Why they did it

The Omaha World Herald has spent a fair amount of time over the past week defending their reasons for posting an online database listing every person who signed the Mayor Suttle Recall petition.

They’re claimed, “public duty”, and “openness” and all sorts of other reasons.

Here’s one they left out:


The OWH’s internet pages got lots and lots of hits from their little outing-database. And you can bet that those hit counts will be wildly crowed to their advertisers.

And the real use for this database anyway? To spy on others.

As a matter of fact, note the Tweet that went out from the liberal Twittererer, PoliticalOmaha:

Want to know if your friend or neighbor signed the recall? Full searchable database of names…

That is it right there, kiddos.

So enough about all this, “well, the people who sign are really recall volunteers.”

Uh, no. No they’re not.

They are registered voters. (…well, for the most party anyway.) And the OWH did their best to try to shame them and anyone else who wants to sign a petition in the future.

And that’s a shame.


Congratulations to Congressman Adrian Smith on his appointment to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. (We Tweeted this the day it was announced, as well.)

Placement on this A-list, tax-writing committee is a plum for Nebraska and for Smith, only in his third term.

It’s too bad that those who heard about this from the LJS’s Don Walton had to hear Don slam Smith via a random other story as well. Without any response from or defense of Smith in the story.

Think that would have happened in a Ben Nelson story?


And speaking of Senator Nellie, he sure seems like a Republican when you read about him in the Nebraska papers, doesn’t he?

Well, get him in his element with the rest of the Democrats and his Democrat fur will start to fly.

Case in point with the Senator sitting toe-to-toe with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (who used to work for long-time Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill).

His screeching about Republicans may have put a thrill up Matthew’s leg after all. And then Nelson even got a shout-out from the uber-lib blogger, Markos Moulitsas, of the DailyKos, who Tweeted:

I’ve never seen Ben Nelson speak so negatively about GOP.

It all depends on who he is speaking to, Markos. And depending on who he is raising money from, you probably haven’t seen or heard the last of Nelson yet.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I signed the petition, but don't remember needing to put down my age or political affiliation. OWH calls signing a petition a "very public act" (and "an extremely public act" — akin to wildly screaming at passersby, I guess). However, if some stranger were walk up to me during the signing and ask to know my age and political affiliation, I would have told them it was none of their business.

    Cyber-bullying. Not meant to shame, but to intimidate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now SS is against the free enterprise system. Of course the OWH ran the list to make money along with providing a public service. So?

  3. Street Sweeper says:


    So I'm to understand that Left Wingers are now PRO-Gordon-Gecko-greed? Fascinating.

    Of course, you never heard that argument against the Recall until now.

    And if by "public service" you mean, "find out if the guy in the next cubicle is a filthy petition-signer", then, well, that's some dictionary you got there.

    Oh, and thanks for reading!

  4. Laughing at Scott says:

    I love the irony. Adrian gets a thiatorrd term and a ways and means seat. Scott Kleeb is having his wife get him contracts for "Green" projects. How is that Ivy League Degree working for ya Cowboy!!!

  5. Gerard Harbison says:

    Careful, Sweeper. Somebody last year called Don Walton a 'paid shill' for the Nebraska Democrats, and he claimed it was 'hate speech'.

    No more shout outs for you! (On the other hand, I suspect we're getting to the point that more people read this blog than Don's columns, so why would you care?)

  6. Anonymous says:

    SS, you'd be fine with the OWH if the sides were switched (let's say the recall was for a Republican mayor). And you'd provide an explanation of why it wasn't the same thing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I for one, do not like Jane Flemming-Kleeb and her liberal views. Go back to the east coast please, we don't believe in what you are selling over at "Bold" Nebraska.

  8. Anonymous says:

    To Annonymous 9:04 AM. I too signed the petition but did not see my name on the OWH expose. I called the election commissioner and was told that my signature must have been on a page that was either not notarized or had some other procedural error. He said there were several pages like that. So that tells me that the election commissioner was doing due diligence and that there are probably another 500+ valid signatures that were not counted.

  9. Amazed and confuzed says:

    Wow they can publish 28,000 names, but they can't publish what was on Gary DiSilvestro's Douglas County computer screen. Amazing!

  10. PoliticalOmaha says:

    Hey Sweeper,

    Thanks for the plug. I just wanted clarify something. The internets ate some of the words off that tweet. The tweet was supposed to read…

    "Want to know if your DEAD friend or DEAD neighbor signed the recall? Full searchable database of names…"

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify,


    P.S. Not being restricted to 140 characters is very liberating. I might have to comment on blogs more often.

