It’s been too long!

Readers!

How you been!?!

Let’s get to it!

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has her third ad out of the election season! See it here:

A nice spot focusing on the things that have put her in the lead (I’m told) in this race: Public safety and jobs. They are the basic needs and wants of the city. And she is coming through on them.

Currently Stothert’s main opponent, Heath Mello is running one spot: essentially a “get to know me” ad, that emphasizes his electability as a Honey-Do list dad.

But veteran reporter Joe Jordan pointed out a few weeks ago that Mello seems to be using a wait-and-see strategy on advertising.  Holding off on his main ads until after the Primary, and just 30 days before the General.

Jordan calls it a risky strategy.

*****

As far as Mello goes, he had an interesting interview on KETV’s Chronicle show with Rob McCartney. (There was a day, before we had 100 channels, when you HAD to watch such shows, because it was either that or All Star Wrestling on Sunday mornings.)

But McCartney did a nice job of letting Mello talk, while also peppering with a few non-softball questions.

But here was an easy one to Mello, with a surprising response:

McCartney asked:

What’s your plan for North Omaha development?

Mello responded…

…with something about an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” to start small businesses.

OK.

And then, regarding “North Omaha development”, Mello responded…

“We know that there are a considerable number of people coming out of our criminal justice systems who are ex-offenders who are having a difficult time finding jobs and a difficult time finding housing.”

Well, now THERE’s an interesting response.

McCartney asks Mello about North Omaha, and Mello gives him an answer about employing people coming out of prison.

You will note that Mello didn’t talk about ex-cons when asked about West Omaha. Or Millard. Or Elkhorn. Or even his “base” in St. Thomas More parish west of South Omaha.

What say you, Mello supporters (who we know read Leavenworth St.)? Arguably your guy just called people who live in North Omaha a bunch of ex-cons. Oh sure that was after the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” buzz-word. But it was IMMEDIATELY after.

Heath Mello hears, “North Omaha.”
Heath Mello thinks, “Former inmates.”

Discuss amongst yourselves, Progressives.

*****

Exciting times we’re living in where, apparently, if you scream loud enough, you are considered a victim. That was what happened to all the poor folks who were so hurt that they didn’t have the opportunity to scream at their elected representative in person.

So Senator Deb Fischer had a town hall with constituents in Holdredge. And Rep. Don Bacon met with the organized opposition in their own private meeting!

Of course Jeff Fortenberry may have wished to have gone the Bacon route, after being forced to play keep-away with the microphone.

But Fischer and Bacon’s graciousness with their political opponents was also chuckleworthy, in the reactions and responses of said opponents.

At Senator Fischer’s meet, a screamer was screaming that Fischer was NOT LISTENING to them when they said they didn’t want Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. She voted for her anyway. So that means Fischer was “NOT LISTENING!!!”

And the Senator calmly informed this individual, and her fired-up cohorts, that what we have, is whatchcall a “representative government”, where the “representative” gathers up all the information at her disposal and then votes using her judgment.

The screamer would have none of it.

“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO US! YOU REPRESENT US!!!”

Isn’t that just darling. Local angry person thinks that the loudest people are the ones who make decisions. Sort of like Senator Fischer giving a civics lesson to a class of 3rd graders 2nd graders preschoolers.

And then Don Bacon met individually with “Indivisible Nebraska” who are a group organized to disrupt these types of town hall meetings. That’s what they do. They chat on Facebook and organize to disrupt public events.

So Bacon one-upped them and essentially dared them to disrupt their own private event.

Genius, really.

And then at that meeting, where they got to sit down with the Congressman one-on-one, what was their beef at the end?

He listened, but I don’t know that he heard us,” she said, adding that she hopes he holds a town hall.

(She also may have noted that Bacon can listen to Jimi, but he can’t hear Jimi…)

See, they can tell he didn’t “hear” them, because he ain’t voting the way they want. So, after getting a private meeting, what’s their hope? Scream him down at a town hall!

What is it the kids text these days?
SMH…

*****

Hey, Secretary of State John Gale is quitting after something like 15 years in the gig!

And you know what that means? An insane campaign for a job where no one really knows what they’d do!

Who may be in?
Let’s go to Don Walton of the LJS, who has his finger on the pulse of would-be SecStates:

The Democrat: State Senator Adam Morfeld (Lincoln). Look for the Dems to push really, really hard on this election. Jane Kleeb figures this is her foot in the door for a Democrat jumping to a higher office. Don’t look for big crowded primary here.

The Republicans?
State Senator John Murante (Gretna)
State Senator Jim Smith (Papillion)
Attorney Bob Evnen (Lincoln)

More to come, no doubt.

Oh, and State Treasurer Don Stenberg will be term-limited as well.
It’ll be an election smorgasbord!

Demeaning young ladies

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s campaign has a new TV ad out (as of yesterday) entitled, “Consensus Builder”.

