Thursday, June 30, 2011
For those of you who have an interest in her voting record, we'd suggest you visit Project Vote Smart, http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=41963. As you review her votes you'll see that she gets solid ratings from the National Federation of Independent Business, has a pro-gun mentality and voted for virtually all the recent legislation to restrict abortion. In regard to the latter, we checked out the Nebraska Right to Life website and found that they endorsed Fischer in 2008 so maybe that should answer Joe Jordan's Nebraska Watchdog commentary on Fischer's lack of comment on that issue. If Fischer wants to broaden her appeal to a female constituency why would she make a big deal of abortion?
The only area that Fischer may rate low on according to Vote Smart is spending. Committing Nebraska to spending an additional $65 million a year on roads out of its general funds budget for 20 years beginning in 2013 might be part of that. On the other hand, some folks outside of Omaha and Lincoln may think that this will help their roads (maybe not as much as they think since Omaha and Lincoln's needs will have to be met by the extra money as well).
A fair and objective analysis would find that Fischer fits well into the Nebraska conservative philosophy and like Stenberg and Bruning has a record to support that belief.
In our 'We Get Mail' segment, we received one from former Governor Mike Huckabee asking us to support "his personal friend" Jon Bruning for the G.O.P. U.S. Senate nomination. To some extent, the letter tells us why some have better odds of getting money and nominations than others.
In the case of Brunng, he was Governor Huckabee's Nebraska chairman for his 2008 presidential campaign. Earning 'chits' and future campaign support is what prominent elected officials gain by their support of others in their efforts to get elected. That Bruning put his name behind Huckaee in 2008 is the reason that Huckabee is behind him in 2012. It's those 'chits' that candidates for high offices like the presidency, governorships, senate and congressional nominees cash in and return that help them get elected.
Who did Deb Fischer, Don Stenberg, Pat Flynn or whatshisname Zimmerman support for president in 2008 and how valuable would their endorsements have been anyway? Like it or not, Bruning was in a prominent position and boldly put his name behind the guy.
It will be interesting to see whether those others who ran in 2008, i.e., Romney, McCain, etc., will come out and endorse a candidate in the Nebraska senate race. Those running for the nomination this year will probably not. On the other hand will Bruning endorse a presidential candidate this year? Probably not unless his crystal ball tells him who will be the G.O.P. nominee. No reason to make enemies or encourage them to support his opposition, not that they are likely to do so.
Bottom line is Bruning is a smart guy who made a bold choice in 2008 and he is collecting the 'chit' from Huckabee. That's why the best Stenberg can do is a 'Redstate.com endorsement and why he is still waiting to hear from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint....
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Anyone that believes the rhetoric from the NSEA that they are fair must still believe in the tooth fairy.
We think County Attorney Kleine (yes, he is a Democrat) makes the best case by suggesting that the county and city jointly manage the lab, much as the 911 function of government is managed today. Kleine has the solution for the issue. It would save money and resources. It's logical. And it's a reasonable compromise.
Of course, there are other objections including the location. Well folks, this is a metropolitan area. It CAN be served by one location. In fact, the proposal to merge just the Douglas County and Omaha crime labs really isn't bold enough. There is simply no reason why that merger couldn't include Sarpy County as well. This is one metropolitan area, not three or more. We weren't around at the time but at one time prior to the move of the State Capitol to Lincoln, Douglas and Sarpy Counties were one.
Merging the two crime labs into one makes sense and if takes doing so by creating an entity similar to the one that manages 911 so be it. The time is coming when having both a city and county government for Omaha and Douglas County will be not only unaffordable but unjustifiable (frankly, it is now). But be assured, as long as there are elected city council members and elected county board and county officials the territorial fight, basically to preserve their jobs, will continue until the citizens demand the change.
It's time to start.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
In her announcement comments, lasting about seven minutes, Fischer said that Nebraska and the country need leadership. She said that Ben Nelson is a rubber stamp for the flawed economic efforts of Obama, that Nelson represents the failed agenda of Washington, D.C., and Obama, not Nebraska.
Fischer noted her history of involvement in politics from running for and serving on her local school board to serving for seven years in the legislature where she helped pass balanced budgets (required by law), find a billion dollars without tax increases and work to improve infrastructure (LB 84). She noted she comes to the fight as a mother, a rancher and a small business woman
Fischer said that she would vote to repeal Obamacare and will say no to raising taxes. She said that the most important job of government is to keep the citizens safe, that the country needs to give its soldiers what they need to get the job done and that the country needs to make terrorism a priority, not an afterthought.
While Senator Fischer noted that she intended to conduct a spirited campaign based on issues she, like Lee Terry's latest challenger, indicated she would take no questions after her announcement from the press as a whole but would take individual ones after she completed her announcement. We're a little taken back by that kind of strategy. If you don't know the facts, if you're not competent we might expect such. In Fischer's case we believe she is competent and knowledgeable and would have been well to take questions.
A couple of other observations. First Judas Ben Nelson had his 'tracker' there video-taping the press conference. Judas Ben is doing the same at Bruning events. Video-tape tracking is becoming a fact of life in campaigns but obviously it also says that Ben is taking his competition seriously as well he should since in only 497 days he will be a has-been.
We also noted that the banner Senator Fischer used was probably not the best designed from a political standpoint. Her logo is fine, but having a banner that repeats the flag part in a vertical downward position is probably not what a lot of consultants would recommend.
With all this said, Fischer will work hard to win the nomination. Whether she can begin to raise the money necessary to compete against Jon Bruning is doubtful and although state senators often believe they have great name recognition the reality of such exists basically in their own minds. Fischer may have earned some kudos and some name recognition with her roads bill (a bill we believe shouldn't have been passed until the state reached 2013 and decided it was affordable), but it will still take four or five hundred thousand dollars to even begin to wage a campaign against Bruning. While Stenberg believes the more the merrier in any of his campaigns Fischer probably hurts Stenberg more than she does Bruning. Maybe she's going to rely on Don to do the ugly attacks against Bruning while she tries to maintain the high ground. It's a safe bet to guess that at some point Kay Orr may endorse Fischer and certainly Fischer will do her utmost to divide and conquer by going after the female vote.
In final analysis, we think the campaign will be won by money, name recognition and the quality of the campaign given no huge gaffs or political missteps. Advantage, Bruning.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
"Things just got a lot brighter in the state of Texas when the federal government received the message: Don’t mess with Texas.
Last Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a repeal of the federal government incandescent light bulb ban. Any incandescent light bulbs manufactured and sold in Texas now steer clear of the authority of the federal government and the 2007 energy act, which started phasing out the bulbs next year.
