Rural counties need fewer governments
Regarding the opportunities for lawyers in small-town Nebraska (“Big opportunity in small towns,” Oct. 15): Our problem is that the Legislature has not adjusted the number of local governments to reflect large changes in Nebraska demographics.
People have moved from rural Nebraska to towns and cities. The Legislature has not changed local governments as populations changed, but it did increase the transfer of tax dollars from the counties with large populations to sparsely populated counties, to try to reduce property taxes. It’s difficult for 618 people in a county to pay for county and school administrations.
Nebraska needs some form of regional governments for sparsely populated counties. The Legislature is studying ways to modernize our tax system. The solution is not to change which pocket we pay our state and local taxes from but to reduce the number of tax-collecting entities to reflect the number of people who have moved away since the 1940s.
George Parkerson, Omaha
Return to kindness, civility toward all
Last weekend I came out of my local grocery store and found deep gouges on my car. I had been “keyed”!
The gouges ended right above my two bumper stickers. The top one was printed with the goals of the Democratic Party. The lower one simply said, “God Bless All Nations.”
At first I was shocked, then angry — and then I thought about it. Who would do such a thing to a car belonging to someone they didn’t know? A person filled with rage over words about a different outlook on life.
If that person knew me, we would probably be friends. I’m a peaceful senior citizen and a grandmother. I am no threat.
A mindset that permits a “small incident” of angry vandalism is a very, very dangerous thing. As Americans, we need to return to kindness and civility to all people, not just those with whom we agree. Our state, our country and our world reputation are at stake.
Ruth Tussey, Bellevue
Canada, more refugees may be coming
It is a very depressing time for us conservatives in this country. After all, who is ever going to be able to figure out how to pay down a more than $17 trillion debt that the irresponsible are piling on to our kids, grandkids and generations beyond that?
Then the solution looked me in the eye: the headline “Canada will introduce law requiring balanced budget” (Oct. 17 World-Herald). It seems that Steven Harper’s Conservative government was able to lower taxes and will have its budget balanced by 2015.
This news could cause a rerun of the years during the Vietnam War, when many fled to Canada to avoid the draft. The people who support this administration and all of the wild spending may want to consider this avenue of escape when they have to explain to their descendants just how much their portion of the debt will amount to.
Del Ostergaard, LaVista
What does Canada know that we don’t?
While America teeters on the edge of self-destruction, our neighbor to the north has quietly been tending to its business and is on track to balance its budget by 2015.
Politicians brought this country to its knees on the notion that Obamacare will bankrupt the nation. And yet Canada has universal health care for all its citizens and still has the wherewithal not only to balance its budget but also to propose requiring successive governments to do so.
Sounds like somebody needs to get their priorities straight.
Eric Foster, Lincoln
GOP shows no fiscal responsibility
This Republican shutdown cost the American people $24 billion. I don’t want to hear any more about Republican fiscal responsibility. It is nonexistent.
Hamilton Cook Jr., Papillion
Congress members misuse Scripture
As a pastor, I get frustrated when I hear some in Congress using Scripture out of context and declaring that their interpretation gives them the authority to block our government from functioning and caring for those most in need.
I remember a time when our country was more committed to living out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, welcoming the stranger and visiting those sick and in prison — than in making those same people the scapegoats of a government shutdown.
We have moved from politics rooted in compassion and common sense to politics drenched with serving special interests and securing re-election. No longer are we faith- based. We have become fear-driven. Those in power know how to keep us afraid of the stranger, the hungry, the homeless and those in prison.
For the first time in my life, I am ashamed of what my America is becoming. The opportunity is slipping through the hourglass for leaders to come together — beyond Republican, Democrat, independent, Tea Party member or any other group — and seek the good of the whole, not a few.
Rev. Dr. Evelyn R. McDonald, Omaha
State Pen is packed; lines are long
As an inmate of the Nebraska Department of Corrections for almost nine years, I can be classified as one of these hardened criminals that Gov. Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning are speaking of (“Senator joins call to change good-time rules ,”Oct. 10). State Sen. Beau McCoy and Chuck Hassebrook are running for governor and calling for changes in the good-time rules. McCoy says inmates don’t have enough incentives to attend anger management and substance abuse classes.
I can’t tell whether the four gentlemen are sincere or even care whether we inmates receive these services. I do know that this prison, the Nebraska State Penitentiary, is packed. There are inmates who have been waiting six months to a year to go to these classes, some even longer.
Inmates who ask for help here are either not taken seriously or ignored altogether.
So if these politicians are serious and not just grandstanding, I wish them the best, because inmates don’t have access to services now, much less if it’s mandated that we attend.
Patrick D. Kampe, Lincoln
Start parole after minimum served
All of us come to prison with a minimum and a maximum sentence. When the prisoner has done the mandatory, then it’s time for parole, if there are no programming or school needs to be done yet. In the current system, all prisoners are left to rot until they are within eight months of their discharge date.
We need a mandatory parole when the prisoner has completed his minimum sentence so that we do not have 15-year-old children with no hope turning into bloodthirsty killers after being locked down with the hard core for 10 years. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
Richard Rayes, Lincoln
Non-custodial parents are not criminals
Kids Have Rights Too is a grassroots organization founded on the principle that children should have equal access to fit parents. We do not suggest in any way that parents deemed unfit by the proper authorities should have equal access to their children.
Our judicial system in Nebraska continues to remove fit parents from their children’s lives, and our objective is clear: We want a 50-50 equal-parenting law. Far too often, non-custodial parents are viewed as criminals and treated as such by the courts.
Children are the ultimate victims of divorce. Unfortunately, they become pawns. In far too many cases, they are forced to live with one parent 90 percent of the time and visit the other parent 10 percent of the time.
Children of fit parents do better with both parents equally involved in their lives, even when the parents are not able to get along.
Monty Shultz, Kearney, Neb.
In defense of back-in parking spaces
I had a good laugh reading the opinion of the opponent to back-in parking spaces (Oct. 15 Pulse). Driving forward out of a parking space is far safer than backing out. Either way, other drivers frequently have to wait.
The writer’s opinion smacks of the old-dog, new-tricks mentality. Haven’t we been changing our lifestyles constantly for hundreds of years?
I have 17 vehicles on the road every day and get to pay for all their bills. Driving out of a parking space is far safer. Trust me!
Loren Dake, Sioux City, Iowa
Thanks to Good Samaritans, their moms
I want to thank the group of young men who came to my aid Oct. 5 at the BP gas station on 102nd and Maple.
I had quite a bad fall and couldn’t get up. These kind guys took good care of me until my friends and the rescue squad arrived. They told me that “we all have mamas and grandmas, and we wouldn’t leave them alone on the cold cement if they fell.”
To those mamas and grandmas: Your boys showed how they were raised right that night! Thanks again, fellows, and God bless you!
Hilary Kirby, Omaha