See it here:

I’d give you the text, but then you wouldn’t watch.
So take the 30 seconds and give your input on this upbeat spot featuring leaders from North and South O.

*****

12-year-old girls across Omaha and Douglas County should feel insulted.

They have been slandered over the past few days. particularly on the radio and on social media.

Comparing the average pre-teen girl…to Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning is outrageous.

These young ladies have more…backbone.

If you’re not tuned into the local political world in Omaha, you may have seen that Dunning endorsed one of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s opponent, Heath Mello. When arguing for Mello, Dunning first claimed it was because he doesn’t think there are enough police in West Omaha.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer quickly shot that down.

But then Dunning got to the REAL crux of the anti-endorsement: He is mad at Mayor Stothert for the way the crime lab with the county and the city worked out. He said that first he didn’t get called early enough, then he got called too much, or something.

And then he said he got called so much by the Mayor that he blocked her phone number from his phone.

The top law enforcement officer in the county, doesn’t think that’s a safety issue.

Ho, ho, he responded: “The Chief of Police has my number.”

And let’s say there’s some disaster and the Chief isn’t around or isn’t able to contact him? Well, the Sheriff confirmed, tough luck. The Mayor CAN’T call him.

Once again, the average 12-year-old girl knows that even if she gets in a fight with her parents, she doesn’t block their numbers from her iPhone, just in case there IS an emergency.

The chief’s response?

“Whatever.”

(And that’s an actual quote. From the Sheriff, not a 12-year-old girl.)

*****

The President’s nearly universally applauded joint session of Congress speech included a couple of issues important to Nebraskans.

(By the way, apparently Presidents don’t usually give a “State of the Union” speech until they’ve been in office a year. Who knew?)

One issue was support for paid family leave.

Senator Deb Fischer has taken the lead on this. But her plan is not a Federal mandate, instead a tax incentive to employers that provide paid family and medical leave.

Fischer:

“I was pleased to once again hear our president emphasize his intention to increase workplace flexibility for families. This is an area I have focused on for nearly four years in the Senate. We have a real opportunity to take significant steps on these issues to improve the lives of families across this country.”

Interesting to watch the way this issue gets addressed going forward.

And then there’s the “Waters of the U.S.”…or WOTUS. That was a rule pushed forward by former President Obama, over much consternation from the people who would be actually affected by it, namely farmers and ranchers.

President Trump signed an order this week ordering a review of WOTUS, with the aim of ridding the oppressive measures. Senator Fischer and Rep. Adrian Smith were at the Oval Office to witness the document signing. Fischer said,

“Today, President Trump is taking a concrete and much-needed step to unravel WOTUS and put Nebraskans back in charge of decisions affecting our state’s precious water resources.”

*****

Another day goes by in the Legislature, and another day goes by where people argue that it is too difficult for minorities, young people, and old people to secure a photo ID.

Yes, one opposition leader said, “voter ID requirements place undue hardships on young mobile people.”

THAT is the argument against requiring people to show some sort of ID in order to vote??? Because otherwise, apparently it’s cool to just show up at a polling place, say you’re Tom Johnson from up the street, and vote.

It’s 2017 people! The argument is that it’s racist and ageist and I’m guessing sexist as well to ask for a photo ID???

In any case, racist, sexist, ageist, likely gluten-free hater and dog-kicker, State Senator John Murante is pushing the Voter ID bill in the Unicameral and for the life of me I don’t understand the opposition.

Apparently those “young mobile people”, who walk everywhere, can’t be troubled to find the DMV.

*****

So there you go commenters! Federal, State and Local issues to discuss! Now proceed and argue about Jeff Sessions…

Mob rules

First, ICYMI, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has her first TV ad out of the campaign season. See it here:

For you slackers who can’t/won’t watch, here’s the transcript:

 

Since day one, your safety has been my top priority. You expect results.

Chief Schmaderer and I worked together to put more police officers on the street than ever before. And shootings that threaten our community have fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

We are seeing results and we are not done yet.

I am committed to protecting your safety.

I’m Jean Stothert. I’m proud of our progress and excited about our future!

 

The “crime” ad hits the biggest issue that any mayor faces: public safety. More on the ad, and the latest news from that race below.

*****

The quaking news these days seems to be about whether or not Senator Deb Fischer and NE02 Rep Don Bacon will be having Town Halls during this Congressional break. (Unclear on why not Sasse, Fort and Smith, but nonetheless…)

One can argue about whether or not a Town Hall is even merited when it’s a gang of rabble rousers who seem hell-bent on reliving a vote about a cabinet member.

(Let me go Allen Iverson here: we’re talking about a vote about a CABINET MEMBER. Not a bill. A cabinet member.)

In any case, here are the calm souls that wanted to confront Senator Fischer in Lincoln:

Ah, but they weren’t ALL costumed anarchists. There were a number of seasoned citizens re-living the 60’s as well.

And some seemed a little confused. For instance, when a VERY polite young law-enforcement officer informed the mob that Elvis…er, Senator Fischer…had LEFT the building and that there were business there trying to get on with their day and please move along what did they do?

