Showing posts with label recall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recall. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well, that's done with

Unbelievably, Jim Suttle survived his own campaign. Not to mention Tuesday's mayoral recall election in Omaha.

This is testament to the basic decency and even temper of the local electorate, as well as to fate handing hizzoner such an obviously self-interested and vaguely creepy lynch mob. It helped that the recall campaign's money man blatantly wanted Suttle's job for himself.

And the prospect of Dave Nabity as Omaha's mayor is enough to drive a man to . . . Council Bluffs.

Iowa, that is.

Gamblin' joints, trailer parks.

Suttle lived to fight out another couple-odd years
at city hall -- or a couple of odd years, take your pick -- by 51 percent to 49. It shouldn't have been that close. (See "Recall People, Creepy" and "Nabity, Dave.")

But it was that close, and it would be hard not to lay that one right at the clay feet of Forward Omaha, the moniker for Suttle's anti-recall effort, and its insane scheme to round up the homeless at local shelters, bus them to the election commissioner's office to register and vote, and then pay them $5 to "train" as "canvassers."
Wink wink, nudge . . . know what I mean, know what I mean?

That a move as smooth (not) as that was a godsend to the recall forces is evidenced by the election mailer above. Several of those went out in the campaign's waning days. And ads like this one began to flood the Omaha airwaves:

SEE WHAT I mean?

Without Suttle's political "friends" handing Nabity's Citizens for Omaha's Future the baseball bat it used to bludgeon the mayor, the spread -- again -- really shouldn't have been just 2 percentage points. Not even close.

At the outset of the recall effort, an Omaha World-Herald poll found that only 47 percent of respondents favored recalling Suttle, despite his 33-percent approval rating. Some 39 percent in the survey favored ousting the mayor, while 14 percent just didn't know.

Not only that, but according to the World-Herald's poll story Oct. 24, just about everybody had at least some misgivings about the whole thing:

If a recall election were held, Suttle might benefit from uncertainty over his potential replacement. The poll found that a large majority was concerned “somewhat” or “a lot” about voting in a recall election without knowing who the next mayor would be.

That concern was expressed even by about half of those who said they would sign a recall petition or vote to remove Suttle.

THAT WAS A LOT for the anti-recall forces to work with. They squandered it. More precisely, Forward Omaha squandered that public-opinion largess -- all in one swell foop, as a popular Omaha disc-jockey used to say decades ago.

If all the mayor's men had managed to pick up just half of the undecided vote -- which you kind of figure could break that way unmolested -- Suttle wins in a cakewalk. Instead, the undecideds went roughly 10 percentage points to 4 percentage points for the recall-istas.

When Forward Omaha showed up at the homeless shelters with those school buses, the only bum's rush ended up being that of undecided voters into the "throw the bum out" camp. No doubt that brought a smile to even the angriest recaller's face.

In the end, though, the anti-Suttle camps garnered fewer votes by Tuesday night than signatures collected on recall petitions, and just 8,000 more votes than the final number of names verified by the Douglas County election commissioner back in December. Basically, the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee and Citizens for Omaha's Future didn't accomplish too much during the electioneering phase of the recall effort.

NOT ACCOMPLISHING much, however, beats beating yourself every time. Except in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, where the Good Lord watches out for little
children, fools, drunks . . . and Jim Suttle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As inevitable as the January cold

Two comments and a question about Omaha's mayoral recall election next week:

First off, you knew this was coming, didn't you? The mailer (above) by the people seeking to recall Mayor Jim Suttle, I mean.

It was inevitable the second the supreme idiots in charge of Forward Omaha -- the largest
anti-recall group -- decided it would be a fine idea to bus the homeless to the election commissioner's office to register and engage in a little early voting. Well, that and get paid $5 for "training" as election workers (wink . . . smirk).

Second, I really, really hope the Nebraska State Patrol finds probable cause for arresting these morons for something, that they are prosecuted, that they are convicted, and that the judge throws the book at them . . . though misdemeanors the charges be. Political stupidity of that magnitude -- particularly that which sullies the electoral process -- ought not to go unpunished by the universe.

I'll probably still vote to retain Suttle in office, but it'll be a close call after this fiasco.

