At Hal Daub’s announcement / press conference on Monday, Joe Jordan asked Hal if he was the new “grandfatherly”, less-intense Hal Daub, as recently described by Lee Terry.
Hal blushed, thought about it, and gave a self-deprecating response to Jordan. It is definitely a message Daub would like to send to voters who remember a more combative Mayor (who had to endure a more combative City Council).
But later, Jordan asked Daub if he would raise taxes in these tough economic times. Here was the answer Daub gave:
The mill levy was sixty-two and a half cents a hundred, Joe if you remember, when I first had the chance to come on watch here for the citizens of our community.
And we lowered that mill levy to forty-two and a half cents.
It went up the year after I was out of office to I think forty-two and a half to forty-three – there was one tax increase in the last eight years.
Can you imagine what it would be like today if your mill levy was sixty-two and a half cents a hundred? Thirty-three percent higher than it is today? What that would mean to the citizens of our community.
We’ve got police, fire and pension unfunded liabilities, it’s about half a billion dollars all added up. That’s about twenty-eight million dollars a year. Lou is that about right? Twenty-eight years.
That’s, uh… one mill is roughly…two million? Property tax. So you’re looking at fourteen mills of property tax if you just look at that one very serious economic issue facing the next administration.
Yikes! Now THAT’s the Hal Daub we remember.
Talking over the heads of the voters. Delving into the minutiae of policy while trying to explain a simple concept.
And that’s the task for Guru Brinker Harding –reigning in the responses of his candidate. (Even though everyone knows that Daub’s real campaign manager is Hal Daub). Here’s how Hal might have / should-have answered that:
“As Mayor I lowered property taxes by over 30%. Even though we have to make priorities in spending, I plan on keeping them low, just like I did before.”
Or something to that extent.
But Hal should never utter the words “mill levy” to voters again unless asked a direct question using those exact words.
Too often Daub wants to show how smart he is. (And the guy is truly a walking text book.)
But that only goes so far, until people’s eyes glaze over.
From his brief Senate run to the current Mayoral quest, Daub has shown the ability to pause and think about an answer before blurting it out.
He would be well advised to do so before he gets into mill levies and sewer separation economics and Ways and Means Committee jargon. He needs to pretend he is speaking to those grand-children he is fond of. (It’s easier for us to unnnerstan…)
Our commenters here on Leavenworth Street have been keen to discuss what many feel will be a three-man race in the Omaha Mayor primary — Daub, Jim Suttle and Jim Vokal.
We could easily see it coming down to those three (as far as the serious candidates go).
Some believe that Suttle would cruise to the general as the only Democrat of the three. But we see party politics playing a much smaller role in this election. Not to mention the fact that Vokal represents a Democrat district. And with the lack of party identification on the ballot, voters are less likely to take that into consideration.
But can Vokal eke enough money out of big Republican donors (who pay attention to that stuff) to challenge Daub in the money race? We think he can.
As we’ve mentioned before, there are many local leaders who want to back a non-Daub horse. Suttle turns many off, so Vokal could be their go-to guy. And then all bets are off in the general.
But if that three-man field is it (for the big-boys), will that entice someone else to jump in?
A bigger player in the business community? Someone from outside City Hall? Or even another Councilman?
Not sure. But we still think this race is wide-open.