Here’s the video:

 

 

And that protest to the wall of politician-less building bore a very similar resemblance to this protest:

 

Deb Fischer, in the mean time, pointed out that she does the vast majority of her Town Halls in August. That is the common time for most Members of Congress to do them. In the mean time, they’re meeting and speaking to groups that were scheduled (likely) months ago.

But that’s not good enough for some. For instance the OWH’s Matt Hansen points out ALL the Town Halls that Ben Nelson did before ObamaCare, back in 2009.

Which is nice.

But he didn’t mention the period AFTER the ObamaCare vote in August 2011. (And oh by the way, the pizza shop incident also took place AFTER the ObamaCare vote, in January 2010.)

During the 2011 August recess, then-Senator Mike Johanns did around 20 Town Halls across the state.

Hansen didn’t note how many Nelson did during the 2011 August break:
ZERO.

Which isn’t to say that detractors shouldn’t be allowed to protest, or that they can’t give Members heat for not doing Town Halls right now. You have the right to stand in right in front of the courthouse with a REALLY cool sign made with magic markers and poster board paid for by George Soros, and DEMAND that Donald Trump hear you out in your backyard at NOON this coming Sunday!

Rock on, brother and/or sister.

Oh, and by the way News Media: WHEN Bacon and Fischer and all the others DO the Town Halls demanded, please do count the number of Betsy Rioters who are satisfied with the answers they get and will concede that the elected representative is properly “doing their job.” Take a count, will you? Use any numbering system you’d like.

You’ll probably note you didn’t have to remove your pen cap.

*****

Along with the latest ad, the Omaha Mayor’s race is moving right along with points and counterpoints and all the like.

Mayor Stothert gave her State of the City last Friday, noting her achievements over the past four years, and presenting her goals for the coming year.

So Heath Mello, not to be outdone, stood in front of the ConAgra sign downtown and gave his “People’s State of the City” address. And no he did NOT don a Chairman Mao outfit to go along with the title of his speech, though it would have been funny.

Instead, Mello proposed a 5th police precinct, just like Mayor Stothert did.
And he proposed police body-cameras, just like Mayor Stothert did.
And his big-deal proposal as High-Tech-Heath was putting the “city’s checkbook” online! WooHoo!

And then the Mayor pointed out in her speech that this was a brand new feature on the city’s updated website.

Heath then took to the social media sites and took credit for the Mayor’s new online checkbook since, he (ha ha!) had been suggesting it in his campaign for Mayor for months! “Imitation is the best form flattery,” chortled Heath!

Well…except that this plan had been paid for by the city .
Oh yeah! How can you prove THAT!

Well, by noting the receipt that it was paid to Oracle by the city in November 2015.

Um…..well!!!
And then Mello began deleting comments on his campaign Facebook page.
And blocking people on Twitter for pointing this fact out.

Local campaign politics are always fun to watch.

*****

“Omaha” State Senator Ernie Chambers, on the Unicameral floor, as quoted by the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Zach Pluhacek:

“I speak panther. You all speak mouse. …I speak the language of the solitary dweller, like the mountain lion. You all speak the language of the lemming.”

As noted in the responses to Pluhacek, it would seem Chambers should be sporting this scent:

Feeling the Future

For those of you who got to see the Lego Batman Movie this weekend, you may have been surprised by this Separated at Birth:

The Lego Mayor of Gotham City (voiced by Mariah Carey) and the Mayor of the City of Omaha (voiced by Jean Stothert)!

*****

It is always fun when news flies in from casual observers at public establishments.

Case in point: Apparently, former 2nd District Congressman Brad Ashford was at Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Lounge this past Friday night. The Cap Lounge is just around the corner from the House office buildings, and a long-time popular place for staffers and other politicos.

The former Congressman had reportedly been there a while (ahem) and someone asked if he was coming back to DC…to lobby.

He (allegedly) replied, No, that he was back in town …planning his political future. He also (we are told) said he was looking to take back his seat in Congress.

Shazam!

This may explain much of the perceived politiking Ashford seems to be doing — going on KFAB, posting photos on his Facebook page with his good buddy George Norris, and protesting at rallies against the new immigration orders.

Funny thing about that last one:

Ashford voted FOR the expansion of background checks on Iraqi and Syrian refugees when he was an actual voting Member of Congress.

Wonder if that was on his sign when he was yelling “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, The Incoming Immigrant Population Is Way Too Low!

Voting records can be a pesky thing.

*****

Wondering where Nebraska Democrat Party Chair Jane Kleeb and Democrat Mayoral candidate Heath Mello are, on calling for Douglas County Democrat Party Chair Crystal Rhoades’ resignation from the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

It was recently discovered that Rhoades was using her position as a Public Service Commission commissioner for overt political purposes, unrelated to official business, as well as using her personal email account to further it.

