Friday, September 04, 2009

Don's last stand

Former Nebraska Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Don Stenberg is expressing interest in the State Treasurer's job that Shane Osborn will be leaving next year.

You gotta think this would be Don's last shot, right?
  • 1996's GOP Senate primary didn't work out for him.
  • Then he came within 2% of Ben Nelson in the 2000 Senate race.
  • But after coming in second to Pete Ricketts in the 2006 GOP Senate primary, we were sure that he would call it quits in the elective political world.
So why would the Treasurer's gig interest him? A launching pad for a future Governor's or Senate run? Possible we guess.

The OWH is throwing out -- " Tony Fulton of Lincoln, Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, Chris Langemeier of Schuyler and Deb Fischer of Valentine", as interested.

The LJS notes state Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont as well.

And we've heard at least two other Dem State Senators who are interested (setting up a potential cat-fight).

In other words, this is the type of race that many would be interested in, the likes of a Don Stenberg in there or not.

So while Stenberg undoubtedly has the top statewide name ID, Nebraskans often show that they're interested in moving forward in politics -- not hanging onto a name of the past.

It will most likely be THE primary race of the year.


On that note, we extend our congratulations to Shane Osborn on a job well-done.

He ticked off a successful list of accomplishments in his term as State Treasurer:
  • Unclaimed property;
  • Transparency website;
  • Shrank the size of the office;
  • Shrank his budget;
  • Implemented a day reconciliation for bank receipts.
People who never paid attention to the Treasurer's office before saw successes there, and could actually see government working FOR them. What a quaint idea.

We wish Shane the best and look forward to seeing him again in the political world down the road.


(OK, non-Omahans: Note that we led off with two statewide stories before hitting the Omaha budget stuff? Don't say we don't look out for ya!)

So here's our question, Omahans: Satellite dishes? Really?

Omaha is going to balance its budget on the backs of satellite dish owners?

And this idea came to Councilman Chris Jerram while he was out jogging? Hmm.

Now if he'd said he was going to put a new tax on all fast-food deep-fryers -- because, well, you know, observation and stuff -- we wouldn't have been surprised.
(We kid Councilman, we kid. Sort of.)

But really, that's also the point right? Why NOT french fryers? Or a tax on flag pole installers. Or on picture hangers. You name it.

After making up several reasons the other day on the news, Jerram admitted as much saying, basically that they would implement the new fee because they could, and that it would be a revenue source.

Forget that NO ONE saw this coming. That no one in the business had any information about this or has had the opportunity to comment on it yet. Or that the statistics that Jerram is basing this all on came from the competitors of the satellite dish biz. (By the way, Pepsi has an excellent idea for how you can tax Coke products.)

Or if it will even work.

We're a little suspicious that this half-assed proposal is just set up there so the Mayor can veto it, and then the other taxes will automatically take its place.


And don't even get us started on the "voluntary" furloughs.

Look, here's what SHOULD happen: Either you cut enough so that you don't have to raise taxes, or if you do have to raise taxes, spread it around evenly.

Should city workers take the only hit? And we're talking about city workers who are supposed to be doing the job, and we are assuming that they shouldn't be cut.

Should you balance the city budget because you have a perfectly legal satellite dish?

Or should property taxes go up -- for EVERYONE in the city?


Well, guess what kids, that's what's likely to happen. And the Mayor is going to tell you that HE didn't do it, or some such other B.S.

But you know what? The Mayor SHOULD own the tax increase. And you know what else? He should SELL it that way.

It's called leadership.

The Mayor should be telling the public that if Omaha wants it's AAA bond rating and it's budget balanced, and pools open and libraries open, then taxes will HAVE to be raised. (For argument's sake, we're leaving out the whole 4 men on a firetruck issue.)

And then the Mayor should say,
"There is only one way to equally spread around a tax increase, and that's through property taxes.

If you own a home, you'll pay more. If you rent, the property owner will pass the higher costs through. Times are tough and we all have to suck it in.

