Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slam and Volley

After spending a week getting hammered in the press and in mailings, City Councilman Jim Vokal made himself an official Mayoral candidate yesterday.

And then he started hammering fellow Mayoral candidate Hal Daub.

Now Daub spent yesterday addressing his plan for a 10% tax credit against property taxes owed for home improvements.  OK, so a plan for lower taxes, with an added benefit of increasing home valuations in the long run and putting builders to work. Sounds like a decent plan. (And we provide you a link here where you can read the ENTIRE Daub press release on this.) 

But Vokal (and Jim Suttle) don't like it. At least not on its face.

Vokal voiced skepticism of the plan because he says it would be too much of a drop in the revenue stream for the state -- and the Governor may not like that.


OK, I understand that Vokal is frustrated by spending a week being a punching bag. And that he feels that Daub is responsible for that, and that his campaign needs to go on the offensive.

But knocking a plan to cut taxes and spur economic growth because, potentially, "we can't pay for it"? Now that's not exactly a conservative Republican response, is it?

We would have suggested something along the lines of, "That's an interesting idea, but maybe Mr. Daub should be running for State Senator or Governor, since that is a plan that would have to be approved in Lincoln. Instead, in this campaign we should be talking about ideas that can be implemented by the Mayor of Omaha, like my plan for (insert plan here)."

Now, there's an easy argument by the Daub folks that it's also the Mayor's job to come up with ideas that will require state cooperation, etc. But in responding as suggested above, Vokal doesn't sound like just a naysayer, still gets a jab in at his opponent, and steers the conversation to
 something positive.


By the way, Jim Suttle's response to Daub's plan?

(We paraphrase,) "Why, this isn't good enough for the stimulus plan! This wouldn't go into effect for another ten months! We need economic development now!"

Uh, Councilman Kookypants...no one said this was part of the "federal economic stimulus". This is a plan for the benefit of taxpayers and builders, and potentially the local economy in general. Whether it goes into effect two days or two years from now has nothing to do with whether or not it would be an effective plan.

But since you brought it up, what are YOUR plans for immediate economic development? You know, the ones that you claim Omaha NEEDS NOW, and will reduce gang violence and all that.

Nothing? Toboggan runs and ice rinks?
OK. That's what we thought.


Vokal wasn't done with Daub on that point however.

In the OWH this morning, there was this:
Vokal said Daub's contentious relationship with the City Council in the 1990s is still on the minds of voters.

"He couldn't get along with people. He couldn't bring people together," said Vokal.
OK, again, we understand this line of argument. Frankly, it should be Vokal's main line of attack against Daub, since it was the successful line of attack by Mike Fahey when he beat Daub in 2001.

But, here is where we don't like it:

If he wants to win, Vokal needs to stay positive. A candidate in general needs to stay positive. So in this arguably opening salvo (since he just filed), where a candidate is going to get some free media, you need to be ticking off what you want to do for the city, your plans to fix the pensions, and the stadium and blah blah blah blah. You need to give people a reason to trust you.

Now, Vokal (and any candidate) also needs to whack his main opponent. But that doesn't mean the attack should be coming from him. We would argue as well, that it shouldn't be his campaign manager, because then it just comes from "the Vokal campaign".

This is where Vokal needs someone else to stand in for him to give that line. Someone else to give the angry face, while Jim is off to the side kissing hands and shaking babies. Instead the public sees angry and negative Vokal, when that's the exact opposite of what should be coming right now.


Vokal final slam of the day came via Joe Jordan of KMTV. Now we have to say that we've been waiting for Jordan to say SOMETHING more about the whole thing with the police union and the mailers, etc. We just couldn't see him sitting on the sidelines through something like that.

So on his report last night, he "reported" on a "controversy" between Vokal and Daub. Now, you can be the judge but it seems like this may have been created by asking Vokal if he thought Daub would have credibility to take on the Police Union if Daub is endorsed by them. So, of course, Vokal said no. (Now we will take this all back if this was indeed initiated by Vokal, but from our viewing, it doesn't look that way.)