If you don’t know, when you get one of those robocalls asking you to support candidate X,Y or Z, the script for the robocall has to be submitted to the PSC beforehand. After that, the scripts are public record, and it is common for campaigns or others to request the scripts from PSC staff.

But what Rhoades was doing, as an elected Commissioner, was proactively taking the scripts, as they came in, and forwarding them to her political allies, HERSELF.

In one instance the commissioners were forwarded a candidate’s scripts at 2:25pm and Rhoades then forwarded them to the candidate’s opponent at 2:44pm. Those calls did not go out until after 6pm that evening.

And she was caught forwarding those scripts to her personal email account as well.

Then there was the little matter of Rhaodes committee testimony yesterday. She was asked superficially if her husband, Ben Onkka, was involved with any campaign. She (reportedly!) said no.

Let’s go to the Facebook images!

The truth is, obviously, that both Democrat Party Chair / PSC Commissioner Rhoades and her husband were very involved with the Tony Vargas campaign.

My oh my.

Abuse of power.
Lying to to State Senators.
Use of public property for personal reasons.

These are some issues for all with the power to judge to consider.

*****

A few races shaping up in Omaha.

Chairman of the City of Omaha Planning Board, Brinker Harding, is running against former State Senator Dwite Pedersen in the newly drawn West O District 6.

Harding was Chief of Staff to Omaha Mayor Hal Daub and is a commercial real estate adviser and broker, and a Republican.

Pedersen is also a registered Republican, though some of his support doesn’t exactly jibe with that. He has the backing of local Union chief Terry Moore, and his campaign is being consulted by former Democrat Jim Suttle campaign honcho Gary Di Silvestro.

There’s a name from the past for you!

And the Mayor’s race keeps flowing, with a recent story about how Heath Mello is a “South Omaha Boy”.

Sort of reminds me of when former President Barack Obama was puffing about his love of the White Sox and called himself a “South Side kid” — then couldn’t name any former White Sox players. That’s because he was not a “South Side kid”…unless that was the south side of Honolulu.

In similar fashion, Mello didn’t grow up in “South Omaha”, as the boundaries are traditionally drawn. And then there’s the fact that he graduated from Gretna High School.

But campaigns are fun.

Snow Flakes

Mello snow-clearing plan
Yes, Dodge Street was clogged yesterday.

Guess what readers? When snow falls during rush hour, plows can’t go any faster than the traffic that’s ahead of them. You know that snow that your wiper blades just knocked off the windshield of your Prius in the bumper to bumper traffic. Yeah, the plows can’t get to that just now.

As one plow driver put it:

I woke up to plow for the city at 3:30. So start plowing at 5:00 there was only 1/4 inch of snow. What were we supposed to plow? People give it a break. Have you ever tried to plow in rush hour? That’s when the snow started. They got us out there, job done. It’s winter driving deal with it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa Plow Driver who thinks he knows so much!
Didn’t you read Mayoral candidate Heath Mello’s PLAN for plowing streets during a rush hour storm???

Mello asserted that Stothert left the city without a “blueprint” for snow removal. When informed of the city’s lengthy snow plan, Mello questioned its rush-hour provisions…
He didn’t offer specific changes to the snow plan…
“That’s a pretty tall order.”
“When I get into City Hall, we’re going to do things differently.”

You hear that people? Differently!
He couldn’t BE more specific!
When the snow zigs, he’ll zag!
Got that!
Got thattttt???!

Then again, this IS the guy who made fun of Omaha Public Works on KFAB for “utilizing brine and salt any chance they get to make it LOOK like they’re doing something.

Classy guy.

*****

So now you’re telling me that EVEN if you get a bunch of your best buds to make signs…signs on sticks, mind you. And you call Deb Fischer repeatedly and read the script that was emailed to you. She STILL won’t vote the way that you bullyingly demand?

What sort of a Republic are we running here?

(Oh, and the protest against the next Trump nominee starts tomorrow, so here’s how you can blockade the Senate phone lines!)

This one was forwarded, and worth reprinting:

What did you learn today?
1. Only those who “support” public schools have the capability of understanding our education system.
2. Unless you have children in the public education system you just don’t understand. (Nevermind if you are a product of public education.)
3. Only public school teachers are allowed to determine someone’s qualifications for positions.
4. One person is able to destroy education in America as we know it.
5. Without public schools America dies.
6. “Yes there’s problems. But only those of us on the inside are able to make it work by continuing what we’ve been doing.”
7. School Choice is like ISIS.
8. Betsy DeVos is only qualified to be a janitor.
9. Somehow the quality of life of teachers became less than an abandoned three year old in a sewer in rural India in an instant.
10. I came up with a great list of people who I never want teaching my children how to tie their shoes let alone reading, writing, and math.

*****

Is it too early to start talking about the 2018 Congressional Mid-Term elections?
No it is not!

The CV on the Dems side is that the GOP will get crushed during the midterms. And if we learned anything from last year, it’s that Freshmen are vulnerable. (Well, in theory, anyway.)