As Texas State Representative George Lavender put it, “Let there be light.” Rep. Lavender, R-Texarkana, was quoted by Fox News from his Facebook page after the bill passed saying, “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”
Texas might be the first successful state to overturn the light bulb ban, but South Carolina has advanced similar legislation as well as Arizona, though it was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer.
“The government is attempting to micromanage our decisions as consumers,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), about the legislation passed to ban the incandescent light bulbs. “The federal government has no power to tell any citizen what types of lighting they are allowed to use.”
If states like Texas, South Carolina and Arizona are willing to repeal the incandescent light bulb ban — a symbolic move proving that American’s do not want that level of government involvement in their lives — why haven’t Republicans in the House of Representatives followed suit?
“In 2010, American voters made it clear they wanted a fiscally responsible Congress with limited government ideals, but did the Republicans in Congress get the message?” asks ALG’s Wilson. “One has to wonder since they are flinching on passing this simple yet significant bill. If the Republicans in Congress cannot even repeal this piece of legislation, which will only reflect favorably on them, then how are they going to tackle ObamaCare, entitlement programs, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or balancing our nation’s budget?”
Hopefully House Republicans will follow the lead of Texas Gov. Perry. If not, this would be a missed opportunity to act on the limited government platform from which they preach.
Let there be light once again in all of America."
If you've forgotten the mayor made a big deal of the Atlanta based company, headed by Mary Parker, coming to Omaha (see our p.s. below)when he announced it in January with much fanfare prior to the recall vote. It was going to create hundreds of jobs over the next couple of years. Of course, he failed to note that this minority-owned company would simply be taking away jobs from other companies providing the same services so it wouldn't really be creating jobs other than possibly giving a job to some North Omaha resident at the expense of some other resident of the city.
Good job, Jim! Keep bringing those new minority and green businesses to North Omaha!!!
p.s. In the event you weren't aware of this company, here is a little from the news release:
"The local All(n)1 Security office will be located at 1701 N. 24th St., co-located with Neighborworks of Omaha. The company has hired two people to date for the contract negotiated with the City of Omaha to provide uniformed security at community centers managed by the Parks and Recreation Department. The contract is effective Feb. 1. They hope to grow their employment base to 100 over the next three years.
"We are excited about this announcement because of the jobs and investment it brings to North Omaha. My administration has been committed to expanding job opportunities to citizens east of 72nd Street, and All(n)1 Security is helping fulfill that goal," said Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle.
ALL(n)1 Security is the only nationally certified African-American woman-owned security firm offering a full line of services to businesses and individuals, including security personnel, security technology, background checks and traffic control management. The company's arrival in North Omaha was the result of a collaborative effort, a partnership between the mayor’s office, the Chamber, North Omaha Development Project and the North Omaha community."
Our friends at Club for Growth continue to issue 'white papers' on potential G.O.P. presidential aspirants. The latest is on Governor Huntsman and former Ambassador to China. We have yet to become convinced that Huntsman is electable or that he is really a conservative but the primary voters will ultimately make that decision.
Here is the Club's summation on Huntsman. For the whole white paper or those on candidates they have covered to date you can go to: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/whitepapers/
"Governor Huntsman is often a frustrating political figure. He pushed for and passed significant pro-growth tax policies, but promoted and passed large increases in state spending. He’s demonstrated a clear understanding of the benefits of global free markets, but is lukewarm on school choice. Governor Huntsman also supported a bigger stimulus bill, TARP, and was a leading advocate of cap-and-trade.
In a 2009 interview with Politico, Governor Huntsman laid out his vision for the Republican Party as compared to the Tory Party in the United Kingdom, saying:
“They were a very narrow party of angry people. And they started branching out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the day, much like we’re going to have to do for the Republican Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have lost. How do you win back the intelligentsia? How do you win back some of the editorial boards of major newspapers that Richard Nixon used to carry?”
We are concerned that Governor Huntsman chooses policy positions based on what the so-called “intelligentsia” believes, and too often, that happens to be the anti-growth position. For example, cap-and-trade, more stimulus, and bailouts were all anti-growth positions supported by the editorial board of the New York Times, as well as Governor Huntsman.
In addition, we find Governor Huntsman’s statement that “health care is a right” to be simply flabbergasting. We’re not sure what part of the United States Constitution Governor Huntsman was referring to when he made that statement, but he certainly needs to explain what he was thinking.
In the end, it is Governor Huntsman’s spending record that is inexcusable. There is now widespread recognition that the next President must address the enormous threat posed by federal spending that threatens national bankruptcy. Huntsman’s failing grades on controlling state spending raise serious questions about whether he would be equal to that task.
We believe that pro-growth conservatives looking for a kindred spirit in Governor Huntsman will probably find common ground on trade and taxes, but they will most likely be disappointed overall if he is elected President."
Saturday, June 25, 2011
In today's 'We get e-mail' category we have one from G.O.P. presidential candidate Herman Cain who wants us to send $43 to his campaign to celebrate his and his wife's 43rd anniversary. While celebrating 43 years of marriage is certainly more laudable than celebrating 43 years of simply living we wonder if this isn't going just a little too far. On the other hand, whether it raises any money or not, it certainly differentiates Herman from Newt who has been married three times and whose cumulative years of marriage still probably don't come close to Herman's.
Here's what Herman's request looked like:
"Herman often thinks back to the day he met his wife, Gloria. He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He married that beautiful woman 43 years ago today on June 23, 1968. Here is a picture of them on their wedding day in Atlanta, Georgia:
Though the couple was of modest means, they had each other, a belief in God, and their mutual American Dream to sustain them on their journey. The journey that began 43 years ago today has seen many peaks and valleys, as is true for most. They have enjoyed Herman's successes in the corporate world and they have treasured their growing family of two children and three grandchildren. Together they faced and overcame Herman's diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer, and together they thank God and rejoice that he is now five years cancer-free.
Today, they still walk hand-in-hand on their journey, viewing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the distance. With each step they are reminded of their commitment to God, to each other, to their family, and to their country. Won't you join us in walking with them today?"
With that said, below in an interesting column by Kevin McCullough who was among the first to suggest that the current occupant of the White House would win the election that put him there. We think McCullough makes a good argument:
Five Reasons Why I Believe Texas Governor Rick Perry Will Be Our President In 2013
By Kevin McCullough
"Current Texas Governor Rick Perry will, in all likelihood, be president of the United States in January of 2013.
Having already made that bold statement in the electronic media during appearances on Fox News and on the nationally syndicated Mancow Radio Experience, now it's time for to put down in "print" why I believe Perry will be our next president.