Jordan  then goes to Daub campaign manager Brinker Harding, who gave the easy response that Vokal already said he has a deal with the Firefighter's Union, so how can he talk?

What's the upshot of all this to Joe Voter?

Well, candidates bickering about nothing, essentially.
But it makes for good TV and bloggin', right?


(By the way, good move by Brinker to leave the Euro-techno-artist glasses in the desk drawer...)


After our post yesterday about Tom White and a possible run at the Governor's mansion, we heard from a number of people who say they hear that White is more likely to run against Congressman Lee Terry for the CD-2 seat.

As we discussed, that would make more sense, considering the strength that Governor Dave Heineman has shown, and the close race that Terry just won.

Of course Terry's opponent, whomever it may be, won't have cult-of-personality campaign of Barack Obama running next to him on the ballot. And if past elections are any indication, as President Obama's superstar begins to tarnish, it may be that much more difficult to compete in what is still a Red Congressional District.

If White does go that route, that still leaves an opening for a Dem to take on Heineman. Steve Lathrop's name has been mentioned, but we just don't see a first termer taking on the Guv. But, stranger things have happened.

We are sure this story will progress...


And finally, this on Channel 7, in full:

OMAHA, Neb. -- A wildlife worker noticed that a brain-damaged woodchuck was missing from its den over the weekend.

The woodchuck, named Mathilda, suffered the brain damage in April when it was hit by a car.

Nebraska Wildlife Rehabilitation cares for animals at workers' homes. Mathilda was based near 90th and Center streets.

The animal was being cared for by Laura Stastny. Stastny found the den unlocked and open, and she realized the woodchuck was gone.

Stastny said Mathilda's chances for survival are slim.

"My biggest concern is that somebody clearly broke into the cage to get her. If they just released her, she has no skills to survive in the wild and she'll be dead in a very short period of time," Stastny said.

Stastny said woodchucks are hibernating now. So if anyone spots one, it's probably Mathilda.

Anyone with information should call the rehab hot line at 341-8619 or drop off the animals at the Nebraska Humane Society.
So, just so we're all clear, not only are there groups out there caring for "brain-damaged woodchucks" (which they've named, of course). There are NEWS STORIES about rescuing kidnapped, brain-damaged woodchucks (with names)! 

(Was there a ransom note?)

I believe Homer Simpson said it best, when he exclaimed, "I'm livin' in a cuckoo-clock!"

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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought Homer Simpson said this best too: How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?

Anonymous said...

Hal wants the Federal government to fight local gangs and the State government to lower property taxes.

I still have yet to hear why he wants to be mayor (aka not Senator or Governorn) and what he will/can change as Mayor.

Focus Hal, people want to vote for you, but you have to give us a positive reason.

Anonymous said...

Let me give you a hand. I guess I can't post the website or Street Sweeper will delete my post, but go to Hal Daub's website, where you will find:

- his 7-point anti-crime plan
- his economic development plan
- his plan for city taxes & finances

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Hal has a hard time focusing. Lol.

Anonymous said...

Home Simpson for Omaha Mayor 2009

He's better than the alternatives.

3rd floor watcher said...

Het anonymous Vokal Worker at 11:48am; Daub's plan does not have the state lower property taxes. The state of Nebraska can't levy property taxes. Only local government can. Hal's plan asks the state to amend the law to give cities the option to provide the tax credit. It only affects those cities that adopt the plan.

Matilda the Woodchuck said...

I'm voting for Vokal!!!

Brain Damaged Woodchuck said...

Spoken like a true 'brain damaged woodchuck'!

Anonymous said...

Yeah 3rd Floor, everyone who posts on here for Vokal is an employee.

And wasn't that you putting out Daub signs this weekend?

Give me a break, dude. You may have to accept the fact that Jim does have some support outside of his staff and immediate family.

Actually, you already know this, hence the constant stream of attacks. You can keep hoping and praying that Vokal finishes third - been working for you so far obviously!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by the lack of Pro-Daub comments here. They must all be over at that new official blog of the Daub Campaign

Uncle Wiggily said...

