Hal Daub announced his crime plan yesterday, and Jim Vokal slashed back, with the two campaigns arguing who had the better plans.
Uh wait. We mean, three campaigns — as Jim Suttle jumped in and did his best Beavis with a “Uh, yeah, me too!”
Hold it, we mean six campaigns. Six?
Sure, six. Daub, Vokal, Suttle, Van Argyrakis, Jerry Odom and Steve Scarle.
But let’s back up.
Did we say this was Daub vs. Vokal day? What we really meant was that this was Brinker Harding vs. Jordan McGrain.
McGrain, Vokal’s campaign manager showed up at the Daub press conference. Harding, Daub’s campaign manager wasn’t thrilled.
(Though, when you get right down to it, it’s not as if he showed up for a private meeting.)
In any case, while Harding may or may not have given McGrain the stink-eye, Hal offered Jordan a cup of coffee and laughed it off. (No word on whether there was any air in McGrain’s tires when he walked back to his car.)
But McGrain crashing Daub’s party was only part of the fun.
First this all goes back to Daub’s Seven-Point-Plan to reduce crime in Omaha — or as Daub called it, “A war on domestic terrorism.”
And Daub is taking a page from the Bush post 9/11 strategy and proposes establishing an Omaha “Hometown Security Commissioner” (a/k/a “Gang Czar”) in the police department. (Uh, “Hometown”?)
Anywho, Daub’s plan (short form) is as follows:
1. Use Federal racketeering laws more aggressively against gangs
2. Create leadership position to focus on reducing violent crime
3. Tougher state laws
4. City funds to sustain truancy and after-school programs
5. Implement zero tolerance policy
6. Develop veteran officer retention program
7. Increase officer presence on the street
[By the way, when a candidate announces a plan, is it too much work for the media organizations to post the whole plan on their websites? We’re not sure if anyone did this back when Vokal announced his budget plan. As far as we can tell, only WOWT posted a copy of it on their website. Isn’t this the sort of thing news organizations are supposed to be doing? So, here at least, is a link to Daub’s campaign website that gives a full on detailed account of his plan.]
The other candidates responded to the press with their own proposals.
Vokal disagrees with the idea to propose a Gang Czar, saying Omaha doesn’t need another layer of bureaucracy. He also talked about “Building Bright Futures” and other community based programs.
Jim Suttle, who, by the way, said he has been planning to run for Mayor since the day he was elected to the City Council, said his proposal for fighting gang violence was to reduce unemployment.
Yup, that’s it.
A major candidate for the office, who has had nothing but time to come up with something, and his idea for stopping the murders is that people need more jobs. Thanks Mr. Suttle.
But hey, look at Channel 7 talking to ALL the candidates!
After the Big 3, they chatted with:
5) Jerry Odom — better education; and
6) Steve Scarle (who may or may not have just gotten done with a production of “Hair!”) – wants tax incentive to bring in factories for low-skill jobs.
Nice hustle by KETV for getting them all in there (now Rob McCartney, wipe that smirk off your face!).
But our highlight for the day was the back and forth between the Daub and Vokal camps.
As Daub was getting ready to announce their plan, McGrain and Team Vokal shot this across their bow:
“There have actually been fewer homicides these past six years than the six years Hal Daub was mayor. Hal had his chance to control the violence and didn’t get the job done.“
Brinker Harding of the Daub camp, a little pissed fired back with this:
“It is unfortunate that Jim Vokal has begun his campaign for mayor with a negative attack on Hal. Mr. Vokal’s attempt to play games with crime statistics is sad….
Where was Councilman Vokal on combating violent crime while he has been on the Council for the last seven years? It’s only now that he is a candidate for mayor that he has come forward with any ideas…
The facts are as follows: homicides during Hal’s years as mayor dropped from 41 to 25. Although the murder rate during Vokal’s eight years on the City Council went up 61%, our campaign will not try to affix blame for that on our current elected officials.
I am confident that voters will judge each candidate on the quality of their ideas and not on the bite in their political attacks.”
When Joe Jordan asked Vokal if he was playing with the numbers, Vokal responded:
“Well the totals are the totals and I’m not going necessarily to get into going back and forth.”
And then when McGrain showed up at the Daub HQ, Harding asked McGrain if he was responding to Harding’s phone calls — which he said hadn’t been returned — regarding debates. (Ah, touché!)
But, you know, so far, so good.