I did the same thing in December 2006. I was the first political commentator to predict that Barack Obama would be the next president, and I said that would be especially true if John McCain were his opponent.
The story of how my prediction turned into our nation's current nightmare is documented in my new best selling book, "No He Can't: How Barack Obama is Dismantling Hope and Change."
So far, the 2012 GOP presidential field has felt odd and disjointed to me, especially since former Arkansas and Alaska Governors Huckabee and Palin were long in making their up their minds about whether to get into the presidential race.
Even now we still don't know the mind of the former Alaskan governor about 2012. But polling data was clear in the period between February 2010 - April 2010 that if President Obama had been forced to face former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee he would lose.
The rest of the current field is interesting, but essentially so much alike that while there are contrasts between the candidates they are hard to discern.
Enter the candidate who has not even announced yet, the three-term governor from Texas: Rick Perry.
As I did in my 2006 piece predicting the Obama presidency let me lay out the five reasons Governor Perry would win if he chooses to enter the race:
1. Perry Has Created More Jobs Than Obama
Of all the issues that will face the nation in 2012, the one that weighs even now most on the minds of those around household dinner tables is where they will find the next month's paycheck.
In my book I detail the deterioration and the inexplicable refusal of solutions that will work by the Obama administration.
President Obama was hired by the America people to make the economy better, to lower unemployment, to see Americans grow their wealth, and at every level he has failed.
It's bad enough that one out of ten workers can't find work. But the most damning statistic is that one out of five families is working as hard as they possibly can, but still can't pay their bills.
Meanwhile over that same time period Governor Perry has overseen job growth in Texas that sits at 47% of all jobs created in the entirety of the United States -- just during the two and half years Obama's been in office.
2. Perry Respects the Importance of Small Business
While President Obama has been loading up the tax burden, fees, fines, and penalties for small businesses with his ObamaCare plan, the threat of higher taxes, and environmental pipe-dreams like "cap-and-trade," Governor Perry has reduced trivial regulation and has made Texas a dynamic environment to grow business. He's been so successful that corporations are relocating from the troubled states of California and New York. They're coming to the Lone Star State to set up shop, provide better service, and pay their workers better wages.
Gov. Perry was even invited just a few months ago to the California Assembly to chat with lawmakers about how to create small business growth. One of those Assemblymen was so inspired by the governor he started the "draft Perry" movement.
3. Perry Understands the Issue of State Sovereignty
Governor Perry has been famous for not exactly playing ball with the folks Washington, D.C. He has tried to use everything from humor to a serious demeanor in his opportunities for dialogue with President Obama and his administration to convince them of the problems that can happen when the federal government oversteps, overreaches, and over spends.
He has refused federal monies for programs his state did not need. Even when Texas was experiencing massive wildfires his behavior was counter-intuitive for most politicians.
He did not immediately turn to Washington with his hand out. Yet when his state's resources had been depleted he did come forward and ask for federal disaster aid in fighting the blazes. He's still waiting for an answer to his multiple requests for help from the administration.
As an aside, let me say that the administration's silence on the Texas wildfires looks like pure politics.
4. Perry Has Core Convictions
Recently Governor Perry allowed his Labrador Retriever to accompany him on his daily six mile jog. While on his run, he and his pet were accosted by a menacing coyote. After remaining still and waiting to see what the wild coyote would do, the governor pulled out a .380 Ruger and shot the coyote dead when it become apparent the coyote was after his pup.
When he returned to the governor's office he was queried about his "heartless" actions towards "innocent" animals. After answering more than one question on the matter, and in a mildly exasperated manner he replied, "Don't go after my dog!" In other words while the press was confused about his value system, he saw it in very simple terms.
Gov. Perry's commonsense approach to problems and his core convictions resonate with the average American voter. There is such a thing as right and wrong. Not everything or everyone needs a presidential Blue Ribbon Commission to determine what's wrong and what's right.
5. He Appeals to All Three Categories of Conservatives
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the first Republican candidate to bring together the conservatives across the economic, social values, and strong military spectrums. Governor Rick Perry has already demonstrated his ability to do the same.
His economic abilities have already been cited. But he also supported the "loser pays" tort-reform bill in Texas. Trivial lawsuits will automatically diminish in the future because those bringing them will have little incentive to try to shake down an organization by merely attempting to wear them out.
He also supported the sonogram law, pleasing pro-family advocates, which allows a legal abortion in Texas only after the mother of the unborn child is able to see her child with her own eyes first.
He also pushed for passage of a voter ID law which will go a long way to insure the integrity of the voting process in future Texas elections.
His shared values of faith, his belief in the decency of America, and his lack of apology for sticking to his beliefs contrast very well with a current president who is best described as "ruthlessly pragmatic."
Obviously there is much ground yet to cover before the elections of 2012. But Governor Rick Perry of Texas appears to this New Yorker to have the moxie, the methods, and material success in office to challenge President Obama on his rather lackluster "credentials" over the last two years--which is all he had to begin with.
I also love the fact that Gov. Perry wasn't even interested in the 2012 presidential race until recently. Maybe it's a good thing not to have people who lust for power live only to achieve it.
He's not even in the race yet, and this column is not an endorsement, it's a prediction. As a nationally syndicated talk show host, I am committed to having all of the candidates seeking the GOP nomination on my program. Friday, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty joined me. and will ask each of them the very same important questions of our economy, our national security and our future.
All that being said, if this economy keeps feeling like a dead coyote on an empty Texas highway, all bets are off."
Here's what he told us in his e-mail:
"In a speech this morning in Atlanta, I called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank legislation and dramatic reforms in the operation of the Federal Reserve, starting with a full-scale audit of its activities.
During the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve made thousands of loans to banks and other large institutions for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. These loans totaled at least three trillion dollars and exposed the American taxpayer to potentially enormous financial liability for losses.
Because such decisions of the Federal Reserve affect the value and stability of the dollar, and therefore the life and livelihood of every American, we have every right to ask - who got the money?
If you agree, please take a moment to watch our video laying out our "Who Got the Money?" proposal below, and sign our petition in support of a full-scale audit of the Federal Reserve.
At a time when a dollar today only has 76% of the value it did 10 years ago, it's vital that Congress return the Federal Reserve to a sole focus on its original mandate – protect the value of the dollar - in order to protect every American from the hidden tax of inflation.
The Fed should not be handing out money and picking winners and losers.
The Fed should not be printing money out of thin air in an effort to create inflation.
If we are to grow our economy, get people back to work, and create the conditions for long term economic growth, the American people must know that they are safe from the Federal Reserve degrading the value of the dollar and increasing our cost of living."
