Didn't Suzie Buffet pay for that groups efforts? Wait a second, Suzie paid Baird Holm to have OPS take over all the schoold district and Blumenthal profited as a Baird Holm partner. A lot of voters in West O are not going to be happy to hear this.

Street Sweeper said...

RE: 11/16 at 6:47 Anony's assertion,

We have it on good authority that that is not going to happen.

But thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

There is a remnants of great grassroots organizers from the Terry camp, Obama camp and the McCain camp still in this city or across the river in council bluffs. If any of these candidates were smart they would start working on bringing some of these folks on board.

Simply inundating voters with advertisements will no longer work in this saturated political environment.

3rd floor watcher said...

Sweeper: Suzie Buffet is behind Ben Gray's campaign and was going to be behind Hazelrigg. So the question is where who does she support for mayor?

Anonymous said...

It's funny we haven't heard more about Suzie Buffet's "investment" for Obama. The Dems bragged about their effort and now we hear it was bought and paid for, and will never show up on anyone's campaign finance reports.

Just how much did Buffet pay Persuasive Strategies( and others? Who else will they work for in the upcoming elections.

Nothing illegal about it but it'd sure be nice to shead some light on who they are and what they are doing.

Anon 10:34 is right. There are a few very good grass roots people around. It'll be interesting to see where they fall, and who works for whom.

Bringing in out of state hired guns will not bode well for those who hire them.

Anonymous said...

Is liberal Jean Stothert still planning to run for City Council? She should come clean and register as the Socialist she is. Higher taxes and abortion on demand - just what Millard wants.

West O Voter said...

To Anonymous above: Is that you Mike Skinner???? I think you have your candidates confused. The Socialist is the Baird Holm attorney that supported all of Millard's and Elkhorn's tax base going to OPS.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 10:55

3rd party grassroots efforts are nothing new. Lincoln Strategies Group attempted to play a big part in McCain's election this year in Iowa. Unfortunately by the time they got involved it was too little too late. Republicans need to get on the ball with the resources to combat a well funded democrat effort by the likes of Suzie Buffet.
Nothing beats a well oiled grassroots effort. Whoever decides to take this race seriously will need to start setting up their network now.

Anonymous said...

Abortion on Demand, Really, Abortion on Demand!!!! Jean Stothert has the same pro-life positions as Gov. Heineman and Rep. Lee Terry. While on the Millard School Board Jean has promoted abstinence based sex ed. Someone is getting really desperate since most of the republican office holders and donors are already supporting Jean.

Anonymous said...

Jean Stothert is pro-life. She opposes Embryo research, Euthanasia, Supports the death penalty, Opposes cloning. She supports abstinance based sex education.

The only thing she supports is allowing for cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. This is the same position as Governor Hineyman, Rep. Doofus (Terry) and many others throughout the legislature and our state/local governments.

If this makes her pro-choice, then you my friend are an idiot.

snowblwr said...


As we head into the lull of the next election cycle, I'd love to see you expand your blog's focus to the supposedly "non-partisan" battles in and for the Nebraska Legislative.

The Lincoln Journal Star has pegged the Governor as the source of increased partisan tensions in the Unicameral. Hogwash. Most of the blame can be traced to voter-imposed term limits.

Democrat state Sen. Tom White of Omaha, who has burned several bridges in the rotunda, has done more to stoke the partisan fires than the Governor or AG Bruning. It has been amazing to see how other Democrats in the body have lined up behind White and fellow Dem Sen. Steve Lathrop, despite their overtly partisan attacks on a popular Governor.

The partisan battle brewing down there in Lincoln is worth keeping an eye on.

Anonymous said...

Jean Stothert supports public funding of abortion. See her 2006 Catholic Conference questionnaire. I truly believe that life begins at conception, therefore I and other pro-lifers believe that Jean Stothert wants my tax dollars to go toward murder. Neither Terry of Heineman support public funding of abortion.

Jean also voted for tax increases on the Millard School Board at least twice.

Higher taxes and public funding of abortion. . . Stothert sounds a lot like our new President.

Anonymous said...

Jean Stothert's husband is an ER surgeon who saves lives all the time. He was one of the surgeons who worked on the man who lost nearly 85% of his blood during the Westroads shooting. Her entire family is pro-life and they exhibit those beliefs in every facet including their everyday life.

Anonymous said...

Here is Jean's comments on Abortion from the Catholic voter guide of 2006:

Question 1: If Roe v. Wade were overturned, extent to which abortion should be prohibited in Nebraska?

I consider myself pro-life and I would work toward pro life goals as a state senator. My professional background as a nurse allowed me to work to save and prolong life. This has been my profession and I am proud of it. Abortion should be rare and allowed in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. I strongly oppose abortion for the purposes of sex selection or birth control. I also support parental notification and a ban on partial birth abortion.

Using public funds for abortion?

In reference to paying for abortion, I believe poor women should not be denied legal medical services available to the wealthy. I do not support tax dollars being used to encourage abortion over abortion alternatives.

So we deny medical services to people who cannot pay. What about welfare? What about Social Security Disability? Should we not give a damn about anyone and what if they were raped? incested? Or the mother was about to die?

Let the mother die, that is your response. How pro-life of you.

Anonymous said...

That's great that her husband is a doctor . . . wow. Guess what, doctors also preform abortions. What is your point about her husband being a doctor?

The bottom-line is that she supports my tax dollars being used for abortions. If a Democrat had that position, you would call them pro-abortion.

Anonymous said...

"I believe poor women should not be denied legal medical services available to the wealthy."

That is nice rhetoric essentially say that I want tax dollars to be used for abortion.

Jean is a social liberal and should be honest with the voters.

Anonymous said...

"I do not support tax dollars being used to encourage abortion over abortion alternatives."

No one would support using tax dollar to encourage abortion over adoption, but she does not say "I DO NOT SUPPORT PUBLIC FUNDING FOR ABORTION."

She is giving an Obama-like answer that leaves the door open.

Maxine said...

7:18 PM: maybe it is another Mike. One who will be glad to see Jean finally leave the school board for good.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about Stothert's ability to get tough on the Fire and Police pensions. She is running as the Fire Union's candidate. She won't say 'NO' to them.

This is scary, as Dan Welch was loudest voice against the Fire Union having their way all the time.

Who will stand up to them now?

Anonymous said...

Jean is not pro-life, I am very disappointed.