The main reason to vote "no" in my book is the threat of a
Mayor Dave Nabity. That eventuality would
soooooooo be deep into "abandon all hope" territory for this fair city.

Still, one must harbor at least a couple of grave doubts about Suttle after he failed to immediately fire --
not just demote -- anyone connected to the bus-the-homeless abomination.

And now the question:
The pro-recall mailer above directs folks to this video on Tom Becka's KFAB-radio web page. How is it, exactly, that some recall-istas came to be staking out the election office from a perfect vantage point for taping the homeless folks come off the buses wanting to know where the hell their $5 was?

Just asking.

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.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Can you help a mayor out?

I'd like to have been at the Forward Omaha staff meeting that birthed the bright idea of busing the homeless to vote early in Omaha's mayoral recall election . . . and then paying them $5 for "training" on how to canvass voters.

I really would have liked to be there. That kind of stupidity -- a public-relations
(at a minimum) gaffe of such complete idiocy that it almost makes one wonder whether the recall-istas have a point -- doesn't come around all that often. It's kind of like a total solar eclipse of dumb . . . you kick yourself if you miss it.

Anyway, the Omaha World-Herald, in this afternoon's paper, tells the tale of why Mayor Jim Suttle is probably as good as dead. And why Omaha is on the cusp of sliding from everyday, ordinary chaos into real chaos -- the kind where there are fistfights at City Council meetings and lawyers trying to figure out how a city can file for bankruptcy.

NO, REALLY. Read this and stand in awe:
A decision to bus homeless people to the election office by Mayor Jim Suttle's campaign has prompted an investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol and an apology from the mayor.

Suttle says his campaign will no longer bus the homeless to the election office on the same day they are paid $5 to attend a get-out-the-vote training seminar.

But Suttle says he stands by his decision to offer a ride to people in east Omaha who wanted to cast an early vote in west Omaha. But he says the busing plan should never have been mixed with the training seminar.

He says he did not know about the combination until after the fact.

“Unfortunately, someone from Forward Omaha decided to combine the dual efforts to assist voters and recruit election day workers. This was a mistake,” said Suttle.

The busing controversy ignited criticism around Omaha, amid reports from a witness at the election office that the homeless men and women were coached on how to vote and were paid $5 after — or before — they cast a ballot.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said he asked the Nebraska State Patrol to investigate the incident, because he wants to ensure that people have confidence in the election process. “It seems to be a question of perception. It's important people believe in the process. If there isn't any impropriety, that's fine,” said Kleine.
ACTUALLY, I was once at a staff meeting where something that spectacularly dumb was floated. The only difference was that particular spectacularly idiotic brainstorm was allowed to eventually blow itself out before the public could get a hold of it.

You can read all about that one, at a radio station we'll call Pope FM to protect the guilty, here. Nevertheless, I'll give you just a little taste from the 2002 diary:

Honestly, I desperately want to give the station a contemporary, non-dyspeptic sound. I desperately want to reach out to young people. But in such a short time, you can only do what you can do with the resources you have. And you have to be deliberate in what you're doing.

Buying a Humvee, I don't think, can be described as exercising due deliberation.

That's right, ladies and germs, Don wants to get someone to donate the scratch for a Humvee -- the Pope FM Humvee -- which we then would have painted like the Vatican flag to play off the theme "The Church Militant."

I am the only convert left on the staff, and I can't convince these zealots how badly that might piss off people who have no clue what the Church Militant is. So much so that we wouldn't have the opportunity to explain it (and so much so that it might not make a difference when you do).

And then we will face the reaction of the Protestants. ;-) As a friend comments about such things, "Their zeal consumes them."

Apart from the PR-nightmare possibilities, I can think of a lot neater things $35,000 could buy instead of a used Hummer.

IN THIS CASE, like I said, the plan was allowed to quietly die despite the initial enthusiasm. Sometimes, the good Lord is just looking out for you.

And sometimes He's not. Enter Forward Omaha and its guy, Suttle.

It's amazing how self-absorbed some folks, some entire organizations, can be. It's amazing how unaware some folks can be.