From our 'We get e-mail' category, here, in part, is his latest missive:
"Earlier this week, I announced that my campaign had blown past its initial fundraising goal and is racing to reach $5 million before the June 30th FEC filing deadline.
And let me tell you, the support has been overwhelming!
Fired up grassroots supporters have already launched the campaign past $3.3 million!
My campaign has been gaining strength in the polls and on the ground with Tea Party activists, liberty-minded Americans and grassroots conservatives.
Now it’s time to show the establishment our R3VOLUTION will have the financial muscle to put top-flight teams on the ground in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.......
You see, the last thing an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney wants is a contested Republican Primary.
He doesn’t want anyone to know that Al Gore lavished praise upon his stance that global warming is “your fault.”
And he certainly doesn’t have any good answers for why he jammed through a socialized medicine scheme in Massachusetts.
You and I need to take the fight to the establishment.
And unlike other candidates in this race, I’m not willing to stand by and gaze at the pitch as it sails across the plate......
I thank you for all that you do in the name of liberty."
Release of Strategic Petroleum Reserves
This week President Obama announced that he will be releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This reserve was created after the oil embargo of the 1970’s and is meant to be used in the event of a national emergency or catastrophe. The reserve was not intended for a president to dip into in a desperate attempt to lower gas prices simply because he has no real plan for lowering prices at the pump over the long term. This action was misguided and was intended to hide the fact that we have spent years ignoring America’s energy resources. Instead of tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve we must take immediate action to develop North American resources through offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, expediting the permitting process for drilling in the continental U.S., and expedite a decision on the Keystone Pipeline project. Doing this will decrease prices at the pump in the long term and make our nation more energy independent and secure.
Friday, June 24, 2011
N.C.A.A., M.E.C.A., College World Series, Inc. and City of Omaha Put Lives at Risk - Patrick McPherson
The writer was at the game Monday night. The writer assumed weather might be an issue. But like 20,000 some fans was not warned of any severe weather until the tornado sirens went off--not until the sirens went off shortly after 8:00 p.m.!
Protecting the programming and profits of those holding and airing events should never trump the protection of human life, but that seems to be the case with the College World Series.
On Monday night, a sever storm warning was issued at 7:42 p.m. while 20,000 some fans, many not from the Midwest, watched the Florida/Vanderbilt game. Some may have known that earlier, at 6:52 P.M., a tornado watch was issued for the area. Most probably didn’t because they were already in the stadium. Why? Because the decision makers of the CWS obviously didn’t think it was important.
Did CWS not know a storm was coming? Of course they did. In fact, on Tuesday night E.S.P.N. and the CWS purposely delayed the opening pitch because it was raining and because their radar indicated the storm would pass by the revised 7:30 p.m. starting time.
When it comes to human life The College World Series, Inc. and M.E.C.A. should err on the side its fans and players. It should provide those folks with updates of any weather warnings issued so that they can make a decision as to whether to stay and whether to play. Certainly, the fans deserved to know not only that a severe storm warning had been issued, but that it was imminent and that the storm contained extremely strong winds. Had they been informed some fans would have left upon the notice, others would have stayed. It would have been their choice.
Relating the storm information to fans wouldn’t have caused a panic if the CWS simply said, “Ladies and gentlemen, a severe storm warning has been issued and there are very high winds associated with it. It will reach here in about 20 minutes and while we believe we have ample safe areas here, you may also choose to leave if you so desire.”
But no such warning was given fans. In fact, no warning at all was provided until the tornado sirens sounded. What occurred after that was all the more distressing. 20,000 fans heading for cover and even more egregious, the umpires allowing pitches to go on to the player at bat and then calling up the next player and letting him bat---while the sirens were sounding!
Amazingly, police were telling people on 10th Street to abandon their cars and head for cover. But the majority of 20,000 fans ended up inside a building with a concourse open to the 75 mile per hour winds and whatever else might have happened.
Still later, in violation of a practice of not allowing players on the field when lighting is within a certain number of miles, College World Series, Inc., allowed grounds crew members to participate in a simulated baseball game on the tarp covering the playing field while lighting danced overhead!
Last year a similar storm, one with high winds and much more lightning struck Rosenblatt. Again without any notification to fans. Other events throughout Omaha last summer revealed similar lack of notification to fans and participants.
If the College World Series, Inc. and M.E.C.A. prefer to risk the lives of fans and players to protect profits and attendance figures, it is time that the Omaha’s City Council, the Douglas County Board or the Nebraska Legislature to pass an ordinance to assure that fans at public events receive proper notification of weather events that put them at potential risk. An ordinance requiring that event holders notify attendees of any weather warnings immediately upon such issuance and every 15 minutes thereafter would be a reasonable way to protect human life and allow attendees, and maybe even participants, to make decisions for their own safely.
If something isn’t done to prevent the callous disregard for fans that was displayed on Monday night, last year and at other events, at some point many people will certainly die or be injured. At that point event officials won’t be bragging about how well things went.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We were under the impression the Strategic Petroleum Reserve existed to protect the nation should one of our unreliable terrorist providers close the spigot bringing auto and truck transportation in the country (home heating also) to a halt. But no, the current occupant of the White House faced with mounting economic uncertainty (the market down 200 points today), increasing costs because of transportation and the prospect of a double-dip recession has decided to drive down costs by releasing oil reserves. That might be a temporary help to stemming escalating product costs and pump prices, but it's not a wise use of the reserves and not a long term solution the nation's fuel prices, security or, frankly, Obama's political problems resulting from his belief that higher fossil fuel prices are desirable as opposed to a more reliable North American supply.
The President of the World wouldn't be doing this if his rear wasn't in serious trouble. Too bad he isn't worried about the future of the nation he purports to lead.
This from our friends at Family Research Council.
Tales from LaHood
You might remember a song from a few years ago by Bill Engvall, called "Here's Your Sign!" He could add a verse or two about the Department of Transportation. While most Americans are tightening their belts, a delegation from DOT was shopping for new ones during a 17-day jaunt to photograph billboards. The 12-member delegation, which is part of the International Scam Scan Program (ISP), is said to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000. And ABC News thinks it knows why. The network got its hands on a series of photos that show government workers clinking wine glasses in Australia and "driving the tulip-lined highways of Holland." Not only did the group have first-class accommodations, but they ate well too. "In Melbourne, that meant dining along the waterfront at the pricey Scusami Italian Restaurant; in Brisbane, the LAB Restaurant; in Stockholm, the five-star Fem Sma House."