So who might challenge current Rep. Don Bacon?

Well, you may have noticed that Brad Ashford has burrowed back out of his hole. He is part of the Midtown 2050 group. And he is still Tweeting away, sending out a flurry of tweets and re-tweets over the past few days.

But hey, maybe he’s just re-discovered the TV-typewriter. Maybe he’s not really interested in running another campaign.

Either way, a few other names?
Well, there’s Heath Mello.
He’ll likely be looking for a job come May.

And frankly during the Mayoral campaign Mello’s main issues have been ObamaCare, immigration and opposing President Trump. The guy would clearly rather be working in Washington than in Omaha.

But would he be game for starting another race so soon afterwards?

Another name that has been out there for a while: Howard Buffett, Jr., Warren’s grandson.

He would be more worth mentioning, except he may have a hard time fundraising and getting attention from the Omaha World-Herald…

Fed, State & Local

A Separated at Birth for the fans.

SCOTUS pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch…and legal eagle and NEGOP leader, Mark Fahleson!

 

Your Federal, State and Local rundown…

Feds

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer was harassed and hounded this week with the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

Fischer was a holdout of sorts, reserving her vote on the issue until she could learn some final info about DeVos. Because of that, the people who march in the streets, set limos on fire, bash Starbucks windows — and some of the violent ones — made a phone call campaign to Fischer’s office.

And the Dems they love them some phone calling! Or marching! If they could march to a phone booth, that would actually be ideal. (Are there still phone booths? Did I hear some of you yungins say, “What’s a phone booth?”)

Point is, Deb Fischer is a former school board member and was state president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. She knows her Ed issues. And she wasn’t about to be bullied by someone from Portland calling saying, “I’m from…uh…Pap-ee-own…and you shouldn’t support DeVos or…uh..I won’t vote for you next time.”

Instead Fischer asked DeVos her position on local education control and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. DeVos wrote Fischer a letter and expressed her support for both.

That local control one was the biggie, as DeVos has been a big supporter of Charter Schools. And the haters point to a program in Detroit where Charter schools didn’t work. Which is always good stuff, as they don’t seem to point to the many, many, many, many places where public schools don’t work.

Which isn’t to say that Charters are the miracle cure for every school. Millard School Board President Mike Kennedy is one who doesn’t oppose Charter Schools on their face. But he doesn’t feel that successful districts, like Millard’s, would necessarily benefit from them.

Again, that’s local control.

But whether it’s schools or the minimum wage or the water on your farm, the Big Government Dems love to hammer down the rules for evvvvvverrrryone from Washington.

Well, there’s a new sheriff in the District of Columbia.
Good thing the last guy left that pen and phone on the desk.

 

Staties

At this time of year…well most of the year…it is all inside-baseball stuff in the Nebraska Legislature. Lots about rules and motions and cloture and committees that the average person doesn’t pay attention to or frankly understand.

But they do understand the generalities of State Senators going their own way, often in a different direction from the average Nebraskan. Case in point: the Death Penalty.

Down in Lincoln right now they are still trying to figure out the budget that got screwed up from miscalculating the incoming taxes last year, among other issues.

The Governor’s peeps are trying to reign in spending (crazy idea, that). But there are others now (we’re looking your way Senators Harr and Krist) who are yelping that the Governor should have called a Special Session…LAST YEAR.

Well, just so everyone is on the same page, the Legislature could have called a special session last year. They did not need Pete Ricketts’ permission to do so. And the Tax Rate Review Committee which included Krist, Heath Mello, Speaker Hadley and Mike Gloor could have motioned and recommended that Ricketts call a special session.

So the Senators, with their dresses over their heads yelping about what SHOULD have been done, should get a grip.

And there are now quite a few Senators who are being disruptive of the process…just to be disruptive. Stuff like voting for bills out of committees, then filibustering them on the floor. (i.e. being for it before you were against it.)

But some have another view on this behavior by the Dems and the left-leaning Republicans: they no longer have the votes to run the place and they are still ticked off about chairmanships. In the past, the conservatives were small in number and if the liberal/moderates threatened anything, the Speaker would side with them and cave.

Well, new session. New legislative body. New Speaker.

And they’re not getting pushed around anymore.

Ah, elections…

 

Local-ites

The aforementioned former State Senator and Omaha Mayoral candidate, Heath Mello was on the radio in Omaha yesterday.  When asked about his top accomplishment in the Legislature, he named the aforementioned Budget that he designed and helped pass last spring.

You know, the Budget that’s nearly a BILLION dollars in the red, and some Senators are saying deserved a Special Session.

“Mr. Andrews, what would you say is your greatest achievement?”
“Well, I would HAVE to say building the Titanic. I mean it was a wonderful boat, really big, and EVERYONE agreed that it was unsinkable when it left port…”

But here’s another that would be funny, if it weren’t sad:

Heath Mello has been going on and on about how the City of Omaha needs to embrace technology and become a 21st Century city! And that he’s the youngster to do it!

