Saturday, January 15, 2011

Brother, can you spare a vote?

There's really only one rule that matters as you try to save an elected official's job amid people hell-bent on throwing him out of office prematurely.

That would be "don't give people more reasons to recall your boss."

Let's just say that with friends like Forward Omaha, Mayor Jim Suttle doesn't need enemies. But as it turns out, the enemies on Suttle's payroll are a hell of a lot more dangerous that the ones who have been out to get him for months now.

Forward Omaha's argument to keep Suttle in the mayor's office is, simply, that barring malfeasance or criminal activity, people really have no good reason to kick an elected official to the curb. We have these things called "elections," and they ought to be respected.

GUESS WHO just associated the specter of "criminal activity" with the mayor? And guess who never got the memo about digging-abort procedures in the event of a hole?

And guess who was trying, it would seem, to turn every homeless person in Omaha into a "no" vote on the recall, either by hook or by crook?

And guess whose harebrained scheme just blew up in Jim Suttle's face?

It's all in this morning's
Omaha World-Herald, these tales of yet more homeless roundups, yet more shady promises of turning -- wink wink, nudge nudge -- society's ultimate outcasts into respectable campaign canvassers overnight. Frankly, one would be forgiven for thinking this had to be a case of vote buying and election fraud, because the whole notion is otherwise just too incredibly moronic to be legit:
When campaign workers called the Open Door Mission and asked if they could load up homeless people and drive them to the election office — with the promise of $5 and a job — they were told “no” two days in a row.

It appeared to be an attempt to “exploit” the homeless and it was wrong, said Candace Gregory, head of the Open Door Mission.

The refusals, however, didn't stop Forward Omaha from sending three buses to the homeless shelter Wednesday and loading up about 10 men before a staff member with the shelter intervened, Gregory said.


The campaign handed out fliers to the homeless people Wednesday that clearly urged voting “no” and included a sample ballot with the “no” marked.

“I strongly agree they have the right to vote, but not in this circumstance, where they're told to ‘Vote this way and you get this (money),'” said Gregory, who noted the mission provides its clients with transportation to polling places on Election Day.

She also said many of the homeless people did not make the distinction that the $5 was payment to attend a training seminar. Some thought they'd get the money if they voted.

Noelle Obermeyer, a spokesman for Forward Omaha, said the person who called the Open Door Mission was a volunteer. She said the volunteer did not tell anyone in a leadership position in the organization that the mission had rejected the request.

She also said the fliers distributed were not produced by Forward Omaha and were not handed out with the organization's approval.

“Leadership didn't know about these things,” said Obermeyer.

WHAT? This strains credulity, to be charitable.

"Leadership didn't know about these things"?

The fliers distributed weren't a product of Forward Omaha?

Nobody said anything to anybody about the homeless shelter telling the anti-recall group to take a hike
two days running? We're really supposed to believe this?

Not credible. Not credible at all. People are gullible, but gullibility has its limits.

And Forward Omaha just blew right though them.

THE MAYOR doesn't need to send over a staffer to be the group's new overseer. The mayor needs to send over a staffer to can every Forward Omaha official who left fingerprints on what may be a debacle of criminal proportions.

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