Officials at DOT say the $1.2 million program has been sending employees on these swanky tours for years under the auspices of studying things like "pre-cast concrete." If that's not ridiculous enough, the last delegation wrote a 76-page report on international billboard advertising. Anyone out on the road knows that the Transportation Department should be filling potholes, not blowing bigger holes in our budget.
When ABC News contacted DOT and threatened to blow the story wide open, officials put on the emergency brakes. Yesterday, Secretary Ray LaHood contacted the network and said he was suspending ISP until he could "personally review" how his Department is spending your tax dollars. Unfortunately, he didn't act soon enough. Another delegation had already departed for a three-week "pavement" tour. With the President calling for more responsibility, this isn't exactly a credibility-booster. Voters already doubt the administration's sincerity on the issue--and the sincerity of most of Washington. In reality, these agencies should have been pouring over their budgets a long time ago, looking for places to cut. With $48,000 in debt piling up every second, the government shouldn't be waiting on reporters to expose the waste; they should be flushing it out themselves. But instead of changing Congress's lifestyle, some leaders want to impose on yours and raise taxes to pay for fluff like this.
In what may have been one of the shortest announcements in history, Lindstrom spoke for about three minutes and prior to that his campaign manager announced he would NOT take any questions after the speech. Lindstrom's message was that those in government lack political courage, that the country faces "immeasurable financial woes", and that the country can't afford complacent career politicians who are only interested in re-election. He did not mention Lee Terry's name once during his abbreviated speech and spent about half of the time thanking friends and family for being there, giving particular emphasis to his wife and baby, just fourteen days old.
We found Lindstrom to be a pleasant guy not unlike Matt Sakalosky who attempted to challenge Congressman Terry the last time around. Lindstrom told us that he decided to run back in January and began assembling a staff in March. He assured us that while one of his two (2?) campaign managers is a Democrat (as easily determined from her resume on his website) that she has agreed to support him and his opinions even if they differ from hers (which they obviously will).
Lindstrom will need a lot more friends and a boat-load of money to mount a real challenge against Terry. Although Sakalosky got about 37% of the primary vote against Terry last time around we'd suggest that Lindstrom won't do any better unless he can amass half-a-million dollars for a primary effort.
Lindstrom has a basic website that provides his views, his contact information, information about himself (not much of a resume) and his three campaign chiefs, etc. It can be found at: lindstromforcongress.com.
Too bad he hasn't decided to run for the legislature, county board or city council.
P.S. About the 'etal' in our title, Jack Heidel a septuagenarian District 3 member of the Learning Community and a Republican also is apparently contemplating an entry into the congressional race as well. Heidel has sent out a questionnaire to some of his supporters asking for advice on whether he should run. We'd suggest Jack save the postage.
"Republicans need to pick up either three or four seats, depending on whether they have the vice president's tie-breaking vote in 2013. North Dakota is all-but-switched to the GOP already. Besides North Dakota, the hardest states for Democrats to hold will be Nebraska, Montana and Missouri, in that order, because it's hard to imagine Obama winning any of those states. Nebraska will probably feature a runaway GOP presidential victory, further damaging Sen. Ben Nelson's (D) chances of reelection......
Nebraska: Other than North Dakota, Nebraska gives the Republicans their lowest-hanging fruit of 2012. The Cornhusker State is deeply Red, and despite an overall moderate record and a successful career of bucking his state's GOP tilt, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson is in a world of trouble. His position has been compared by some to that of former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who never seemed to have much of a chance at reelection in 2010, and lost overwhelmingly in November. Nelson isn't in Lincoln territory yet, but our designation of this race as a toss-up may be too generous to him: He is the most endangered incumbent Senate Democrat in the country. Attorney General Jon Bruning is the favorite in the GOP primary, but Treasurer Don Stenberg and others are also in the race, and they are attacking Bruning for liberal columns he wrote as a law student when he was in his 20s. If Bruning can emerge healthy from his party battle, Nelson will have a hard time catching up. Adding to Nelson's woes is the fact that Nebraska's congressional redistricting makes it highly unlikely President Obama will repeat his feat of carrying the state's Second Congressional District. (The Second's Democratic population is diluted with the addition of more Republicans.) Without the lure of an electoral vote, the Obama campaign isn't going to waste resources here -- money that would have indirectly aided Nelson's cause. TOSS UP"
Of course you can find Sabato's full commentary on all the races at his Crystal Ball blog (link on below right column).
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
With that said, we are encouraged to see another potential tier one candidate considering the race. That would be Governor Rick Perry of Texas. There is still a lot to be learned about Perry and with that in mind we provide an article from Stu Rothenberg which gives a pretty good summary of who Perry is and what might be his strengths and weaknesses. Personally, we are less pessimistic of his ability to compete against Obama for independents and moderates in a head-to-head race against Obama. If things continue the way they are the 'anyone but Obama' scenario can and could play out with an 'electable' G.O.P. nominee and we would suggest that Perry, Pawlenty and Romney fit our description of electable.
Here's what Rothenberg has to tell us about Perry: in his latest iteration: "Republican Savior or GOP Disaster?" from "The Rothenberg Political Report"
"The buzz about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s possible entrance into the presidential race grows, but the Republican’s cheerleaders ought to tread carefully when it comes to a Perry candidacy — very carefully.
Perry, 61, surely would be a serious contender for the GOP nomination, at least initially. He looks the part of a politician (even down to his hair) and has the kind of résumé that immediately credentials him for the role of president.
After a stint in the Texas House, he served as agriculture commissioner and then lieutenant governor before assuming the state’s top elective office when George W. Bush resigned to prepare to be inaugurated president.
Perry has since been elected governor three times: in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The governor has proved his political mettle, easily turning back allegedly strong Democratic challengers in 2002 (wealthy businessman Tony Sanchez, who led a Democratic “dream team”) and in 2010 (former Houston Mayor Bill White) and narrowly winning a multi-candidate general election in 2006, when Republican officeholder Carole Keeton Strayhorn and celebrity Richard “Kinky” Friedman ran as Independents and fractured the electorate.
But Perry’s greatest triumph might have been his utter destruction of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in last year’s GOP gubernatorial primary.
Hutchison, backed by former Bush strategist Karl Rove and his allies, led Perry by more than 20 points in some early polling, and even a May 2009 poll for Perry found the governor down by 6 points. But by the time election night rolled around, Perry had tied Hutchison to Washington, D.C., and he crushed her by more than 20 points.
Insiders agree the current animosity in Texas between the Bush and Perry forces is real and dates back to 1998, when Perry was running for lieutenant governor and then-Gov. Bush needed him to win so that a Democrat would not succeed Bush if he won the presidency in 2000.