And if Omahans want a great city with the type of things a great city has, then ALL it's people are going to have to give a little more.

And I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to balance this budget on the backs of a few city workers, who I can guarantee aren't making top dollars. Or on people who wanted to get the NFL Sunday Ticket.

If an extra fifty bucks a year for a $200,000 house stinks, then so be it. You come to ME to complain. Here's my phone number. You know where I work.

But when you take your kids to the pool or the library or to the curb while your garbage is being picked up, you can also thank the city for these services.

We've had good times and we've had rough times. We'll weather them all. Together."
Or some such.

And the point here isn't that we're in favor of new taxes. Frankly, maybe it's 100% the fault of the fire union, and putting 3 men on a truck would be the silver bullet.

But if the Mayor won't go that route, then he has to man-up and show some leadership.

Enough of this "the citizens are the stockholders" crap. If you're the Mayor, you take responsibility.

(And by the way, enough of being "elated" when someone suggests a new tax. HATE taxes. Despise new taxes. But we're living in a society where they're necessary if we want this quality of life. And blah blah blah. We have to give this advice? Really?)

But for gawd's sake, if you were elected then TAKE A FREAKING STAND.


Oh, and have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

Don Stenberg can't run. He's been declared legally dead for 3 years. But I guess that didn't stop Hal Daub.

By the way, that other GOPer is businessman and state senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont, per the Journal Star.

Street Sweeper said...

Thanks, and noted and updated.

Uncle Wiggily said...

OK ... this is a little weird, but the first thing I thought when I saw the picture of Stenburg on the OWH link you provided was ... wait for it ... Buddy Hackett! Except for the glasses, of course. Not necessarily suggesting a SAB, but the Hackett vibe is eerie.

Just sayin' ...

Amanda S. said...

Dear God, don't let it be Tony Fulton. I heard Fulton speak at a health care rally in Grand Island and it was the most paintful, boring, and excruciating 25 minute speech (yes, i timed him) I've ever had the misfortune of suffering through.

Fulton needs a few more years on the junior varsity before he tries the leap to the big leagues.

Anonymous said...

A fact should not be overlooked (and one that has been thus far) is one of those state senators who expressed interest is the chair of the state revenue committee. (and former chair of business and labor committee).

It's going to be interesting if any of em' get in it.

Anonymous said...

Abbie Cornett has the personality of a satellite dish. Maybe we could tax her more???

Anonymous said...

What about Richard Carter?

Right Wing Professor said...

Don was pretty active in the campaign for prop. 424, and actually did a lot of the legal work. I think we owe him a debt of gratitude for that, and he certainly will have my vote.

Street Sweeper said...

RWP in for Donny Sten!
We have our first endorsement of the campaign!

GeosUser said...

Let's see...raise property taxes to restore Omaha's AAA credit rating so "we" can pay for Daub's Disaster (Qwest & Hilton) and Fahey's Folly (downtown ballpark) plus outrageous police/fire pensions. Sounds like a plan to me and just another reason for making the move out of here ASAP. Now that's real leadership for Moses leading the exodus out of bondage.

Anonymous said...

Is there not a day that goes by that you don't think of a way to make a cheap shot at Jim Suttle...

Street Sweeper said...

Anony 1:44,

Are you addressing moi?

If so, point out the "cheap shot", please.

(Heck, if I was his consultant Ida charged top dollah for that advice.)


Anonymous said...

That wasn't a cheap shot. That was a plea for Mayor Suttle, who has wanted to be mayor of Omaha for a long, long time, to act like the mayor of Omaha, not like the mayor of Chicago. The remark about Jerram observing all the deep fryers was a cheap shot.

Street Sweeper said...


Anonymous said...

Spot on about the city budget meeting and end result comming SS.

BTW, where was Gernandt on Tuesday? Isn't he supposed to be the council president? Where was his leadership?

What kind of leadership is it to risk one of the councilman's health not allowing them to eat? That's some serious business and cheap arse politics there!