At first I wondered why Sweeper would be posting about ex-senator Hagel ... then I realized he had said "brain-damaged WOOD-chuck"...

My mistake - I'll have to learn to pay closer attention.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Hal Daub has all the ideas and Jim Vokal just has personal attacks. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Uh, right. The sex offender stuff was all the police union's idea. Sure.

3rd floor watcher said...

To Anonymous at 1:03pm: You are so emotional. I will admit Jim Vokal has SOME support outside of paid staff and family. However it will not be enough to win the Mayor's race.

No I did not put out any yard signs this weekend. Once again for the record I am not a staff member of the Daub campaign.

I also know that your fundraising has been horrible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34, I don't know about that, but what in the world does Vokal have EXCEPT personal attacks? Nothing. And everyone knows it.

OmaSteak said...

When your most visible and vocal supporter is Trenton Maggot, the Vokal campaign has serious problems.

ron burgundy said...

You stay classy, OmaSteak.

Anonymous said...

I am a registered democrat that loves everything Hal Daub does. I also liked Fahey, so judge me as you may, but I have lived in Lincoln for the past 5 years. I recently moved to Omaha and these choices seem like the best leadership in the world compared to Lincoln. Last year Lincoln's mayor proposed a similar plan to Daub's stimulus, but it took funds from an extra cash reserve and it only applied to people buying new construction homes. This was a waste that only lined the pockets of homebuilders who overbuilt in the last decade. I wrote to give an alternative that mirrors Hal Daub's plan. Thankfully nothing came about of the proposal, but Daub's is much better and makes sense, as is his ability to lead and bring about good ideas. I am scared of Vokal. He seems like any attack dog Republican. I will vote for any good Republican and Daub is a good one. I wish he was our senator rather than Nohanns (as in I won't participate in discussions to help shape the stimulus, which he stated to the Lincoln Journal Star)

Anonymous said...

Lathrop's options are limited. Running against Heineman is political suicide. White upstaged him and is positioning himself to run against Rep. Terry (word around the Rotunda is there's a little "friction" between Lathrop and White). And the Rs are gunning for his legislative district--an R heavy district. Looks like it's time to return to being just a rich trial lawyer and wait for 2012 when EBN retires.

Jane K. said...

Brinker is so sexy!!!!

Matilda the Woodchuck said...

I think he is too jane!!

Nothing New... said...

This is such a pro-Daub site. do you work for Daub SS? on his payroll? your bias is showing.

Anonymous said...

The RICO law, a 1970 statute passed to combat organized crime syndicates, has been used against gangs in California, Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma and other states.

Hal is asking Federal law enforcement to prosecute gang members using RICO laws. These groups are not necessarily local, MS-13 is a gang that gets its origins from Central America and is not just in Omaha, it is located all over the country.

When I lived in Virginia, a decent neighborhood saw gang related violence,used a machete and sliced off both hands of someone they thought were in a rival gang.

The FBI has made MS-13 and other violent gangs a priority, and federal prosecutors in Virginia opened a wide-ranging grand jury probe aimed at dismantling the gang.

These groups just move around and cause mayhem with not only those leaving one area and moving to another, but those who join and stay in the area.

It is a joint gang taskforce type initiative that includes local, state and federal authorities to get rid of these groups.

Most of these members are probably illegal immigrants and it would be nice if the FEDS do their job and send those who are illegal back to where they came from.

Anonymous said...

Booker Woodfox for Mayor! Yeah!

gojays said...

P. Allen Stinnnnnnetttttt!!

Booker Woodfox rocks!


Anonymous said...

Apparently Hal is going to neighborhood groups telling people how he wrote the Legislature's anti-gang crime package. What a crock!

The Attorney General and Senators Ashford, Friend, Nordquist, and Mello put the comprehensive package together. Hal had nothing to do with it.

I'm sure Hal thinks he invented the Internet too.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! I heard a rumor that you are from the Vokal campaign and are trying to start a rumor on the internet. Promise not to tell!