You take a nasty, nasty recall battle. Add a seriously divided city. Throw in the Age of the Tea Party. Season liberally with an ongoing, severe budget crisis brought on by severe recession.

Add a bunch of homeless people -- some of them seriously down on their luck, others seriously chemically dependent, yet others seriously mentally ill. All of them not exactly civically engaged.

Round them up at a local homeless shelter to go vote early, if not often. Bus them out to the 'burbs to vote at the election commissioner's office. Make sure they vote the right way. Give them a fin for "training."

Doug Einung, 54, of Omaha stood in line with one busload of men and women for about 35 minutes Wednesday. He said the homeless were repeatedly urged to vote “no.”

“Everybody was getting directions from her, and she was telling them to vote ‘no.' And, some of them, they weren't paying attention. They'd get up close (to the voting booth) and one guy asked, ‘How are we voting again?' And she'd say, ‘No,' ” said Einung, who described himself as a conservative who supports Suttle's recall.

Einung said one of the men in the group smelled of alcohol.

But Einung said he heard no talk of money.

One homeless man, Michael Sergeon, had initially told reporters on Wednesday that he was paid $5 to vote. A few minutes later, Sergeon retracted his statement, saying he was paid $5 to hand out campaign brochures.

WHAT'S THERE to be misunderstood? More importantly, what is there in any of this to convince Omahans that booting Suttle, taking the budgetary hit from all those elections and reaping -- possibly -- the whirlwind wouldn't be an improvement over a mayor who puts his political life in the hands of the Keystone Kops?

To employ the lofty language of political science . . . holy crap!

Let's not even get into the persuasive art involved in some scruffy dude trying to hand you a "Vote No" brochure between requests for "anything to help a brother out" and a smoke.

No, I'm looking at the newspaper, and watching the local news on TV, and I'm starting to think I'm back home in Louisiana. Just what Omaha always aspired to.

The Mayor Suttle Recall Committee might have started the race to the bottom by hiring some champions of the world as petition circulators, but Forward Omaha may have just emerged a winner. This, of course, means Jim Suttle may have just emerged a big loser.

Well, I hear Louisiana's former governor, Edwin Edwards, is getting out of the federal pen. Maybe somebody can slip somebody a little somethin', bend a few Nebraska state laws and get him on the mayoral ballot.

Time to embrace the chaos, 'cause chaos is what we're likely to get.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Beware this New Year's resolution

We're screwed.

Omaha's embattled mayor, Jim Suttle, has a New Year's resolution as he steels himself for a recall vote this month. It's to better listen to us, the citizens of this fair city.

Like I said, we are so screwed. I mean, we thought the city was broke. That things were bad enough to recall Suttle for, among other things, not listening to us. Wait until he
does start listening to the vox populi -- we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Trust me, the city will be bankrupt in a week if the mayor is sincere about all this listening stuff.

FOR YEARS, the Omaha taxpayer has railed about high property taxes. The Omaha driver has railed about high wheel taxes. The Omaha consumer has railed about our high below-average sales taxes.

During all those years, nobody cared that city hall was making sweetheart deals with the police and fire unions to buy labor peace (and defer pay raises) in the name of holding the line on property taxes, because that's what the voters wanted. It was the municipal version of taking out a home-equity loan to pay down the credit cards --
after all, what could go wrong?

We're entitled, don't you know? Since the last economic slump -- the one before this, the mother of all modern economic slumps -- the Omaha voter has demanded, and gotten, almost-annual property-tax cuts.
And then. . . .

Chickens. Homaha. Roost.

You know what started to fly then. In fact, it started to hit the fan. The tax revenue stopped flowing, and the bills kept on coming. The city pension fund was about broke.

"Cut the budget!" the angry voter says.
"Not THAT part of the budget!" a hundred angry neighborhood associations and civic groups demand.

"Where's my property-tax cut?"

"Fill the damn potholes!"

"Don't close my library!"

"The cops and firefighters are making out like bandits! Stop giving away the store!"

BUT WAIT . . . the cops and firefighters won't agree to that. The contract fight will end up in arbitration. Omaha will get screwed in arbitration -- it always has. Take the concessions the mayor got.

