The Omaha Police Officers Association took another jab at Jim Vokal this week — this time in a TV ad entitled, “Omaha needs leaders not politicians“.
See it here:
The ad is running on KETV and cable for a relatively small buy of 200 GRPs over the next two weeks.
But lets back up to the two mailers that the Police Union sent out a few weeks back. Remember those? The ones that were done totally because the Union was just concerned about public safety votes? That’s what the Union said, right? OK, let’s go ahead and throw that argument into the crapper.
The Police Union has spelled out in this ad that they’re pissed at Vokal for suggesting that they take a smaller percentage of their pay for their pension payment, as well as the spiking issue that Vokal says he will address if elected.
But the basis of this ad is on the first screen statement (and thanks for the handy sub-titles, video production person. Doesn’t get any more basic than that, eh?): “Jim Vokal voted twice to increase police pensions and reduce the age of retirement.“
We asked the Vokal camp for a response to this and here’s what we got:
Jim Vokal voted against the fire contract that passed the council. He voted for the most recent police contract after the police union threatened a potential million-dollar lawsuit against the city to receive the same benefits as the firefighters received. The police contract would have passed with or without his vote.
Regardless, no member of the city council voted to “increase police pensions” as the ad claims. The pensions are increasing because of spiking and abuse of overtime by police retirees.
Limiting overtime is the management responsibility of the mayor and police chief, not a contractual issue, and as mayor Jim will get overtime and pension spiking under control.
Now, you be the judge whether you think Vokal is trying to have it both ways on this issue. The other side would likely argue that he should own up to the vote, before coming up with a new plan.
But the interesting political part here, isn’t so much the issue itself, as the Police Union’s tactics.
How much of this is simply a vendetta by Police Union President Aaron Hanson against Vokal?
Well, during contract negotiations back in April of 2008, the Police Union proposed that retired officers get as much as 99% of their base pay. Vokal, in the OWH, said:
“Shocked is an understatement when I saw the latest offer from the police union. It’s way out of line. It’s not the direction we should be going.”
On Tuesday April 8th, two members of the city council, Chuck Sigerson and Jim Vokal, took the unprecedented step of revealing a confidential union contract offer to the City of Omaha.
Their premature rush to judgment and poorly thought out inflammatory public statements were potentially very damaging to any future good-faith attempts at collaboration to address our pension-funding dilemma.
Their antics make it hard to have any confidence that these two councilmen, once considered good friends to Omaha Police officers, could ever be engaged in trust-based good-faith negotiations with us ever again.
It isn’t the fact they disagreed with our concepts that has served to damage our past good relationship and trust, a lot of politicians do that from time to time, but rather the purely political and self serving manner in which they disagreed that makes it so unforgivable.
So there you go. Message sent. If you cross the Union, they will come at you with guns blazing (as it were).
The piece made us scratch our heads a little. The article makes a glancing reference to Daub’s work as Mayor to put the Qwest Center and other projects in place, and lists his resume, but otherwise concentrates on the old adage that Daub is “argumentative”. That’s pretty much it.
And to pump that, they make Daub admit that he’s “passionate”, and then quiz Lee Terry about Daub’s personality and dig up former Councilman Lormong Lo from Arkansas to say the same thing.
Don’t talk about what his experience can do. Don’t feature how his work on Ways and Means helps him to better understand the tax code. Just that he’s “fundamentally the same guy that Omahans either love or loathe.“
Well, that was awfully helpful, eh?
And last but not least, here is a Separated at Birth suggested to us by a reader:
Democrat State Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln, and the old guy from the upcoming Pixar movie, “Up“.
State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh is working on a bill in the Legislature these days to exempt cigar bars from the general ban on smoking in public places. There aren’t a lot of people who like smoke in their faces while they are trying to eat, or watch a game or whatever.
But hey, when you’re in a cigar-freaking-bar, it is expected that there will be, oh maybe CIGAR SMOKE in there, right? It’s pretty much in the name of the place. You’re in a grocery store, you’re going to smell groceries. You’re in a Law Office, you’re going to smell gas. It’s understood.
So, along with the fact that it seems outright un-American that a bill under the misused rubric of “public safety” or whatever they’re claiming is putting businesses out of business, this law seems to be hitting the wrong type of place.
Well, don’t tell that to Senator Avery. Here’s Avery’s “screw you cigar bars!” argument, according to the OWH:
But opponents said the bill would leave cigar bar employees subject to secondhand smoke and invite other groups to seek additional exemptions to the smoking ban.
“We open the door to cigar bars and pretty soon we don’t have a smoking ban,” said Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln.
Senator, here’s a job-tip: Don’t like the smell of hogs? Don’t apply at the rendering plant. Blood turns you off? Don’t bother dropping that resume at the hospital. Cigar smoke is a problem? Maybe…just maybe…you shouldn’t be working at the cigar bar.
Hopefully the next time you do open the door to a cigar bar, you get a blast from a Macanudo.