Fearing Perry was headed for a loss, his team wanted to “go nuclear,” to quote one well-versed insider, against Democrat John Sharp, while Bush strategists opposed the tactic as far too risky. Bush operatives ultimately won the argument, and Perry won that race very narrowly. Still, the disagreement created considerable resentment, which still lingers.
Campaigning is Perry’s greatest strength.
“He’s a terrific campaigner. He’s great at seeing where conservatives are and forming a populist message that appeals to them. And he has great message discipline. If you give him a message-of-the-day, he always figures out how to stay on it,” said one Texan who has watched him close-up. His fundraising abilities are somewhat less certain because he has never raised funds under federal limits.
Except for one glaring exception, the governor has spent years criticizing government, bashing Washington, D.C. — even suggesting secession was an option for his state — and pushing a conservative agenda. He has obvious appeal with tea party activists and all stripes of conservatives in his party.
The exception involves his 2007 executive order requiring all Texas girls entering sixth grade to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, which can cause cancer. The move was decried by many civil libertarians and social conservatives alike.
Given that record, some observers stress his positioning given the current field.
“Perry potentially could combine support from the tea party crowd with support from those who prefer a governor/CEO candidate,” says Republican consultant Curt Anderson of OnMessage Inc. “He’s the only candidate who could appeal to both camps.”
He would seem to be the greatest threat to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a favorite of the tea party, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has tried to position himself to frontrunner Mitt Romney’s right but so far has had trouble getting traction.
Moreover, a Perry candidacy would suck much of the oxygen out of the GOP race, destroying the already slim prospects of second- and third-tier candidates.
Others counter that Perry’s niche in the race isn’t ideological but is his ability to talk about creating jobs in Texas.
“I expect his pitch will be his economic skills,” said a Republican insider who thinks only Perry and Romney can talk effectively about job creation. “The economy is the top concern even among Republican voters, and he can talk about job growth, a friendly business environment in Texas and low taxes.”
But for all his assets, Perry’s liabilities are considerable, seriously limiting his appeal in a general election. Republican insiders are divided about how much they would damage him in a quest for his party’s nomination.
One Republican strategist doubted his Texas roots and “cowboy” persona would be problems in most caucuses and primaries, stressing that GOP voters want someone who will be aggressive against President Barack Obama and that “everything about Perry screams that he is not President Obama.”
But most GOP insiders disagree, citing his state and style as negatives for the nomination and for November.
“It’s too soon for another Texan and another cowboy. And Perry is twice the cowboy that George W. Bush ever was,” a GOP strategist said.
“Bush and Perry governed very differently,” another Texan agreed. “Perry is much more conservative and much more strident than Bush ever was.”
Most observers doubt Perry’s appeal in New Hampshire, for example, though they acknowledge that he could be a considerable force in Southern contests and that his “unbelievable” skill at retail politics could make him a real contender in Iowa.
Some observers believe that Perry’s performance in Austin will develop into an issue. Perry is great at claiming credit, asserted one Republican observer, but has been “AWOL as governor; he shows up every three years when it’s time to campaign.”
“It’s not that he is personally corrupt,” said a critic who believes that “ethics” will become a problem for the governor. “It’s that he uses big pieces of Texas government as his playpen. There is evidence of pay-to-play, for example. Hutchison had plenty of opposition research on him, but Perry ran such a superior campaign that her material didn’t get through. Once that gets out, he’ll have a hard time surviving it. And you can bet that the information will make its way to the media.”
But will Republican caucus attendees and primary voters really care? Or will they be smitten by his populist rhetoric, his contrast to Obama and his claim, supported by Politifact Texas, that Texas has created more jobs since he became governor than any other state.
While there are differences of opinion among strategists about Perry’s appeal in the GOP race, there is unanimous agreement that the Texan would be a risky general election choice for his party.
One conservative, for example, suggested that he would be strong with the party base but would have questionable appeal among independent and moderate voters.
Another said that while he (and many other Republicans) could win in a double-dip recession or with 10 percent unemployment, “Rick Perry could lose every true swing state and spawn a disaster [for his party] down ballot in Great Lakes and coastal suburbs.”
He is simply too conservative, too Texas and too cowboy in a general election, most strategists believe.
Given the weak field, his campaign skills and his relatively broad appeal to Republicans, Rick Perry is a horse to watch for the nomination. But in a general election, the GOP cowboy doesn’t now look at all like the GOP’s savior."
Monday, June 20, 2011
There is simply no reason that one of the most important responsibilities that citizens have, that of voting, shouldn't require a piece of identification with their photo on it. The government, now federal, has told states that drivers licenses must require tamper proof photo i.d.s. You can't get on an airplane without an 'approved' i.d. You can't get into some government buildings or places of employment without an approved i.d. Do any of these requirements prevent people from driving, flying or working? Are such requirements reasonable impositions to assure the ability of folks to do so and to protect the public and employers? Of course they are.
So why not assure the validity of voters who determine the future of our country and our state? In this digital age there is no reason why getting a photo identification is a problem or an onerous burden. Certainly, those states that have passed such legislation have provided more than reasonable photo i.d. options.
We know that some brave Nebraska senators have tried to introduce and pass similar legislation. When our country can't control who crosses our borders, when we allow folks to be bussed to election offices for money to register and vote, it's time the rest of these so-called conservatives get behind such legislation and pass it!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Are you tired of the media and the Republican establishment proclaiming Mitt Romney the "front runner" for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination? If history means anything — and it means little to many these days — it tells us that the person leading the field at this point is rarely the eventual nominee, especially when that candidate's lead is as anemic as is Mitt Romney's.
Let's take a trip down political memory lane to see who led in June of the year prior to recent presidential elections. In June of 1971, for the Democrats, it was Ed Muskie, followed by Hubert Humphrey, Ted Kennedy, John Lindsay, and finally the eventual nominee, George McGovern, whose name was known by so few people at that point that he garnered a mere 5 percent in the polls.
Going into the 1976 election season, the Dems again had no clue who they would nominate. Their favorite candidates, in order, in June 1975 were as follows: George Wallace, Hubert Humphrey, Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Ed Muskie, George McGovern, John Glenn, Julian Bond, Lloyd Bentsen, Adlai Stevenson III, Morris Udall, John Lindsay, and an obscure one-term governor and peanut farmer from Georgia named Jimmy Carter, who tipped the pollster's scales with an unimpressive one percentage point.
In June 1975, Gerald Ford was the accidental president, but as the incumbent, he was the front runner for his party's nomination. As the Republican standard bearer in the 1976 election, he went on to lose to the worst president of modern times (if you don't count the current occupant of the Oval Office).