"The cops and firefighters are making out like bandits! Stop giving away the store!"

No, really, this is the best we can do. We bargained the Cadillac owners down to a nice Chevy.

"The cops and firefighters are making out like bandits! Stop giving away the store!"

You're not making sense. The Commission of Industrial Relations will not rule kindly for the city. That's almost a lock.

"Recall the cop-coddler!"

IF IT were me in the mayor's office, I'd be tempted to resign and let the next sucker try to figure out -- after carefully listening to the fine citizens of Omaha -- exactly how one goes about letting the people have their cake and eat yours, too.

Good luck to Mayor Suttle. He's going to need it, particularly if he survives the recall election.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

And they all shine on. . . .

It's a drag, man.

Coups. D'etat, da city, da whatever. Recalls, free for alls, agitation, confrontation, conflagration -- they're all a drag, man.

The Mayor Suttle Recall Committee is a drag. Recall-committee member John Chatelain is a drag. Recall "money man" Dave Nabity is not only a drag, he's harshing all of Omaha's mellow.

And from the first time that they really done us -- ooh, they done us -- they done us good. I heard that on a record somewhere, and somebody ought to have a bed-in to protest this crap. At least that way, we wouldn't have to go far when the recall-istas wanted to do us good . . . again.

Personally -- being that I'm still a work in progress when it comes to peace and love and enlightenment -- I'd prefer to have a protest action built around "Everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey," then have 28,720 chimpanzees all flinging their feces at John Chatelain, Dave Nabity (right) and their trusty flack Jeremy Aspen in a bit of symbolic political theater.

But like I said, that's just me. And my monkeys.

IF IT SEEMS that I might be a bit around the bend, here, just keep in mind that reading the Omaha World-Herald is getting to be a drag, too. Like, I mean, look:
A civil war has erupted within the group pushing for Mayor Jim Suttle’s recall.

A member of the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee — Omaha attorney John Chatelain — accused possible mayoral candidate David Nabity on Wednesday
of trying to “take control” of the committee to “enhance his mayoral ambitions.”

He said Nabity tried to exert control over the committee by raising the bulk of the money for the group from his friends and possible supporters.

Nabity acknowledged he plans to start a second pro-recall committee but vehemently denied Chatelain’s charges. He said the new committee will include businessmen who want to be involved in government and campaign affairs in Omaha long after the recall has ended.

“I’m afraid Mr. Chatelain has a warped sense of the facts, and his comments are so far off-base that it’s not worth responding to,” said Nabity, who added that Chatelain was angry because of run-ins they had during the campaign.

A Republican, Nabity is not a newcomer to politics or controversy. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006.

Last year, he helped to form a group of businessmen and women called the Omaha Alliance for the Private Sector. The group has been highly critical of Suttle and the city’s contracts with firefighters and police unions.

IT'S PRETTY BAD when there's just too much hate for one target to accommodate, you know?

Watch out! Knife

It became clear Wednesday that Nabity has provided crucial support to the group.

Nabity has said he was not a part of the group, but he acknowledged Wednesday he has been a key fundraiser for the group, persuading his friends and supporters to donate to the campaign. He also acknowledged he was instrumental in bringing a national recall expert to Omaha — Paul Jacobs — to help manage and organize the paid circulators.

Nabity said the group came to him for help.

But Chatelain said Nabity came to the group, saying he had friends who wanted to donate and who wanted the committee to hire paid circulators.

Nabity raised about $200,000 of the $287,000 the committee eventually collected, Chatelain said.

It was after Nabity raised the money and hired Jacobs that he began to try to “take control” of the group, said Chatelain.

At one point, Nabity asked Chatelain to step down. Nabity then said if he wasn’t allowed to put his people in charge of the recall effort, he would take “his donors” and start a new committee, Chatelain said.

“At this point, we began to suspect that Mr. Nabity was putting his own mayoral campaign team in place and wanted to control the recall campaign through it,” Chatelain said in a written statement.

WHAT CAN I say about this kind of insanity? Nothing. At least nothing beyond telling folks to step back, stay safe and enjoy the show.