The whole time Jerram was having his strings pulled by the "ladies" in the mayor's office.

"Pass this before the council is at full strentgh! Keep them there, if that one keels over, we'll have a majority."

That's the way the city is's all on Jim Suttle. My way or no way. It'll be fun when it comes back to bite him!

The Pip said...

Hey Sweeper, was it intended irony that you said we elect people we expect to move forward, and not political names. I have two things to say, "Smith and Johanns"

Anonymous said...

Rex Moats' lawsuit has been completely dismissed.

BRM said...

Don Stenberg? NOOOOO!

The Satellite Tax may be a straw man as you suggested, but did you see the apartment that was filmed by WOWT? One row of units and a dish in front of each unit. The building was grossly unsightly with those things hanging off it. If these dishes were able to be installed so that the apartment building itself could be fed from one of the dishes, or houses installed them on the roof, rather than in the front yard, then maybe I would aggree with you. These look pretty nasty and with a crop of them hanging on random walls throughout the neighborhood, you can get real "white trashy" real fast.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your quote telling us what Suttle should be saying, right on.

I know a man who would say those things. He did say what needed to be said, when he was mayor.

And we called him "divisive" because he didn't get along with a city council that was worse even that our current one. He was shredded in the World-Herald for showing exactly the kind of leadership you describe.

You know who I'm talking about:

Hal Daub.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jerram never saw a deep fryer or fire union contribution he doesn't love almost as much as the holder of a troubled or questionable liquor license.

Anonymous said...

Where is the big Democratic gathering Saturday night?

Who does Gary Di Sylvestro have as business partner or was it dissolved?

Anonymous said...

But, we don't tax people for unsightly and if that's what Jerram meant to do then he should have had the balls to say it.

Speaking of unsightly, have you ever noticed all the obnoxious banners and window signs that bars put up to advertise Keno and drink promos? Where are the City inspectors? Why aren't they demanding the sign permit fee for everyone of them? Didn't they make Mike Simmonds take SpongBob off the roof of Burger King a few years back?

Ooh, I gotta go, the cat is peeing on the couch on my front porch. See ya' around the neighborhood.

Your neighbor,
Granny Clampett

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Occupation Tax that was tossed around earlier. I know that a property tax is probably coming down the tube already, but isn't the groundwork already in place for the occupation tax?

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Nordquist has been mentioned for Treasurer by some due to his work experience with the Investment Council and Retirement System, but he was on KLIN yesterday and said he wasn't interested.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who blames Jerram for putting this in the budget should also blame the rest of the Council for not shooting it down right away. They were so desperate to submit a budget without a tax increase that they found any way they could to balance it. If you saw the vote, you had Stothert and Thompson questioning the fee, but both Stothert and Festersen unquestionably voting for it, and Thompson and Gernandt reluctantly.

I guess they had to come up with something or they might still be in session, but still, it seems like they didn't do their homework.

In the name of human rights said...

Anon 2:00 Sept 4

Let me get this straight. There is a councilman with a physical illness to where if he is deprived food he culd become seriously ill?

Council President Gernandt and Councilman Chris Jerram on orders from the Mayor forced the council to work through the day and late into the night without food knowing this councilman would become ill?

What would Mr. Jerram or Mayor Suttle say if the CIA withheld needed medical treatment or food from an ill terror suspect durring interogations? They'd call it torture.

A councilman was tortured into supprting the Mayors agenda. That is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that.

That councilman could have slipped behind chambers for a quick snack. If it is a blood sugar issue, then he should know to always have a backup plan.

As for department cuts. It seems funny that the planning department got fewer people. Accounting got a boondoggle of staff. the Mayor's office staff is supposed to be working harder than the staff of any other administration because they took all the money and got rid of all the support staff.

Looks like the Finance Director doesn't know how to manage her huge staff. The Planning Department is going to need more employees to implement all the new fees in lieu of taxes. And the Mayor's staff doesn't have enough time to do their homework because they are busy emptying their own trash because they wanted the cash, not the help.

