MUD directors answer to us

I read with dismay the public reaction of some Metropolitan Utility District board members to the M's Pub fire ("Suits likely to rise from ashes of M's Pub, MUD lawyer says," Feb. 4 WorldHerald). Boards of directors owe a fiduciary obligation to the owners of the organizations they govern.

MUD is a political subdivision of the state. The owners of MUD are the taxpayers served by MUD. The directors' first duty is to those ratepayers, not to the management team.

The management team said the 95-minute shutoff time was "reasonable." More troubling was the suggestion by one board member that the unacceptable delay in shutting down the leak was due to the "chaotic nature of that scene."

It seems that the chaos resides instead in management's internal procedures and information systems. MUD's first responders did not have the tools they needed to deal with the leak in a timely manner. Workers should have portable electronic devices which instantly give them the precise location of any gas shutoff valve.

The board must lead independent of management and view with skepticism recommendations regarding what information should be shared with ratepayers. It is all well and good to cite concerns about lawsuits as an excuse to withhold information. But at the end of the day, civil litigation will ensure that all the facts become public.

Bert W. Mehrer, Omaha

It takes a village to make a millionaire

Republicans (and maybe a few others) need to realize that millionaires are not sacred. Millionaires don't make their money on their own. The country furnished the infrastructure, roads, airports, seaports, workers, materials, etc., to enable millionaires to make their millions.

I see income taxes as dues to the country that furnished the necessities that made this possible. Even after paying their income taxes, millionaires have many times more money than the low-income workers they employ. How many millions do they need?

B.F. Garrett,Dunlap, Iowa

Committing a crime vs. making a living

I read with considerable amusement Jim Busenbark's Feb. 7 Public Pulse letter. It seems he has an issue with what is legal versus what is illegal. So let me see if I can clarify it for him:

Bribery is illegal.

If person or entity A pays person B for making a speech and person B in fact delivers said speech, it's a perfectly legal transaction.

Attempting to equate an illegal activity with a perfectly legal one is what is known as false equivalency. It's also known as specious reasoning. This is so obvious, it really shouldn't need explaining.

Mary M. Roeser, Omaha

Phillips' tragic tale

Feb. 7 Public Pulse writer Mark Morin ("Phillips had only himself to blame") might want to read the entire Jan. 28 World-Herald column, "Phillips remains a magnet, mystery," before casting judgment on Lawrence Phillips. Phillips didn't have active parents in his life. Thank goodness Tom Osborne came along when he did to rescue him from the streets of Los Angeles or Phillips never would have made it out of his teenage years without further tragedy.

As a Nebraskan, I had tears in my eyes as I was reading that column about the respect Phillips' coaches and fellow players had for him. It made me proud to be a Nebraskan. I am glad Osborne took a chance on a young man who had essentially been abandoned by his parents. Coach stood by Phillips in life and in death. That is character.

Rest in peace, Lawrence.

Rex Moats,Omaha

Register women for the drat

As a female veteran of the late '70s, I have watched change happen with the military in regard to women. Women served in the American Revolution and in every war along the way since. We have fought for equality and, with that, the right to serve in every capacity as our male counterparts.

I know most women will not be able to do what most men can, due to physical differences, but just as we have done all along, we can do our best at what is asked of us.

In regard to the draft, the current question is whether women should be registered. I fully believe they should. Currently women make up about 16 percent of our armed forces. So the reality would be that any future draft would not be a 50/50 split. The leaders at the time of the future draft would decide how many would actually be drafted.

So let's make one decision at a time. Yes, register all women.

I would also readily support requiring that each 18-year-old serve our country for two years, as some other countries do. Now only about 1 percent serve.

Military service helps individuals grow and makes them responsible. Why not fill "gap" years with a mandatory two-year tour?

Betty Albanez, Bellevue

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