Fortunately, I don't have to -- and it's just total Instant Karma that this is happening this week -- because the great, late John Lennon already did:
Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna look you right in the face,
Better get yourself together darlin',
Join the human race,
How in the world you gonna see,
Laughin' at fools like me,
Who on earth d'you think you are,
A super star,
Well, right you are.

Well we all shine on,

Like the moon and the stars and the sun,
Well we all shine on,
Ev'ryone come on.
AND JOHN is just getting warmed up. He also has some questions for the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee:
You say you got a real solution
Well you know
we'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be alright?
BUT NO. The recall-istas are not interested in making sense and addressing public concerns.
Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m.

Ev'rybody's talking about Ministers,

Sinisters, Banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Popeyes,
And bye bye, bye byes.

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation,
flagellation, regulation, integrations,
meditations, United Nations,
ME, I'M sick of arguing. I'm sick of being sick of the perpetually outraged.

And all I am saying is give Jim a chance.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Better recalls through magical thinking

So, Mr. Recall-Petition Circulator, what's the deal here? Why are you trying to get rid of Mayor Jim Suttle?

Long story short, it's all about taxes. Omaha can't afford a spendthrift, tax-crazy mayor like that!

Here's the deal.
You see, Jim Suttle . . . mumble mumble . . . uh . . . broken promises . . . uh . . . union deal that cost taxpayers a million dollars. OK, I'm gonna skip some of this stuff . . . mumble mumble . . . you can read it for yourself, but they sayin' it's gonna cost $900,000 to recall him out of office, but that's a bunch of bullcrap . . . mumble mumble . . . he ain't worth supportin'.

It's all perfectly clear, and it's all brought to you by "consultants and people running the campaign who are kind of, you know, conservative . . . fiscal conservative types from D.C. and stuff."

So just rest assured that the recall people ain't full of bullcrap or nothin' like Jim Suttle. I mean, would they lie to you?

PAY NO ATTENTION to those media people behind the curtains telling you about a 2-percent restaurant tax.

No! No! It's a 15-percent tax! Yeah . . . that's the ticket!

Seriously, man. Would a petition-consulting company that's "all over" lie to you, Mr. Voter? No!

And not only would such a big company. . . one that's "like a conservative, libertarian, sort of tea-party effort" . . . not only would it not lie to you about a 15-percent tax, it'll help defray the cost of a recall vote just to show you that the guys in charge are as swell a bunch of guys as ever tried to run a mayor out of office.

TRUST US, the taxpayers won't have to pay a dime for a slew of special elections.

How? Ancient Chinese secret . . . money men!

"Well, if we run with a spring election it won't cost anything extra. But we do have backers that, if they say it's gotta be a special election, we have backers that are willing to pay it."

Who are these backers of whom you speak?

"Well, I'm not sure who all these money men are, but they're, they're the ones who are behind this."


AS IT turns out, the "money men" are . . . the federal government! Just the kind of fiscal-conservative, libertarian, tea-party solution that we need!

I don't know why we never thought that the conservative, libertarian, tea-party recall organizers would have all the federal-funding-of-local-elections bases covered.

See, a recall vote would be mostly paid for with federal money "because it's an election."

It all makes so much sense if you don't think about it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why am I not surprised?

An anti-recall group is sending out postcards to people whose names appeared on recall petitions asking if they intended to sign on to the campaign to remove Mayor Jim Suttle from office.

Noelle Obermeyer, co-treasurer of Forward Omaha, said Monday that postcards were mailed last week to some petition signers, although she didn't know the exact number. She said the postcards ask people to call the Forward Omaha office to report any potential problems.

“We've had people call back and say, ‘I signed the petition, but I didn't know it was to recall the mayor,'” Obermeyer said.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Omaha's stinking, steaming pile of recall

Sometimes, I'm so right I disgust myself.

I didn't want to be right.

But it looks like we're going to have a mayoral-recall election in Omaha. From the number of signatures, it even looks like there's a chance we'll actually throw Mayor Jim Suttle out of office.

Let the unbudgeted hemorrhage of city funds begin. Special elections ain't cheap.