  11. GeosUser says:

    It looks to me like the OWH is working hand-in-hand with Forward Omaha. I seriously doubt the OWH independently developed it's own searchable database of recall petition signers when Backward Omaha probably had already converted the signatures to digital form prior to sending out their infamous postcards. "Outing" recall petition signers is definitely an overt act of intimidation by the OWH. I wonder what city tax breaks they are trying to protect by propping up Mayor Moron…or are they taking their marching orders from Berk/Hath, Kiewit, HDR, Hawkins, et.al.???

  12. Gerard Harbison says:

    One thing I've learned after being stalked, and having my family stalked, by these creeps, is there's no fighting it. You have to embrace transparency. Post lists of political contributions by faculty at your local school or college! Post their party affiliations! Post their salaries! Ask why your school or town employs so few Republicans! Do the OWH staff *really* avoid political involvement, or do they channel it through their families? Post all the info out there, and let the public decide! And pictures! And video! Let a thousand Julian Assanges bloom!

  13. Anonymous says:

    To Political Omaha or Dave Sund: (Some reason I get the 2 confused) When are you going to Tweet about skeletons in Forward Omaha's closet?

  14. Shoe Salesman says:

    Why shouldn't Omahans know who among them are intent on recalling the mayor? These are essentially public documents and should thus be made public. How else can the public check up on its government leaders?
    And Sweeper – what's with all the "Filthy petitioner" language. If I signed the petition, I'd be OK with it being public information and wouldn't feel "filthy" about it? Why do you feel like you did something wrong?

  15. City Hall says:

    From Twitter: Gary and Ace's protege

    * Name Dave Sund
    * Location Omaha, NE
    * Bio Omaha politico, progressive. Sports fan. Information junkie. Opinions are my own.

    He forgot to mention Mayor Suttle Staffer. I think we need to have the same person that look at Gary's county computer and see what activities are going on with the computers on the Third Floor of City Hall.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Republicans complaining about the OWH. You finally have something in common with liberals. Putting A. Smith on that important of a committee is really sad. The guy is Sara Palin clue less.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anybody out there know what impact the passing, or not passing, of the bill to extend the current Federal tax structure will have on Nebraska?

    Not that it is a concern with 1.2B or so shortfall as it is now.

  18. theunicycleguy says:

    the weird harold publishing the names kinda puts a chill on the freedom of speech doesnt it.

    i remember watching one of the ladies on ketv kaleidoscope said that those who signed the petition should pay for the recall election…now, that wont really happen, but i wonder what type of retribution will be sought against those who signed the petition?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Gary and Ace? When is someone going to open up Jim Vokal's closet?

    I love this anonymous blog commenting stuff. We can accuse people of things without any evidence. It's fantastic.

  20. Scott J says:

    Well, I participated in the "explain-a-thon" at omaha.com yesterday and I had enough from Reilly to convince me that it was time to cancel the subscription.

    As far as the "dead man signing," how can anyone NOT see this is a Forward Omaha project? Sign a dead guy's name, send a postcard to his mom asking if said dead guy meant to sign; mom immediately says no, and – BINGO! – Forward Omaha has a "fraud" big enough to claim the whole thing needs to be tossed out.

    That makes FAR more sense than recallers adding a dead guy's name just to ensure they had enough names – as if 2,000+ over wasn't enough.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Scott J –

    You clearly haven't read the stories about the dead guy.

    A dead person did not sign. A dead person's name never actually appears on the petition. The BROTHER of the dead person signed the petition. He is not a registered voter. So, instead of throwing out the signature (which I think Republicans and Democrats can agree on), they attributed his signature to his dead brother. That is how a dead person appeared on

    To suggest that Forward Omaha could somehow get the brother of dead person to sign his own name, and then be counted as his dead brother is giving Forward Omaha a little too much credit.

    Nice try.

  22. Chett (with two t's) says:

    this is incredible!

    people are rising from the dead to recall suttle!

    hell, even zombies dont like mayor slide rule!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Scott J. and Anon 2:14,

    Because of the 2 out of 3 rule (name, birthdate, address) a dead man's name was substituted for his brother's because the brother wasn't registered to vote. That somehow counts as a valid signature because of the same address and last name.

    I think both Democrats and Republicans can agree that the signature of a dead person should not be substituted for a non-registered voter. How many more signatures are there like this?

    I don't want to hear any BS about how the brother's intent should be enough either. He wasn't registered to vote, so legally cannot sign the petition.

  24. Scott J says:

    Thanks for the correction.