OmaSteak said...

Myth...Mayor Fahey and the city council "get along". Reality...if Fahey needs a vote from one/all of them, he'd send Landow to deliver the message "Support Mike or the residents of your district will suffer." Then they would "all get along"...LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Vokal took $5,000 in the last year from the firefighter's union, and $6,000 in contributions over his time as a city councilman.

Will Vokal now return this $5,000??

Anonymous said...

He got $2,500 of that FOUR MONTHS AGO.

Anonymous said...

What do you know? Vokal looks bad, Street Sweeper is silent.

Anonymous said...

Joe Jordan is reporting the same. So as I understand it:

DAUB: Hasn't received union contributions.

SUTTLE: Hasn't received union contributions.

VOKAL: HAS received union contributions ($2,500 just a few months ago, $5,000 altogether in 2008, and $6,000 in previous City Council years, for a total of $11,000. HAS a firefighters union contribution in his account right now.

...After hearing the police won't support him and the firefighters won't decide until after the primary, he then holds a press conference to graciously refuse their nonexistent support. But he's holding on to the money they gave him a few months ago, thank you very much.

He's bold; I give him that much. But we should not be fooled by any of this.

Anonymous said...

$10 says Street Sweeper is feverishly looking over Vokal's past NADC reports while on the phone with Jordan McGrain to try to put some spin on this debacle. Wait for it.

OmaSteak said...

Vokal managed to hem and haw his way through an interview with Scott Voorhees on KFAB this morning. Jordan, you'd better start spending a lot more time prepping Vokal on Q&A's, he was terrible.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this is a funny and interesting new development! Is Vokal just dumb or what?

Anonymous said...

The facts (from Vokal's NADC report):

Contribution #1:
$2,500: Firefighters for a Better Government (6005 Grover St., Omaha NE) on May 23, 2008.

Contribution #2:
$2,500: NE Professional Firefighters PAC on OCTOBER 29, 2008.

Anonymous said...

Oct 29. Wow. So I guess Jordan McGrain is TECHNICALLY right when he says Vokal hasn't accepted union money since announcing his mayor bid.

Or was he? When was Vokal's announcement?

Anonymous said...

Careful now - the Daub folks better think long and hard before going down this road.

Nobody in this race has taken more money or support from the police and fire unions than Hal Daub.

After all, is was Hal Daub that had firefighters taking PAID LEAVE to campaign for him in 1997.

Anonymous said...

Hal Daub hasn't been shooting his mouth off about it like Vokal has. Vokal's hands are dirty here, not Hal's. Vokal's a hypocrite here, not Hal.

Anonymous said...

I like how the World-Herald says that Hal had to call Aaron Hanson and say "nevermind" to an endorsement. Notice he did not call the fire union.

Can we all agree they were working together now? I think so.

Anonymous said...

So, who believes Darren Bates' story that he was just looking for a massage when he went to the sleazy hotel after reading an "erotica"-section posting on Craigslist? Uh, yeah, that's believable! Not!

Ricky said...

I had a woodchuck that lived under my deck for a long time but now he is gone.
I wonder if the brain-damaged woodchuck is the same one? And how can you tell if a woodchuck is brain damaged?
One of the candidates should have attended the workshop on downtown Omahas master plan.
There were lots of good ideas for downtown and I happen to believe that developing a NO DO entertainment district would be a good investment that would bring in tourist dollars.
That would be a start on economic stimulus.

ricky from omaha

Anonymous said...

Suttle and Vokal were at the downtown workshop...but only until the presentations were done. Soon as it was time to do the actual workshopping; they were gone.

O-observer said...

You Daub-o-philes are doing your man a disservice. Daub is trying to "change" to be kindler and gentler, yet you all continue to be hatchet men/women - showing us Hal hasn't changed a bit. The new Hal should be embarrassed by his staff.

Anonymous said...

I love Street Sweeper's silence on this. Can you honestly say you disagree, Sweeper?