To top all of that off, the new finance director actually thinks it will only cost half the original implementation price to do a half price entertainment tax? I am pretty sure that it takes the same amount of gas for me to drive down to the local Piggly Wiggly and get $100 worth of groceries as it does for me to drive to the same store and grab a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs.

Now I know for sure that the people in West Virginia are the idiots I always thought they were.

Even a 3 year old knows 1+1=2

Anonymous said...

Don't tax satellite dishes. There aren't enough of them. Tax dishes and flatware. And if Nebraskans eat with thier hands, tax hands.

The problem is, its all Nebraska hands being taxed.

The essential problem with Nebraska is that it gains its nourishment by comsuming its own body tissues, by taxing its own.

Innovative leaders find ways to seduce business to come here from the outside and we then tax them. That would make being a Nebraskan nice instead of a sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

Chip Maxwell for State Treasurer

Anonymous said...

Of course, 10:59, we do the opposite. Nebraska state government gives huge tax breaks to businesses, which as a result shifts the tax burden to everyone else.

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

Omaha wants its AAA bond rating back the only way to do that is to generate revenue, the best way to do that is to raise property taxes.

Anonymous said...

That's not the best way, it's just the easiest.

Anonymous said...

Frank Brown is a race baitor just like Barry.

Anonymous said...

Wow Sweeper!

If only the City of Omaha Public Works department could clean the streets as quickly as you did around the noon hour.

We'll just leave at that for those who were paying attention since you were doing a decent public service.

I certainly hope you didn't reveal your secret identity in the process while out cleaning the streets.

Anonymous said...

sometimes the best is the easiest

Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me what a race baitor is

Anonymous said...

You know...somebody who baits race.

Anonymous said...

Or they bait during a race.

Anonymous said...

As far as people looking for the job of Treasurer...

There are alot of people looking for jobs now, right? Obama's plan has just hit 9.7 percent unemployment. His press. sec. said things are going in the 'right direction'.


Anonymous said...

Before you go and blame Obama for the unemployment rate, maybe you'd better consider the facts. The recession began in December 2007. The rate then was 4.9%. As of February 2009, the rate was 8.1%.

Also, the DJIA was 13658 on 12/7/2007, when the recession started. It was 7949 on 1/20/09. As of Friday it was 9441, after reaching it's low (starting 12/2007) of 6547 3/9/2009.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Obama said the unemployment rate would only hit 8% if his plans were put in place right away. His plans were put in place right away and unemployment is now 9.7%, way higher than what he threatened us with if we didn't do what he said. Fact: Obama has no earthly idea what he's doing. Oh. I just realized. He must have a heavenly idea of what he's doing. My mistake. I was thinking as a mortal, not as The One.

And BTW, before he was President wasn't he in that group of those people who pass laws? What do you call that? You know, those people who can pass laws to fix things? Maybe not. Maybe he just appeared out of the sky for our salvation.

In The Know said...

In the know: Jerram will pull his ordinance on the satellite income, the Mayor will not veto the budget, the Council will then have no more say and property taxes will automatically fill the gap per the City Charter resulting in a property tax increase of over 4 cents.

The worst part of this is the Stothert, Festersen and Thompson bit on Jerram's proposal and did not have the courage nor the leadership to stop it.

NE Voter said...

Former State Senator Ron Raikes R.I.P. One of the good guys.

Street Sweeper said...

Any posts that are deleted are for my perfectly good reasons.
Don't like it? Then find another blog to post crap on.

BlahBlahBlah said...

It's tough when we lose someone as educated and caring about Nebraska and Agriculture as Ron Raikes. RIP Senator. You will be missed.

dietition said...

Is it me or does it look like young Don Stenberg needed a more fiberous diet?

Anonymous said...

enjoy your labor day but please ask, "why are our tax dollars going to help fund Terry Moore's Septemberfest carnival?"