    I agree. Zombies – channeling through their brother or not – shouldn't vote or sign petitions.

    Zombies or skeletons in closets should come out, though. If the OWH ever DOES do that promised story on Forward Omaha, I might resubscribe. I can't believe it's a college student alone calling all the shots for them.

  25. Disenfranchised Voter says:

    Anon 2:14,

    For every 'deceased petition signer' there are literally a dozen registered voters whose signatures were tossed out on technicalities. E.g. the circulator incorrectly dated the page with a date earlier than the one on which the voters signed it.

    Where is your 'outrage' over disenfranchising all of these Omaha voters?

    At the end of the day, the voters will decide Suttle's fate just like they decided to put him up for recall and there is nothing you, I, or any legal antics can do about it.

  26. Tired of Conservatives says:

    You guys need to stop insulting Gary DiSilvestro. He has successfully beaten you republicans in several key races. Who cares what was on his computer. You guys are bigots.

  27. Bored by Liberals says:

    You guys need to stop insulting Hal Daub. He has successfully beaten you liberals in several key races. Who cares if he wants to be mayor again. You guys are a-holes.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I, for one, would like to know what was on his computer. If it didn't have anything to do with county work, it's every bit as much as our right to know, just as much as we have a right to know who signed the petition.

  29. Anonymous Coward @ 5:59 says:

    Everytime I google Gerard Harbison I find something more startling. RWP, do you still think that Franklin Roosevelt was weak on national defense?

  30. Anonymous says:

    So, information on people who report crimes is a matter of public record. Is the Omaha Weird Harold going to start publishing the names of women who bring rape allegations?

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well, there are 3 Michael Reillys in the Omaha voter rolls. Two of them are registered Dumbocrats. The third is a registered non-partisan.

    Is this World Herald editor one of the Dumbocrats or is he the non-partisan? Depends on his middle initial. If his middle initial is something other than "P" then he's a registered Dumbocrat. (Or he's not registered to vote, which is a really big deal according to some anonymous cowards who post on this blog.)

  32. Anonymous says:

    Anon 7:10 – Reilly said he was an independent.

    Anon. Coward – Yeah, you really are becoming very creepy.

    NE Voter – I think you probably know Gary. Can you ask him what was on it?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Your ballot should be secret. No other contribution, vote, public speech, or petition signature should be. If I *had* signed the petition, I wouldn't have had a problem having my name published.

    Omaha Independent

  34. Anonymous says:

    The more you attack Gary the more you show your desperation and the type of sleazy characeter assasination tactics that only you use to win political advantage.

    Nice try Denna, Sheriff, G. Mills, Hal, etc….

  35. Anonymous says:

    Nobody on here is obsessed with Gerard Harbison. We are all sick of his deranged personality and want him to leave us alone. Why is it everytime Jane Kleeb, Kyle Michaelis, Lisa Hannah, or Brian Osborn they get attacked by several people anonymously? Gerard is no different, except this is his only social outlet. "I've got no place else to go" – Gerard Harbison.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Boo Hoo on the false outrage there, whiners. Guess what. Go Google "Political contributions by zip code". There are several sites that you can go to, enter a name or zip code, and it tells you every donation made in your area, all your neighbors, etc. This include they donated to, and their occupation. Any time there are documents to either file for office, or petitions to be recalled, those all are public record. Your voter registration is public record, too. If you don't want people to know you're signing a petition, or don't want them to know your political affiliation, what does that say about you? What are you so afraid of people knowing about you?

    Seriously, you're a bunch of whiners who know that if the public has access to the information in a way that that is fair and fully transparent, it could lead to even more signatures being tossed or invalidated. And the big money boys that paid for this will have a temper tantrum.

    Omaha is a joke to the entire state right now over this.

  37. theunicycleguy says:

    @8pm Anonymous aka Omaha Independent…

    you said that no other contribution, vote, public speech, or petition signature should be secret…yet you published your comment anonymously…what gives?

    unless your name really is Omaha Independent. if that's the case, my apologies, Mr. Independent.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Tea baggers why no out rage over almost a trillion more dollars in debt being added to our budget? Is is because you got what you wanted? An extension of the top 2% tax cuts . How many more BMW's and boats do you have to buy? Or do you just put the money in over seas banks? I know you won't use it to hire Americans to go back to work.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, all those people out at the rally at Zorinsky lake were pulling up in BMWs, pulling their boats…no…YACHTs. That's your traditional Tea Partier all right.