Come on, Sweeper!! You have to admit: it's pretty hypocritical to keep $5,000 from the Fire Union (& related entities) while holding a press conference to announce that, on principle, you won't accept their money.

Anonymous said...

Vokal's staff should be disappointed by Vokal's hypocrisy this morning.

3rd floor watcher said...

As another Blog pointed out, just Give the $5000 back Jimmy!!!

Anonymous said...

O-observer, it's a hatchet job to call someone out on their hypocrisy? My, you ARE sensitive, aren't you?

Oh, and I'm not a staff person of Hal Daub's and never have been. I'm just a supporter of his. He's the only one that has any ideas in this campaign! Your man, Jimmy V., has done nothing but thrown hatchets this whole campaign. Luckily they've been more like boomerangs coming right back at him.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jordan see this one coming??????? IDIOT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Give the money back Jim.

Anonymous said...

I like the Pope-Mobile idea. Anybody else?

Anonymous said...

Daub has run nothing but a clean, positive campaign -- on the issues.

Vokal, on the other hand, has defined himself only as "I'm not Hal"
and used every opportunity (no matter how remote) to get a jab in at Daub.

And here's a secret: Vokal himself knows Hal had nothing to do with the police mailer. Vokal upset the police all on his own. (And our next mayor will have to negotiate with these unions. Not a good start.)

Anonymous said...

Where's Sweeper on all of this? The silence is deafening. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Anybody see the World-Herald tonight? Hal flat-out lied to the paper!

Might be nice if Hal and Aaron Hanson got their stories straight next time.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well, in the spirit of Mr. Vokal’s bold pledge I now publicly announce that I will not under any circumstance accept assignment to be the first American astronaut to step foot on Mars.

I would say that both offers have equal likelihood to occur.

Anonymous said...

Give the money back, Jim.

Take that $5,000 out of your freezer and return it to the union bosses.

What was that you told Channel 6 this morning?

"I will not seek, nor will I accept any campaign contributions from either the police or fire union, not as a candidate and not as mayor."

Yet you took $2,500 from the firefighter's union in May, and ANOTHER $2,500 from them at the end of October, 4 MONTHS AGO.

You meant to say you won't take any MORE money from them, beyond what's sitting in your bank account now.

Give the money back, or,


you're a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

Saying "My opponent took union money too -- 12 years ago" is not much of an argument. Unions aren't the problem. The problem is the hypocrisy of taking union money for THIS CAMPAIGN to pay for your TV ads, then holding a press conference touting yourself as a crusader against unions.

Street Sweeper said...

For those of you all hot and bothered, Street Sweeper had an extremely busy day AT WORK. (You know, the way people got money before the Obama administration?)

Anywho, we should have a new post up by morning. In the mean time, please secure your trousers.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, how much will Hal take in from Washington lobbyists and his Bush Administration buddies tomorrow night?

More than $5000 I bet.

Anonymous said...

Get ready for Sweeper's "it wasn't Fire Union money" argument. Don't buy it! Both the organizations that gave $2,500 are either run by (partially or in full) or take direction from the Omaha firefighter's union.

Anonymous said...

You mean Lee Terry and Mike Johanns are holding a fundraiser for Hal Daub?? Sounds like they've chosen sides to me.

Anonymous said...

Give the money back, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Hey Vokal camp let's look at your donations...hmmm lots of developers..Jim works in commercial real estate, RIGHT!!!

GIVE THE $5,OOO back!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Can you do a separated at Birth for Jim Vokal and Jon Blumenthal???

Anonymous said...

Annon 10:47

Can you believe how flippin' stupid Blumenthal was on this one? To come out and pledge not to take Police Union or Fire Union money AFTER he finds out he's not going to get it anyway? Jeez.

Then, to challenge Stothert to do the same.

Stothert decided before she got into the race she was not going to accept financial support from police and fire unions. In 2006 when she was endorsed by both, she refused financial support then too!

We have one candidate who plays weak political games (Blumenthal) and one who not only talked the talk but walked the walk long before the latest endorsements came out.