Four years later, in June 1979, after "Jimmy Who?" had become "Jimmy Why?", the Democrat front runner in all the polls — by more than 20 points — was Ted Kennedy, who was challenging his own incumbent president. On the Republican side, Ronald Reagan defied the historical odds by polling as the solid front runner in June, where he stayed until the convention a little more than a year later.
From June 1983, until the 1984 general election, it was very much Reagan vs. Mondale all the way to a 49-state romp for the Gipper. And in 1988, riding the long, popular coattails of his boss, incumbent Vice President George H.W. Bush was the odds-on favorite from the early polling. But the Democrat polling in June '87 was as muddled as ever. It was Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis, who was pulling a pathetic 7.5 percent at the time.
By 1992, the Democrats were desperate to recapture the White House, but in June of '91, with Bush's post-Gulf War approval ratings in the stratosphere, it was hard to see who could pull it off. In fact, here is the somewhat whimsical list of the Democrat "front runners" in descending order that summer: Mario Cuomo; Al Gore; Lloyd Bentsen; Jesse Jackson; Dick Gephart; George McGovern; Sam Nunn; Bill Bradley; Ann Richards; Douglas Wilder; Tom Harkin; George Mitchell and — with less than 2 percent — Bill Clinton.
Al Gore and George W. Bush led in their respective polls from June 1999 on, and out of it came the closest election in modern presidential election history. But in June 2003, the "front-running" Dem lined up to challenge Bush was Gore's 2000 running mate, Joe Lieberman, who was leading the man who would be their nominee the following year, John Kerry.
And finally, there were the polls of June 2007, wherein Sen. Hillary Clinton held a double-digit lead over Sen. Barack Obama, and America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, held a solid advantage over Sen. John McCain.
So don't let anyone tell you that Mitt Romney is the "front runner" in June of 2011. With all the candidates not yet even in the race, his "lead" means nothing. Even if he is slightly ahead in these early polls, he is a weak candidate who would probably lose the general election.
© 2011 by Doug Patton
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself much more often than not. Now working as a freelance writer, his weekly columns of sage political analysis are published the world over by legions of discerning bloggers, courageous webmasters and open-minded newspaper editors. Astute supporters and inane detractors alike are encouraged to e-mail him with their pithy comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Here is what the current occupant of the White House had to say in regard to shovel ready: "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."
P.S. the photo shows the trestle reconstruction occurring at 150 intersection of Center Street and Industrial Road which only began a few months ago.
In a not unexpected welcome Augie Garrido and his Texas team received what amounted to a virtual stadium wide din of boos. The angst was certainly aimed more at Augie than the team which since when it (the team) received an award for the highest G.P.A. (Grade point average) of all the teams participating and one of its players for the highest among all players participating found a much more positive response.
Also not surprising was the reception to Mayor Suttle who fortunately delivered a very brief welcome to the fans and teams participating. On the 'boo scale' the reception was about 50% booing and 50% providing light applause. So in the race for the least popular in the stadium Mayor Suttle came in a weak second to Augie--still not exactly something to brag about.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
For those of you who don't recall, the Williams were the movers and shakers who put together honor flights to Washington D.C. for more than 1500 World War 11 veterans. How could you find a project more worthy than that?
Now, Bill and Evonne have stepped up again with an effort to remember our fallen veterans from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a display to those fallen that is traveling the state. If that's not enough, they have done the same thing for Iowa fallen veterans. And if that isn't enough they plan on expanding the effort to twenty-five states!
The Williams efforts can be found by going to their website: www.rememberingourfallen.org.
These two are truly modern day American heroes!
"IT’S OVER: Anthony Weiner will face the cameras in Sheepshead Bay at 2 to officially announce his resignation, effective immediately.
Last night he finally bowed to the great truism of his three-week sexting scandal: When your president and your favorite porn star agree that it’s time for you to go, then it’s long past time for you to go. He called Pelosi to tell her he was ready to face the music, and word leaked out at about 9:15 today. The most telegenic sign this morning that the big New York tabloid sex-and-politics feeding frenzy of 2011 was coming to its climax: A couple of box-toting Weiner interns emerged from 2104 Rayburn, turned off the reception-area lights and closed the door behind them. Then came the Daily News web headline, “Weiner’s Cooked,” and the New York Post crawl, “Randy rep tells members of Congress that he will quit.”
Weiner — who, for the record, is a 46-year-old married man, an expectant father and until a few days ago one of the most articulate liberal voices in the House — has never delighted his Democratic colleagues more than he will by leaving them. The lobbyists who had to visit with him because he was on the Energy and Commerce Committee, likewise. His in-your-face style, long on confrontation and short on subtlety, may have worked to make him an effective rhetorical warrior in the well of the House, and that stereotypical New York affect helped keep him popular in Brooklyn and Queens.
But he wasn’t in any way personally popular in the cloakroom, where even his genuine defensive prowess and aggressive base running in the annual Roll Call baseball game were derided as so much showboating. And lobbyists in the past days have told myriad tales about having to hold their tongues in combustible meetings with Weiner — only to be solicited by his political aides for a big campaign donation just a few minutes after the meeting ended. (Ask around and you’ll soon hear tales of the Juniors Most Fabulous Cheesecake shakedown.)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will now get to call a special election to fill the seat — probably with a placeholder because the other Democrats in the city’s delegation will move to gobble up parts of the 9th District in redistricting. And, no, Weiner won’t be able to pull a fast one like resigning and then running to get his old job back. Not even he has that much chutzpah left."
"Good for Mitt Romney — though we've long passed the point where weak lip-service is enough on the Climate Crisis, While other Republicans are running from the truth, he is sticking to his guns in the face of the anti-science wing of the Republican Party."
One of our favorite bloggers/columnists, Larry Sabato (Sabato's Crystal Ball) has some interesting information on our presidents and their loss of elections prior to becoming president. Admittedly, we tend to brand some current G.O.P. presidential aspirants as losers, i.e., Rick Santorum who lost his U.S. Senate re-election in 2006. Courtesy of Sabato here is a list of those 'losers' who became president:
lost Senate, 1879; lost reelection to Senate, 1887
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We've noted several times in the past that we like the Club for Growth. Recently we provided a link to their 'white paper' on Governor Pawlenty. They've now released 'white papers' on former Governor Romney and on former Senator Santorum. We'd encourage you take a look at them at: Go to www.ClubForGrowth.org/whitepapers/
So until Congressman Weenie's wife tells him to resign, the congressman will continue to earn $461.71 per day of his his $174,000 per year salary.