One Out In The Third said...

How is Stenberg any worse than anyone else currently in office? I think he deserves a chance.

I missed the SEIU Labor Day Picnic...hope all you union thugs stepped in poison ivy.

To the real hard working Americans...I hope you enjoy the day. My wife is doing her best to keep the economy going...keep producing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, while Americans are dallying around celebrating the end of summer on some trumped up honor of union thugs, the rest of the world is working. Anyone notice that one of the biggst food companies in the world tried to buy Cadburry this morning? Because the London Stock Exchange is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!

Anonymous said...

You enjoy your weekends, 40 hour work week, and - for those of you fortunate enough to have it - health care?

Without unions, none of that happens.

As many of you are so quick to point out, businesses are quick to screw over their employees to help their bottom lines. If it weren't for unions fighting for real protection for all workers, many things we take for granted - like overtime - wouldn't be there.

Nate E said...

Are you really bitching about Labor Day? Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Your right, the serfs haven't earned a extra day off.

Anonymous said...

Serf's??? I'd love to have a featherbedding, spiking job that I make $60,000 a year in retirement at 45!!!! Happy Labor Day Omaha Fire Union!!!

Anonymous said...

This may be a dumb question, but is Chris Jerram still the Douglas County Party chairman?

Anonymous said...

Hello anonymous 9/08 @7:55, what is your problem with the fire union, there is no featherbedding, the CIR took care of that. Spiking will end this year with new contract, and not everyone makes 60,000 a year in retirement. No one is able to retire at 45 with full benefits. Your numbers and facts are wrong, when you become educated and are no longer tempted to post ignorant comments, try again. How many of you were able to enjoy a paid vacation day due to the hardwork and oversight of labor unions. Remember when the U.s. was the most prosperous, it was because of the labor unions. Remember when the middle class was the largest segment of the socio-economic makeup of american society, it was because of the labor unions. The labor unions ensured safety and brought wages and benefits up for all workers in area where unions were active.

FREI bird said...

notes from the discussion;

1) Wonder if Council Bluffs and their casino revenue are having budget problems... NOPE!

2) as for unions. YES, they did help get 40-hour work weeks, overtime, safer working enviornments, legal aide, etc. Guess what - NOW EVERYONE has those things due to the Federal law changes. THANK YOU for your help, but government paid old-style unions are now a drain on taxpayers.

3) The downtown stadium bill has yet to show up and the NCAA agreement states that they make the 20-year installments on it. (we'll see) IF the NCAA pays the bill, we could have profits for the City off of everything else there.

4) other cities do charge "fees" for things like satelite dishes, unsightly or harmful houses items, etc. We could have inspectors write tickets for unkept yards - BUT WE JUST LAID THEM OFF.

enjoying the discussion,

Anonymous said...

to Freibird, I agree if the anti-progess comitte that is the rest of the state would allow a meaningful vote on legalized gamibling I think the state wuld be better off, every singel state we boarder has gambling, so we only deal with the negative consequnces and none of the benefits of the taxable revenue source and accompanying tourism.

If everyone really wanted to make the U.S. strong again for the worker we would all join unions, with a solidarity workforce the bad practices of corporations that have helped ruin the middle class can be stopped. As a union memeber I will be the first to admit that not all workplaces can benefit from a union, small business owners that pay a fair wage and provide decent beenfits do not need a uinionized workforce. I will say that govt jobs is exactly where you need a unified unionized workforce, if you want to attract the most qualified candidates you have to provide a total benefit package that will attract them away form the private sector, no one is saying that govt. workers should be rich, they only want comparable wages to what similar workforces in similar cities get. The govt. workers do provide the serves that protect and serve the public, whehter it be public safety or administrative services that citizens need.

Hopefully the city can find a way to make the new stadium solvent and contribute to Omaha's economy.

Omaha's rvenue stream is broken and I belive they can find other ways such as user fees to contribute back to the budget.