  40. Anonymous says:

    anon 7;46 how does it feel to be a tool of the super rich? They get your vote they get your bucks. You get the shaft. You need to stop cutting your own throats.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I don't know about anon 7:46. But I doubt if he or she hates America and or capitalism. But if he is like most people he believes in fair play and the real American way. You know truth and justice and Freedom, It is time for All Americas to make a sacrifice. We got boys in the Middle East who are doing that. At home we got people barely making it. Then you read about Wall Street having record breaking profits. So it is time for them to pay a little back to their country. It was their country that gave them a bail out just a few years ago. The idiots we say love it or leave it . I say I love it and I am going to change it to the better. The Tea Party talk the talk but they sure don't walk the walk.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Hey, Bud (posting anonymously at 7:24) who is trying to add over a trillion dollars to the deficit? Hint: It's not the Tea Party, it's the guys in YOUR party trying to go on one last taxpayer-funded spending spree before their butts are out on the street and the GOP takes over the house.

    Give the outrage some time, numbnuts. When was the bill made public? Yesterday? Kinda impatient, aren't you?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Get real, 8:55! You must get your news from that "fair and balanced" network. The House passed a bill to only renew tax cuts for those making < $250k. Republicans blocked this in the Senate. Extending tax cuts for everyone will cost an extra $700 billion over 10 years. And Republicans have been campaigning against deficits?#!@#&!*? There is a serious mental disorder going on with your side.

  44. Anonymous says:


    Tax cuts don't "cost" anything.
    Spending taxpayers' money costs us.

    You liberals and your distorted view of government amaze me.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I'll…..write…..more….slowly….for….you, 9:33. The point was the Democrats passed a bill that would have decreased the deficit by NOT giving tax cuts on income > $250k. Republicans couldn't stand this, so they blocked the bill in the Senate. Rs also blocked the bill to extend unemployment benefits (it's Christmas and the vast majority of these folks are not unemployed by choice) unless tax cuts were retained for income > $250k (meaning more borrowing from China). So the "party of no deficits" has no problem with blowing up the deficit. You folks just drip with hypocrisy!

  46. Grundle King says:

    Anon 8:46 uses an interesting term…"fair".

    Now the word, in and of itself, is not all that interesting. Indeed, fairness is a great virtue. We'd all love to believe that we receive fair compensation for the work we do, and for the benefits we provide to our society.

    The problem comes when 'fair' is no longer defined based on merit. For Anon 8:46, 'fair' seems to be evolving to this idea that, because someone else makes more money than they do, then there must be some sort of injustice occurring. Now I certainly wouldn't be so naive as to assert that there aren't folks out there getting more than they're worth (Hollywood, pro sports, and the music industry come to mind)…but I'm also not so selfish as to believe that, because I think they're undeserving, they should give their money to me.

  47. Anonymous says:

    So GK, I guess it's meritorious of Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay themselves through capital gains which are only taxed at 15%. What most people on this blog don't seem to realize is that many of the very rich got there using an insider's game or inherited it. With money comes power and the ability to pay for lobbyists which push for legislation that further increases the insiders' wealth. Now we have a $10 trillion debt which we need to start paying off when the economy recovers. Cuts in spending alone aren't going to do it. Taxes will have to go up. Historically the rich have paid higher taxes (and the economy was fine in the 50's, 60's) and they need to now. I'm not rich by any means but I'd have no problem with my taxes rising. We just aren't paying for the govt services that the majority of the public want, and that game can't go on much longer

  48. Anonymous says:

    The fact that a self-proclaimed "conservative" writes on here that tax cuts don't cost anything shows just how deep our problems lie in the United States.

  49. Political Novice says:

    The OWH no doubt got lots of hits on it's internet page however I know of two subscribers (former) who have now cancelled their subscriptions because it posted the online database. Now granted that's just two however that's just among my small circle of friends who have shared that with me and I'm sure they are indicative of many others. The World Herald may have exchanged short term gain for long term loss on this action. I'll admit one was primarily upset because they included her age. I don't understand that because she is hot looking for her age and should be proud of it but I digress.

    It's my feeling that Forward Omaha is using the wrong tactics to defend the mayor. Instead of all the legal challenges they should do a better job of explaining the mayor's actions and the reasons behind his decisions. I think I would concentrate on the angle of who would replace him and what would be their solution to the problems. I would also make it clear that the City Council played a part in the tax increases as well. Many of my friends did not sign the recall but now are having serious doubts because they feel he is not confident of his record and is using any means legally to block a vote. To them it shows weakness and that he feels he would lose if it was up to a vote.

    But what do they know?

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