George Costanza Town?

Separated at Birth…

First for your Friday afternoon, a little SAB…

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Unicameral candidate Ian Swanson (R-LD31)!

Gowdy - Swanson 04

(Yes, yes, I know many of you wanted Draco Malfoy for Swanson. But frankly Gowdy has more Malfoy in him, so I went the more direct route for Swanson.)


The Out-of-Towners

ICYMI, the latest podcast on The Wheels Down Politics Show features Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal discussing Con Agra’s move from Omaha to Chicago.

Vokal is pushing the theme of tax reform for boosting Nebraska’s economy in many different ways, to not only attract business, but more and more talented people.

There has to be some truth to that, though just how much of that affected the Con Agra decision in the long or short run is unknown.

What seems to be clearer is that when Con Agra hires a guy from Chicago to run the Omaha-based company, he is going to be inclined to move the company to his hometown.

Funny how that works.


The Jobbers Canyon Rats would be a great band name

Erin Grace wrote a long, interesting tome in the OWH, kvetching about Omaha being told, “It’s not you, it’s me!” from the CEO of Con Agra. She essentially tells Omaha to go out with the gals for Appletinis and start flirting with some really cute Fortune 500 companies.

But it’s interesting to see her, and other OWH writers, already longing for the days of Jobber’s Canyon. They complain about the “west-Omaha modern” design of the Con Agra campus, and “what could have been”.

I’m not sure I get it.

Sure, wouldn’t it have been awesome if Jobbers Canyon had been filled with modern businesses and people and restaurants and art and…and….

Was that going to happen?

Sure the current Old Market from 10th to 12th Street is pretty great. But how many businesses on the 12th to 13th Street stretch have failed? You get to 13th Street and you may as well be on the 16th Street “Mall”. Omaha should have resisted Con Agra back in the 80s? How much of that would have been empty today?

But hey, maybe it’s me. Maybe knocking down half of the Con Agra “McMansions” will provide tons of new development. (Though, last time I checked, the Embassy Suites isn’t going anywhere, and THAT’s where the Old Market would have extended.)

Maybe just eat up that Green Space and driveway along 10th Street, right? That’s gotta be prime real estate. Maybe a new Wal-Mart.

And am I the  only one chuckling that Congressman Brad Ashford called Con Agra “a bunch of rats”?

That from the guy constantly calling for more civility.


You can take the woman out of America’s Dairyland….

On another note, a woman from Wisconsin was found not to be the right fit for the job as Nebraska Economic Development director.

Apparently she didn’t know the players, didn’t know how they worked, and left VIPs wondering why she wasn’t in-touch with them.

Hmm. Hiring a staff from mostly outside of the state to run the state’s government. Doesn’t always work out.

Funny how that works.


Those “Unprofessional” Russians

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer and some of her colleagues took to the Ohio Clock near the Senate chamber to discuss the President’s lack of a coherent policy towards Syria, where Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles.

Seems the Russians said they were going in to fight ISIS, but then ended up bombing U.S. allied rebels who were fighting Syrian President Assad (he of crossing Obama’s “red line”).

And now the President and the Secretary of Defense and the rest of the Commander in Chief’s staff are trying to hold press conferences claiming the Russians are “unprofessional” and on the wrong side of history and using other harsh words against Russia’s bombers.

In her press call yesterday, Senator Fischer put it mildly when she said…

“It seems fair to suggest that the White House has fundamentally misread both Russia’s imperialistic intentions and events on the ground in the Middle East.

“It’s greatly concerning that the administration is continuously caught off guard and publicly expresses confusion over obvious consequences and foreseeable occurrences.”

Makes you wonder how the President’s plans will go once he gives Iran $150 Billion.

They’ll probably just spend it on stuff that we’re into…


McConnell ain’t goin’ anywhere

And in her call, Senator Fischer echoed Senator Chuck Grassley when she said that she has not heard any word about Senator Mitch McConnell resigning as Majority Leader or anyone stepping up to challenge him in any way.

After Speaker Boehner announced he was stepping down, many on the GOP Right were calling for McConnell to do the same. Senator Ted Cruz wouldn’t voice any support for McConnell, but only said, it was a decision for McConnell to make.


The road to Cham-bana

Have a great weekend and Go Huskers!!!

And don’t forget to tell your friends (and enemies) to read Leavenworth St. and listen to The Wheels Down Politics Show! Thanks for spreading the word!


  1. I think we need to erect barbed wire and gun towers along the Platte River now, to deter Omaha ‘economic refugees’ from claiming asylum in Lincoln.

