One of the main debates going on in the City/County Building, and around Omaha, is how many firemen should be on each truck.
Currently, the city contract with the fire union says four. Some have suggested that only three are needed and that having three instead of four would save a huge amount of money in a city strapped for cash.
One group, the Omaha Alliance led by Mike Simmonds and Dave Nabity, has a TV ad out calling fire union's position of four men on a truck an, "extreme staffing demand".
Well, the Omaha Professional Firefighters Association has fired back with the following powerful, and professionally produced TV ad.
Take a look:
(For those of you too lazy to watch the 30 second ad, ) it features firefighter Josh Goessling, son of deceased firefighter, Capt. John Goessling. John Goessling died fighting a fire in 1996.
Here's where things get a bit murky, and pure politics has come into play.
Josh Goessling, sporting red suspenders and a scarred forehead, says in the ad:
"There have been fifty-five firefighters in Omaha who have lost their lives in the line of duty.Now...
Our father was one of them.
We understand the risk it takes to go into a burning building, and we accept that.
We also understand what it takes to fight a fire.
There are a lot of armchair quarterbacks who THINK they know how many firefighters belong on a truck.
But if it means saving your family faster, who would you trust for the right answer?"
Let's be clear about this:
John Goessling did not die because there weren't enough men fighting the fire at the Family Dollar Store back in 1996. And that's not our determination. Or Dave Nabity's.
The Fire Department's Safety Analysis Committee came to the conclusion that Goessling died because of shortcomings in the Fire Department's command and communications systems, "which kept firefighters from coordinating their efforts and learning what firefighters were seeing," (according to an OWH story on this, posted by KFAB's Tom Becka here).
And Goessling was on a four man truck.
And this was a four alarm fire and at least three engine crews were on the scene when a roof collapsed on Goessling.
So in case there was any mistake or possible misdirection provided by this political ad, Goessling's death was not because there were only three men on his truck.
And that's where this ad has some shortcomings.
There are many good arguments to be made for having four men on a truck. Unfortunately, none were made here, other than "we're firemen and we know best." Well, maybe. But people are also going to assume that firemen are looking out for their jobs.
So when a fireman gets on screen and points out that firemen die in the line of duty, and then swoop into an argument about staffing, there should be some relationship between the death referenced and the point they're trying to make. Instead, it's misdirection, and emotion, and the argument being made just got less persuasive.
And frankly, in these tense budget times, people are tired of hearing the emotional argument that is tinged with inaccuracy.
It's a short term gain -- up until people hear the whole story.
Congressman Lee Terry and his officially unofficial (but really, official) Democrat challenger state Senator Tom White continue to chip-chip-chip away at each other. Basically it's White saying Terry's health care plan is no good, and Terry telling White to put up or shut up.
So, aside from all that, here's a question for you:
At what point do people already get tired of this race?
And by "people", we're not really talking about YOU, because YOU obviously get a kick out of year-round politics -- otherwise you probably wouldn't be reading this in the first place.
No, we're talking about your neighbor, the Husker fan, who decides who to vote for during the drive to the polls. At what point does that person say, "a pox on both of them", and then vote for Mort Sullivan again.
Can a candidate win by just staying positive until, say, January? (Even telling people he's going to do that?)
Maybe that's too risky in this day and age. Just wondering.
Cracked up at this headline in the OWH today:
"Suttle would back tax hike"
Other headlines on the same par:
"Osborne makes measured response"
"Nelson could vote either way"
"Dogs: like to bark at stuff"
Ya gotta love the Web 2.0.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry is following 1,081 people on Twitter.
Senator Mike Johanns has a Flickr page up, featuring shots such as this:
And on Facebook, Ben Nelson just got a semi-automatic shotgun in Mafia Wars! (We kid, we kid...)
Jim Esch staying involved...
(you're welcome Jim...)