Anyway, this is what I wrote here July 3, 2009:
OK, I'll start by saying this: Omaha, generally, is a city that can withstand idiot politicians without missing a beat. The Big O's new mayor, however, is going to put us to the test.

Sometime in the next four years -- if not the next four months -- I predict we'll not only cry uncle, we'll be crying "Walt Calinger." If not "Fred Conley."
AT THE TIME, I wasn't particularly enamored of the new mayor. He was not off to a good start.

He wasn't leading on budget matters, and he seemingly was doing his best to make the worst impression. And you know what they say about not getting a second chance to make a good first impression.

Well, now Jim Suttle knows what they mean, too.

If you regularly read this space, you know I've taken my shots at the mayor -- really hard shots at the mayor. Really, he did not get off to a good start in anybody's eyes.

Ironically, though, I think Suttle has been gaining his footing this year. He's been starting to lead, and he is acting responsibly on the city's budget problems, realizing we can't cut our way out of the financial thicket the city finds itself in.

The money has to come from somewhere, and in a commonwealth, that would be your pocket.

OBVIOUSLY, the spoiled teen-agers who make up way too much of the city's electorate think otherwise. But having no plan, no foresight and no clue is no excuse to call off a good temper tantrum.

No matter who has to pay for it.

Recall elections were meant to be a last resort for the electorate. Now, in this age of unending political warfare, it's a first-strike option when the chips don't fall your way. And it's deadly when wielded by people whose good sense is only underperformed by their maturity and intelligence.

I call it the downside of universal suffrage. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is only as good as . . . the people. And when the people have it in their minds to be a bunch of spoiled brats, you're kind of hosed.

But that's where we are in Omaha, by God, Nebraska. Folks seemingly have come to the conclusion that sh*tting in their own bed is how you run a city and, in that respect, they display much less sense than my dogs.

Nornally, I'd say, "Well, it's their bed." But it's not.

The recall-mad people of Omaha are sh*tting in my bed, too. And yours.

Perhaps it's time to make that fact well understood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It helps to know thy enemy

Suttle recall spokesman Jeremy Aspen explains to the Omaha press that
the Republican Guard committed volunteers have crushed the mayor.

In case you were inclined to mistake the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee for serious people with legitimate concerns and a well-thought-out plan for righting what's wrong with Omaha, your last illusion just disappeared.

In its place is a clear picture of a bunch of spoiled, angry asshats taking the money of gullible, equally irate Omahans and using it to throw a very public and -- at times -- very funny temper tantrum.

Take Saturday morning, for example. A gaggle of petition circulators in Elkhorn spotted some easy marks walking down the street and started selling hard the notion of how Omahans needed to get rid of that no-good, tax-raisin', outta-touch scalawag Jim Suttle.

One of the people they were trying to convince to throw the bum out, however, was . . .
the bum. Mayor Jim Suttle.

IT'S ALL in this morning's Omaha World-Herald:
Recall petition workers unwittingly made their pitch to Suttle Saturday morning as he took a chilly walking tour of the Elkhorn business district with a small group of local boosters.

“He thought it was kind of funny,” said his spokeswoman, Aida Amoura.

The three recall backers — two men and one woman — approached the group.

Suttle played along for a while, said Elkhorn businesswoman Jennifer Pospichal, who described the exchange this way:
“What are you guys working on?” Suttle asked.

“We're trying to recall the mayor,” one man said.

Pospichal said it was obvious that the recall worker, who told Suttle he was not from Omaha, didn't realize whom he was talking to. She asked him if he was interested in meeting the mayor. When the recall worker said he was too busy for that, she motioned in Suttle's direction.

The man looked shocked, said Pospichal, an officer of the Elkhorn Station Main Street group.

“It was really hilarious,” she said. “He just turned in his tracks and started walking on the other side of the street.”
OBVIOUSLY, the guy -- the whole bunch of recall backers -- had no clue who Suttle was, or that they were trying to get the mayor to sign up to recall himself.

The recall committee wants you to believe these people are eminently qualified to tell Omahans -- who
can recognize their own mayor when they bump into him on the street -- why their mayor is a bum. And then cajole them into signing a recall petition, triggering a special recall election that the city can't afford.