(No matter that Omaha was recently cited as a top Digital City in the country.)

But Mello’s, and Mayor Jean Stothert’s, campaign report were due on January 31st at the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission offices. Stothert’s was submitted a few days before that, filed digitally and immediately posted online.

Her campaign raised a record $1.5 Million.

But Mello?

Heath Mello literally (and probably figuratively) MAILED his report in.
On a piece of paper.

So, that report, which will be put online, has to have all of the data, digit by digit, letter by letter, entered MANUALLY into the NADC system.

And don’t get the impression that there is a Mello staffer there to help out. It will be by the NADC staffers, paid by Nebraska taxpayers who will type-in each and every record in that mailed-report.

And you want a little irony, on top of all that? The poor NADC staffer has to hunt and peck on their keyboards to transfer the data. BUT, Heath Mello sent a regular Excel Spreadsheet out to the local press! WOWT even linked it for your handy-dandy download! NADC? Not so lucky.

There are any number of political reasons why Mello may be doing this. One wonders what he’s trying to hide by stalling his full report this way.

But the sum of it all is that he doesn’t care what it costs the taxpayers.

Or how the inability to review of these records side-by-side affects the issue of transparency that he has been trying to push since day one.

Keystone-a-GO-GO

Breaking news that President Trump signed an Executive Order to move forward with both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

Governor Ricketts:

Keystone XL will create good-paying jobs for Nebraska workers and bring property tax relief to counties along the route. Today’s decision represents years of extensive environmental reviews that confirm Keystone XL complies with federal safety and environmental standards. With the federal approval process complete, state regulators must now work through the process in Nebraska to conduct their own thorough consideration of the project.

Looks like someone is going to have to get some new t-shirts printed.

*****

In the main election for this off-year, announced-challenger Heath Mello went to the Kiwanis Club in Omaha to talk about how he’d work if he were elected Mayor of Omaha.

When asked about the recent Nebraska budget that he led in crafting, which ended up millions in the red, he responded that he DID his work on the budget…last spring.

He told the Kiwanisians that after he worked on the budget in April he was D-U-N done, and when the shortfall numbers came in, that was someone else’s job to figure out.

For instance, he said:

“When I ended my term as a legislature in service in April of last year the last legislative session, we had a balanced budget…”

“…when I ended my term as Appropriations Chair in April we balanced the budget and there was no deficit…”

“…we started to see projections start to slide and start to see revenues come in month after month a little lower…”

[full audio here]

What’s that, Senator?
He said, twice, he ended his service in April? He says he saw the revenues sliding month after month, but did nothing???

Heath Mello continued to be a State Senator until January of 2017. And every article written, every story reported about him until the new Senators were sworn in still called him Senator Heath Mello. For instance, just a month ago, in December, SENATOR Mello stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow State Senators Ken Haar and Tyson Larson to discuss how the Nebraska Legislature should discuss…climate change.

You got that?

Mello is willing to get down and dirty with his colleagues to talk about how to change the weather. But after he wrote down his guesses for how much money the state would bring in for the year back in April, he washed his hands of all things Appropriations!

The Governor certainly didn’t wait until the new Legislature was sworn in to address it. Why wouldn’t Mello weigh in then? Wouldn’t the self-proclaimed EXPERT on the budget want to sit down with the Governor or his colleagues or SOMEONE to work out the screw-up that occurred?

Not so much, says Mello.

Heck, back in July, Mello told the OWH, “We’ll need to keep a mindful eye on the next couple months’ revenue.” Which is nice. So what did he do about it? Absolutely nothing? (Maybe he could release all of his schedules to clear all this up.)

Is Mello to blame for the budget going kerplooey? Well, he WAS the one who led the Legislature on it. But just for argument’s sake, let’s say he gets the benefit of the doubt about the predictions. But after EVERYONE discovered that the predictions were wrong, what did Mello do?

Well, apparently he just put together his campaign for Mayor of Omaha.

And like a high school kid leaving the cafeteria, he left his giant mess there for someone ELSE to clean up.

While Mayor Jean Stothert is building new police precincts, negotiating labor contracts and fixing roads, Mello says he wants to fix ObamaCare and stop the polar caps from melting. Perhaps when he was filing for Mayor, he thought he was running for Congress.

*****

Nebraska Legislature Speaker Jim Scheer is preparing a resolution for Wednesday to expel State Senator Bill Kintner. He says that he believes he has more than 33 votes.

Kintner is reportedly preparing a statement for later today.

In the meantime there are bags full of hammers standing around asking, “What was Bill Kintner thinking?”

That’s the reaction of most normal thinking people involved in Nebraska politics. ICYMI, Kintner re-Tweeted a radio jock’s Tweet showing 3 ladies from the Women’s March holding “Not MY Pussy” signs, with the tag, “Ladies I think you’re safe.”

Apparently Kintner thought that was a really good one and re-Tweeted it to his Followers.