Wikipedia, the expert on everything of course, defines Executive Orders thusly:
"An executive order in the United States is an order issued by the President, the head of the executive branch of the federal government. In other countries, similar edicts may be known as decrees, or orders-in-council. Executive orders may also be issued at the state level by a state's Governor or at the local level by the city's Mayor. U.S. Presidents have issued Executive Orders since 1789, usually to help officers and agencies of the Executive branch manage the operations within the Federal Government itself. Executive orders do have the full force of law since issuances are typically made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress, some of which specifically delegate to the President some degree of discretionary power (delegated legislation), or are believed to have their authority for issuances based in a power inherently granted to the Executive by the Constitution. It is these cited or perceived justifications made by a President when authoring Executive Orders that have come under criticism for exceeding Executive authority and have been subject to legal proceedings even at various times throughout U.S. history concerning the legal validity or justification behind an order's issuance."
Following is a list of the number of Executive Orders issued by our presidents since President Hoover (you can go to the website and find each order and its content):
Barack Obama (2009-Present)
EO's 13489 - 13572 = 83 Executive Orders during 2.5 years in office
George W. Bush (2001-2009)
EO's 13198-13488 = 290 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
William J. Clinton (1993-2001)
EO's 12834-13197 = 363 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
George Bush (1989-1993)
EO's 12668-12833 = 165 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
EO's 12287-12667 = 380 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
EO's 11967-12286 = 488 Executive Orders during 4 years in office
Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)
EO's 11798-11966 = 168 Executive Orders during 3 years in office
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
EO's 11452-11797 = 345 Executive Orders during 5 years in office
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
EO's 11128-11451 = 323 Executive Orders during 6 years in office
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
EO's 10914-11127 = 213 Executive Orders during 2 years in office
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
EO's 10432-10913 = 481 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
EO's 9538-10431 = 893 Executive Orders during 8 years in office
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
EO's 6071-9537 = 3466 Executive Orders during 12 years in office
Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)
EO's 5075-6070 = 995 Executive Orders during 4 years in office
Omaha Contractor Licensing Update
John C. Chatelain
President of Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association
July 15th, 2011
"As a follow-up on the Omaha contractor licensing proposal, yesterday the council continued the matter for an additional 5 weeks, until July 19th, supposedly to obtain additional input. The council previously had laid the matter over from May 17th to June 14th.
The licensing of contractors would require the applicant to 1) pass a practical and theoretical ICC examination for the type of license to be obtained, 2) provide a certificate of liability insurance coverage of at least $1,000,000.00, 3) provide a bond to the city in the amount of $10,000.00, and 4) a pay a $300.00 application fee. The license expires in 3 years. Renewal requires 1) the required certificate of insurance, 2) 12 contact hours of continuing education from ICC or college courses related to construction, 3) three classes provided by the city’s permits and inspections division, and 4) a renewal fee of $300.00. Working without a license subjects contractor or landlord to a fee of 4 times the regular fee and possible criminal prosecution.
Requiring extensive credentials for many routine jobs such as replacing a roof, installing new siding, hanging doors and replacing windows is absurd. Under the proposal, only a licensed contractor would be allowed to pull the required permits. The inevitable result will be ever increasing costs and an attack on our basic rights and freedoms by telling us who we can and cannot hire to perform improvements on our property.
Representatives of the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association (MOPOA), Omaha Board of Realtors, Nebraska Association of Commercial Property Owners (NACPO), Apartment Association of Omaha and Lincoln, Omaha Chamber of Commerce and North Omaha Contractors Alliance have been meeting with City Planning Director, Rick Cunningham.
We have met on three occasions: May 20th, May 26th and June 10th, 2011. We’ve been asked to provide solutions to a problem that has been only vaguely defined. Anecdotal stories of poor contractor performance in replacing roofs and the removal of a load bearing wall have been given as a justification for the ordinance.
We pointed out that licensing does not prevent bad behavior. Those who are totally irresponsible, who don’t bother to pull permits, do the job right, or have the appropriate final inspections, will not comply with the licensing requirement either. The licensing ordinance will not, for instance, prevent transient contractors from swooping into town, doing shoddy work and leaving before financial responsibility can attach.
We have explained the required licensing will only make it more difficult for those individuals, who already stand behind the quality of their work, by requiring a new layer of bureaucratic rules and regulations; that contractor licensing will restrict property rights and freedoms; and that contractor licensing makes the growth of the city planning department’s power inevitable.
We have pointed out that licensing drivers does not prevent speeding, reckless driving or DUI; licensing does not prevent bad teachers from selling drugs or abusing the children under their watch; and more regulations of lawyers does not prevent some from taking their clients’ money. We are tired of the responsible majority being punished because of a small percentage of bad actors.
We have reached a stalemate with Mr. Cunningham. First we labored under the false impression there was a real problem in the contracting industry for which the proposed ordinance was the only solution. The problem we were looking for doesn’t exist but that is not to say Mr. Cunningham doesn’t have one. His challenge is how to convince the folks to convey more property rights and freedoms to the government without a compelling reason to do so.
More time will not solve Mr. Cunningham’s problem. The council should not have laid the matter over until July 19th. The proposal should have been killed. We’re wasting the time of many productive people.
Everyone should speak out against this ordinance. Contact the city council instructing them to vote NO. Be respectful but firm!"
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The above were all the more impressive given that Larson was only 24 when he won election (replacing long-time senator Cap Dierks) and is the youngest current member of the legislature (age 25) and the forth or fifth youngest to ever be elected. Of course some of those other young members were also solid conservatives like Phil Erdman and now U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith.
Larson talked about the challenges he faces. His district approximates 6,500 square miles and contains 57 communities. Because of his youth a major challenge is just 'proving himself' not only to constituents but also to his colleagues, mostly much older, in the legislature. He noted that Senator Lautenbaugh, also in attendance at the meeting, was old enough to be his father! Larson also noted the rural verses urban divides and challenges that exist in the legislature.
Senator Larson serves on the following committees: General Affairs, Agriculture and Judiciary, Enrollment and Review and State-tribal Relations.
Larson indicated frustration with much of what is happening in Nebraska and the U.S. He opined that, "older politicians aren't going to be there when my generation has to face the results and pay for what they are doing today."
He shared ideas on some of his priorities which included a 3.5% flat income tax for Nebraskans (It would be 4.5% for businesses with a reduction of .1% over each of the next ten years to bring it down to 3.5% also while giving the state some time to make fiscal adjustments), educational reform (charter schools, innovative ideas)and the creation of a 'sovereign wealth fund' similar to those established in New Mexico, Wyoming and Alaska.
As we noted, we were impressed with this young senator. For the most part he appears to be unabashedly and unapologetically conservative. As he matures he could well become a formidable candidate for higher office.