    This asylum has too many inmates already.

  2. Hmm. Hiring a staff from mostly outside of the state to run the state’s government. Doesn’t always work out. says:

    Kind of like a guy from out-of-state writing a blog about in-state politics

  3. Ian Swanson says:

    All I can say is, it’s a privilege to have someone relate me to Rep. Gowdy, someone who is serving his constituents very well in Congress. Thanks to Street Sweeper for the side by side!

  4. Bad times in Nebraska says:

    Yes the ConAgra campus was a huge mistake, they should have developed it into a haven for art, trendy dining, overpriced loft apartments, and urban outfitter clothing stores so that hipsters 30 years later would have a place to hang out when they leave benson on their loud, quite ironically not green at all, and annoying mopeds.

  5. Ricky says:

    Ha Good One at 3:23. Doesn’t Street Sweeper live in Virginia? How does he know what goes on in Nebraska politics?
    He thinks Jim Vokal is someone in the know about something. Does being Pete Ricketts toady qualify you for anything?
    Is being on the Platte whatever actually that guys job? Why doesn’t Vokal get a job at the post office and take a real job?
    Also I see ISIS has struck again. Senator Chambers (and ours) ISIS: America’s gun lobby and the NRA which makes it possible for guys like that Oregon shooter to have access to 17 guns.

  6. TexasAnnie says:

    Well since you pointed it out, Street Sweeper, I went and read the Erin Grace piece and found it entertaining. The only obvious oversight of an otherwise insightful opinion was the TIF financing aspect of the ConAgra deal. And that aspect will place significantly in the next redevelopment too, don’t ‘cha think? Omahans will get suckered again!

  7. repentinglawyer says:

    Sweeper, Since rats disert sinking ships, Ashford could have chosen a better analogy. Still before shareholder value there was a time of corporate citizenship. Probably will not make a comeback, but pleasant nostalgia.

  8. TexasAnnie says:

    C’mon, repentinglawyer! What time was that? History reports ever present corporate greed; that’s good capitalism. It’s when government gets in bed with corporate greed that the rest of us get screwed. I don’t blame good capitalists. I put the blame squarely where it belongs: the unicam, the mayors, and the governors.

  9. Macdaddy says:

    ConAgra wants to leave Omaha? Fine. I’ll just buy some of their stock and they’ll be tanking in a week. See you in Chapter 11 Court!

  10. Bad Times in Nebraska says:

    I spoke with someone very close to the situation last night and here’s my take away:

    While publicly this is a big black eye for Mayor Stothert and Gov. Ricketts, there was nothing they possibly could have done. Connolly was thinking about this before he even became CEO in April. This had less to do with money than it did with the brand, the image, and as most people have heard, where Connolly wants to spend his time.

    This is definitely unfortunate, but the two aforementioned executives did everything right. Sometimes you lose no matter how hard you try.

  11. repentinglawyer says:

    Texas Annie, your history is off, corporate greed is not a necessary element of capitalist markets, and certainly not at the level of the gilded age we have seen recently. A different model prevailed during 40s, 50s,and early 60s, and prevails elsewhere. It is a multiple stakeholder model. The idea that the system requires bloated dow jones and salaries from golconda is in fact the non normal. Greed is an endemic weakness of humanity but need not be celebrated.

  12. repentinglawyer says:

    Bluejay, Possibly yes, but I go with ignorance of history, several real clowns in the 19th century and Harding always ranks very high among dolts. Why Bluejay? Toronto fan?

  13. Macdaddy says:

    Sweeper, the relevant data for why the ConAgra HQ change is this: Nebraska state income tax top rate: 6.8%, Illinois top rate: 3.3%. Yep! ConAgra just hired a guy who is only looking out for his own bottom line.

  14. Sparkles says:

    Since no corporations pay it, ‘top rate’ is irrelevant.

    According to Tax Foundation, one of Pete’s Platte Institute favorite voodoo economic compadres, Nebraska is ranked the 29th most competitive in the nation in their 2015 State Business Tax Climate ratings, Illinois trails Nebraska, at 31st, and Iowa is among the least competitive states in the nation at 41st.

  15. bynd says:

    How ignorant is it Icky Ricky, to attack the one who provides the space for you to put your alien conspiracy theories out there for all to see what a fool you are? It doesn’t make it his fault you continually do so. And how embarrassing is it that someone from Virginia knows way more about what is going on in your state and city than you do?

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