So here is a guy who is dealing with Ernie Chambers every day on his past issues, and probably not successfully.

Instead of laying low, keeping out of trouble and watching his every step and statement, after less than 3 weeks in session, he steps on his own…er…feet.

Many have never liked Kintner’s bombast. Others find his outspokenness a breath of fresh air in a PC world. But there is no doubt right now that he is hurting the Nebraska Republican Party, and it didn’t even take one of Chambers’ 6th-grade poems to do it.

Sure he has a right to say what he wants. And yes it was meant to be a joke. But, for Kintner especially, perception is reality. And the perception by the public is that Kintner is an oaf who can’t help himself from doing the next thing.

If he hasn’t done it already, Kintner needs to take a long look in the mirror.

Stay posted to @LeavenworthSt on Twitter for updates.

Standards

State Senator Burke Harr and Insurance Salesman Ned Ryerson

Today in the Unicameral, the Rules Committee will meet where they will address a number of proposals.

One, by Democrat Burke Harr would would effectively ABOLISH the Urban Affairs Committee by combining it with General Affairs.

Urban Affairs is currently chaired by the lone Democrat and lone African American Committee Chair, Justin Wayne. And one can argue about whether or not there are too many committees anyway.

But just IMAGINE if such a proposal were put forward by, say, Bill Kintner. Or Mark Kolterman. Or Mike Groene.

There would be outrage! Cries of racism! Appeals to the ghost of George Norris! A sudden “grass-roots” letter campaign from local Democrats!

Someone should get back to Adam Morfeld and let him know that Harr didn’t find enough “red” in his red wedding.

*****

Omaha City Councilman Chris Jerram leaned into the mic at a Council meeting yesterday and burped, “I hope we don’t see something like this (sexual harassment lawsuit) before the Council again.

Oh, Councilman Jerram, you mean something like…this?

Something like a City Official (you) mugging to the words, “Suck My Private Sector“?

 

Yes, it probably IS a good thing that no one from the council offices decided to file a claim against Jerram for this display.

And Heath Mello immediately spits out a press release demanding that someone be FIRED over this!

Well, except that someone WAS fired over it. But the city’s Personnel Board gave them their job back. So, once again, young Heath spouts off without knowledge of the facts, which is his M-O.

And of course this all occurred…during the Jim Suttle Administration.

Nothing like city politics.

*****

Keeping you up to date, only two candidates are on the April Omaha Mayoral ballot:

Jean Stothert.
And…Christopher Geary!

Geary, a perennial candidate got the required signatures and he’s officially in.

No word yet on signatures from hopeful NFL baron Taylor Royal or from heretofore unknown Ean Mikale. (Not to mention Heath Mello.)

At this point among the top candidates, only Jean Stothert has accepted a debate request from KFAB as well. Then again when your “plan for the future” is a snowplow tracking system…that has been in place for 5 years…maybe you aren’t in a hurry to respond to a live radio debate.

*****

State Senator Burke Harr and Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry

Back to Lincoln, also on today’s agenda in the Legislature’s Rules Committee, there’s Burke Harr’s plan to take redistricting away from the Legislature and give it to an “independent” advisory committee.

This is always an interesting scheme. Someone appoints a committee then declares that those going into it have no biases, grudges, agenda or influences.

And they also don’t answer to the voters.

This is another cop-out by those who don’t get their way and want to back-end their own agenda in by appointing their own people and calling it a blue-ribbon commission.

There is a reason there are elections.
There is a reason people vote.

*****

Jane Kleeb is in the news again. This time in a story pointing out that her “Bold Alliance” group, which is trying to grow chapters in other states, is really just an astroturf group funded by George Soros and others profiting off of cancellation of energy projects.

While Bold Alliance depicts itself as “a network of ‘small and mighty’ groups in rural states,” it was lambasted as a faux-grassroot organization in a 2014 report by the minority staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which called the group “an arm of the Billionaire’s Club.”

“It is nothing more than a shield for wealthy and distant non-Nebraskan interests who seek to advance a political agenda without drawing attention to the fact that they, too, are outsiders with little connection to the state,” the report said.

That “grass” has ground up rubber tires underneath it.

Whines and cheeses

It is high comedy when the Democrats in the Nebraska Legislature whine and moan about the “new partisanship” in the Unicameral.

Because…they’re…DEMOCRATS.

Wait, what? I thought the Unicameral didn’t have parties? How do we know they’re Democrats?
Exactly.

Bob Krist, who had his bottom handed to him (family blog here) on the Executive Board vote is the latest to cite the “black day” in the Legislature because Republicans took all but one committee chair.

This Tweet summed it up:

Well, here’s some news Senator: Nebraskans were tired of voting for Republicans and having Democrats be put in charge. Because to most, party does mean something. Nebraskans saw the Legislature abolish the death penalty and promptly voted it right back in. Nebraskans saw the RINOs vote contrary to their districts and voted them out.