Which, of course, likely would end up raising taxes that much more, because the money has to come from somewhere. Just like mercenary recall workers, I guess.

What may be even funnier than some clueless carpetbagger asking the target of a recall petition to sign on the dotted line was how recall spokesman Jeremy Aspen tried to spin the unspinnable:
Aspen said the non-Omahan who spoke with Suttle was a paid worker who helps “coach” other petition circulators as they seek potential signers. Actual circulators must be Nebraska residents.

For Suttle and the recall workers to show up at the same place Saturday was a coincidence, Aspen said, but it illustrates that Suttle opponents are working hard to get the nearly 27,000 signatures needed to force a special election. The recall group has until Friday to turn in its petitions.

“It does demonstrate our presence,” he said.

IT DEMONSTRATES something, all right.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sick of Suttle? Vote for the San with the plan

Omaha always has loved a good joke.

Take the court jesters trying to recall Mayor Jim Suttle, for example. About a third of the steering committee doesn't even live in Omaha, couldn't vote for the mayor and certainly can't vote to recall him.

But they can tell you to. Now,
that's funny.

Almost as funny as a bunch of slumlords property owners and greasy-spoon hash slingers
restaurateurs trying to oust a mayor 14 months into his term, all because he's raising taxes, all because the city's broke. Oh . . . and because he hasn't gone beyond the past two years of budget cutting to decimate city services in ways the recall folks thus far have failed to specify.

Folks, that's comedy.

BUT WAIT . . . there's more. If the "concerned citizens" garner enough signatures, the recall election will cost $250,000 to $300,000 Omaha doesn't have.

And if voters give Suttle the ol' heave-ho, taxpayers could be on the hook for
another $300 grand -- $600 grand if there's a runoff. Like I said, Omahans love a good joke.

Sometimes we elect them. Other times, they ride in to tickle our funny bones unbidden.

Undoubtedly, recalling a mayor a year and a half into his term -- barring some high crime or misdemeanor -- is funny.

That non-Omahans are leading the charge is even funnier.

Racking up huge deficits to recall a mayor because he allegedly is taxing and spending too much . . . by God, that's getting pretty near pee-your-pants hilarious.

BUT IT'S ALL missing a certain something -- a coup de grace of ridiculous hilarity, so to speak.

That why, if the prairie Jacobins manage to oust Jim Suttle, I say we throw out the unintentional comics and let the professionals take over.

If Suttle's not our man, let's dig up San.

I'm talking about Dr. San Guinary, the late host of Creature Feature, the late-night horror movie on Channel 3 back in the day. That's the great thing about green-ghoul mad scientists -- being dead since 1988 is no obstacle to getting the job done.

Or undone, as the case may be.

Besides, it all makes sense. First, a funny mayor is a definite plus when something funny is definitely going on.

And second, this wouldn't be San Guinary's first time at the rodeo -- the Green One ran a spirited campaign for Omaha mayor in 1976 when Ed Zorinsky resigned to become Nebraska's junior U.S. senator. After drawing major celebrity endorsements in his bid to be interim mayor, he was unfortunately edged out by Robert Cunningham under, I am told, questionable circumstances.

FINALLY, San is just the man to bring stability to city hall in unsettled political times. There will be no attempt to scupper a San Guinary administration; there will be no flak from the City Council; there will be no recall attempts.

The new chief of staff, Igor, would make sure of it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Last (re)call for alcohol!

You want to know why reporters drink?

It's because the jackasses they often have to cover make their brains hurt, and alcohol helps to deaden the pain. A little.

Take the
Omaha World-Herald's Maggie O'Brien, for instance. She covers city government . . . and the people who try to blow up city government whenever they get in a toot about something. Usually, it's taxes.

LOOK AT what the poor girl has to deal with daily. If she's not at The Dubliner swilling black-and-tans right now, she's a totally amazing woman:
A group exploring the possibility of recalling Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle has launched a website that will take donations.

The site,, was launched Tuesday. Organizers said donations will be accepted online by Tuesday afternoon.

Last month, the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee announced it had raised $5,000 by Aug. 17, triggering the group to file with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. The group plans to take out recall affidavits later this month.
IN CASE you've not apprehended the irony here, let me help.

The Mayor Suttle Recall Committee wants people who allegedly are so strapped that they can't pay another farthing in any kind of a tax -- no matter how dire the city's financial situation -- to donate money to them to recall the mayor. For raising taxes.

Because we're all broke.

But not too broke to give what you'd likely spend in higher taxes to a bunch of well-off cranks and cynics to blow up city government because you don't want to pay higher taxes.

Because you're broke.

Destitute. A $15 wheel-tax hike from losing your car to the repo guy, losing your house to the bank and being reduced to wandering the streets of River City filling a hijacked grocery cart with castoff aluminum cans -- which you desperately hope you can turn into enough cash to buy a Big Mac and a Budweiser tall boy.

JUST REMEMBER this one important thing, all ye poor, desperate, taxed-into-nothingness wretches of Omaha:
If you are concerned about having your name attached to the recall, donations of $249.00 or less do NOT have to be reported to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Let's have a psychotic reaction!

Since we're hell-bent on dragging Omaha back two decades into the bad ol' days of civic strife, dysfunction and stagnation, why doesn't the Recall Army just drop the Big One now and put us all out of the taxophobes' misery.

That's right, none of that Rodney King
". . . can we all get along? Can we get along?" crap from back in the day. No, what Omaha needs now is some Lawrence King teenage mutant ninja buggery crap from back in the day.

I'm talking Franklin Credit Union II, baby!

Bring out Alisha Owen. Sell John DeCamp's book and put the profits toward suing anybody who ever had anything to do with raising a tax.

Cut the police department's budget to zero, because you
know what police chiefs do with their paycheck in this Great Plains Gomorrah.

And who's Jim Suttle been sleeping with, anyway?

DAMMIT TO HELL, I'm too damned taxed out to go to the movies, and I want some entertainment value out of my municipal government -- just so long as it doesn't cost me anything. We need us some chaos right about now. Chaos -- now that's some cheap entertainment!

And all we need to do to get the ol' mayhem rolling is to start recalling everybody in sight. Hey, Alisha! Wasn't Suttle at some of those kinky hoop-de-doos? Think hard.

Ask Paul Bonacci. Maybe he can come up with something.

I mean, you got to give us something to work with here if we're gonna have us some chaotic kicks and giggles.

After all, you just don't recall a mayor over the budget and raising some taxes to balance the budget, do you?

Do you?
A grass-roots group announced plans Thursday to explore a recall campaign against Mayor Jim Suttle.

A separate group took out recall affidavits Thursday against Suttle, as well as City Council members Jean Stothert and Pete Festersen.
I DUNNO, maybe you do. That's what the World-Herald is reporting. Then again, we know how the local rag likes to cover up the real reasons for stuff that goes on in this town.

Maybe Suttle has gotten to the "journalists" there. Maybe they only
want us to think the recall efforts are actually over the budget.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Let's see what else the cover-uppers want the people to swallow whole. (Just like at those kinky parties, no doubt.)
The grass-roots group, the Mayor Suttle Exploratory Recall Committee, held a press conference at Anthony's Steakhouse. The event was planned quickly after the group raised $5,000 as of Aug. 17, which required it to file with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.

“The city could use new leadership,” said spokesman Jeremy Aspen, an Omaha real estate agent, who said the group is a grass-roots effort.

It includes some familiar faces: Pat McPherson, a longtime supporter of former Mayor Hal Daub, is a consultant. Also involved is Jim Cleary, a former Daub aide who spearheaded a successful recall against former Mayor Mike Boyle.

Aspen said Daub was not involved in the effort.

Aspen said the group organized out of concern about Suttle's financial decisions. The committee says Suttle didn't look hard enough at cutting costs before raising taxes. The committee also disagrees with the recently signed police union contract.
C'MON, PEOPLE! We need the truth. And some real live-and-local Jerry Springer-meets-Bob Woodward action to get us through these challenging times.

All together, now!
Where have you gone, Miss Alisha O?
A city turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo woo woo).
What's that you say, Mr. John DeCamp?
"Alisha O has left and gone away" (Hey hey hey, hey hey hey).