Welcome to voters and their representatives giving State Senators a clue.

Of course the really comical part is that Democrats in the Legislature vote as a block on nearly ALL of the right/left issues. But as soon as Republicans vote with those they agree with politically in this political body, “Oh my! The partisanship!”

Cry me a river.

*****

The Omaha Mayor’s race is officially gearing up with former State Senator Heath Mello challenging Mayor Jean Stothert to seven debates across Omaha, one in each city council district.

Why Mello thinks only 7 is sufficient when there were way more than that last time is unknown. Or why he didn’t invite the other announced Mayoral candidate, Taylor Royal, who has turned in exactly as many signatures to put his name on the ballot as Mello has, also a head-scratcher.

Then there’s the issue of “transparency” that Mello has been so fond of for about 4 weeks. After demanding “transparency” from the Mayor, who has responded to the Nebraska Democrats’ records request with over 2,400 documents from the city, Mello hid from a demand by the Stothert campaign for HIS records as a State Senator.

Specifically, Mello responded to the the Stothert campaign (in the 3rd quarter of the Nebraska – Tennessee Music City Bowl so as to duck away from the press) saying he DECLINED the request:

“This is consistent normal practice of other Legislative members who have received similar requests including former State Senators Deb Fischer and John Nelson.”

But when asked Thursday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer specifically called out Mello’s statement. In a call with reporters Senator Fischer said:

“I don’t know where Mr. Mello got his information from, but he’s wrong. The request (made to Fischer by the Nebraska Democrats in 2012) was for my calendar, my schedules. We printed those off and we mailed them to the Nebraska Democrat Party, and heard nothing about it again. I haven’t talked to Heath for the last four years since I left the Legislature, so I don’t know where he got that information. But it’s wrong.”

Ball’s in your court Heath.
Any other excuses for hiding your records?

*****

Holy moley the Omaha World-Herald went after Senator Ben Sasse today. In an editorial they attacked Sasse for quitting the Senate Agriculture Committee and joining the Senate Armed Services Committee instead.

Beyond the fact that Nebraska is already represented on Armed Services by fellow Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer, Sasse left the Ag Committee, which has seated a Nebraskan since the 1970s.

“Sasse’s decision ends that tradition, and it’s troubling.”

On that note, North Omahan, via Bellevue, State Senator Ernie Chambers is now on the Legislature’s Ag Committee.

So…balance?

*****

Congratulations to new Congressman Don Bacon – NE02.

You can find him on Twitter @DonJBacon and on Facebook at RepDonBacon.

And Leavenworth St.’s founder Jerry Kratochvil, a/k/a Street Sweeper, has a new Twitter account: @JerryKrat. Follow him for all things in the local zeitgeist.

Kleeb and Dems mislead about records request…because of course

Nebraska Democrat Chair Jane Kleeb met with an Omaha city attorney last week who gave her specific information about when the City would complete the political records request made by the Nebraska Democrats.

Then Jane Kleeb went on Twitter and Facebook and pretended that this conversation never occurred and cast aspersions on the City of Omaha and Mayor Jean Stothert.

Because that’s what Jane Kleeb does. That’s how she operates. That’s how she has always operated. And YOU should expect more of this from National Democrat Jane Kleeb and her Saul Alinsky campaign tactics.

So what REALLY happened?

The Nebraska Democrats sent their political records request to the City of Omaha back in June of 2016. These deep dives cost money. And guess what? The Democrats didn’t PAY for it until October, which triggers the response to the request.

Digging up the records is time consuming. City staff has spent over 100 hours on this political request, which is estimated to be over 10,000 documents. And this is exactly what a city attorney told Jane Kleeb when he met with her…LAST WEEK!  He told her that a response to one of the three requests from the Nebraska Democratic Party would go out within the week…and as promised it went out last Friday.

The city attorney also told Jane Kleeb that the next response would go out by the first week of January 2017. And, reportedly, Jane did NOT object.

But you’d think that Jane was not at that meeting with the city attorney. Because she Tweeted today:

Hey Jane! You got the phone number wrong!
The Mayor’s Hotline, where she invites ALL citizens to call, is 402-444-5555. (Maybe look it up from your bunker in Hastings next time.)

And then there was this one..

Again, strange that Democrat Chair Kleeb didn’t have any beef with the timing of the political request when she MET with the Omaha city attorney last week.

But that is Jane Kleeb.

This is the same person accused  of blocking a female, native Nebraskan, African American from speaking at the state Democrat convention last summer.

This is the same person embroiled in the controversy of stacking the party’s caucuses with her personal Bernie Bros.

For that matter, she’s the same one who grabs a Future Farmers of America jacket to pretend she’s “one of us”.

Expect more of the same.

….

With the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood approaching, the state is putting out 150 short videos with random facts about the state and its history.

Here is #1:

How’d you do?

….

Senator Deb Fischer also put up a holiday greeting recently…

…and Senator Ben Sasse was out supporting the Salvation Army

Happy New Year!