Hire next fire chief from within

It is hard to believe that Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger is going to retire when he was hand-picked for the job by the mayor ("Kanger's leadership skills noted as his tenure as fire chief closes," Feb. 24 World-Herald). I thought he would at least stay through Mayor Jean Stothert's term. I think it is a slap in the face of Omaha's firefighters that there will be a nationwide search for his replacement. That tells me that city officials do not think that any of the men and women of the OFD are qualified.

Gary Masek,Omaha

One way to take politics out of it

The Nebraska Legislature is considering making the drawing of the congressional districts a nonpartisan process. I highly commend that. Rather than gerrymandering, let's opt for simple and cheap — use whole counties.

The 2010 Census numbers showed that the population of our great state was 1.83 million. Divide that by our three congressional districts and you have roughly 600,000 per district.

Starting in the northwest with Sioux County, go south to Kimball County and head east by county until you get as close to 608,780 total residents as possible, without dividing counties. That is the Third District.

Then we start counting residents again, until we get to our magic number of residents. Those counties would make up the Second District.

The remaining counties would be the First District. Going county by county would be a lot less political than dividing a city up into chunks or gerrymandering districts.

Scott Fredrickson,Bennington, Neb.

The older set hasn't served us so well

Feb. 24 Public Pulse writer Karl S. Roth ("Wise to reject immature bill") might be guilty of profiling based on age and experience. How can our 18-year-olds be good enough to vote, go to war to possibly be slaughtered and work to fund our Social Security benefits but aren't wise enough to serve in our Legislature?

Look at where our "experienced" and "mature" lawmakers have put this country in the last 40 years.

That answers my question. I'm 56. Maybe guys like me and you should go to war so our young and naive can get some "experience" here at home.

Marvin K. Haas,St. Edward, Neb.

Helmets don't offer real protection

Regarding Feb. 24 Public Pulse writer Bill Cary's letter, "Before taking off that helmet": I have enjoyed riding for 30 years. I recently read an article that stated that a helmet will protect your head when it strikes the pavement, but there is no helmet on the market that is able to reduce the impact the brain takes when it strikes the inside of your skull in the event of a crash.

While I do believe it is safer to ride with a helmet, this is the first time I looked at this issue from that point of view.

Until they invent a helmet that will reduce that impact, I would like to be able to decide for myself whether to wear a helmet or not.

Jim Birkel,Fremont, Neb.

Omaha's lawless drivers

Omaha has relegated traffic enforcement to a level of yard waste collection. Yes, it has to be done, but it is a distraction of resources rather than a priority to be optimized.

Running a red light or a stop sign or speeding should get the driver a fine and reduction in points from their driver's license to discourage such behavior. Apparently, drivers no longer fear that because there is a low probability that they will get caught and end up in court.

Any candidate running for Omaha mayor who at least acknowledges a problem with reckless drivers has my vote, regardless of political party affiliation.

Tim Burke,Omaha

Debate worthy of the playground

Watching the Republican debate Thursday evening, I was reminded of an old childhood game, "Monkey in the Middle," except that there were three monkeys in the middle. John Kasich and Ben Carson — although largely eclipsed by the nattering banter of the "monkeys" — were mostly above the fray. They appeared to be at least somewhat presidential and managed to refrain from the ad hominem attacks that seemed to be the only things brought to the event by the other three candidates.

We may now look forward to the other party's version of Frick and Frack.

John A. Daum,Omaha

All talk but no answers

Has anyone ever heard Donald Trump say how he is going to accomplish the things he wants to accomplish? I haven't.

During Thursday night's debate, he was asked directly how he was going to get Mexico to pay for a wall. Instead of answering the question, he blasted the former Mexican president with insults, as he always does, and never came close to answering the question.

He spends his entire time insulting, exaggerating and putting down people with whom he disagrees, and the media eats it up.

I cannot understand why so people think he is qualified to be president.

Allen Barnard,Omaha

Trump's main constituent? Trump

"You liar, you liar, your pants are on fire!" Haven't heard this little ditty from the great Donald Trump? Just you wait. As childish as he seems, it may be forthcoming.

I've watched a few of his speeches, if you can call them that. First, he brags about how rich he is, how wonderful he is, how great he is. Next paragraph — he excoriates his opponents. He especially likes to call them liars. "You liar, you liar . . ." Then the last paragraph is drivel.

Trump is rich and ruthless, or ruthless and rich, whichever came first. Trump gets what Trump wants. He is unpitying, fierce, brutish, mean. He loves the educated, the uneducated, the fat, the skinny, the rich, the poor — he says.

No. He doesn't love them. They are the dirt under his feet. Feet meant to smash and demean. Object to anything he says and expect to be denigrated. Agree with whatever he says, and you'll be OK, at least for the time being — until you've served his purpose.

His motto is really "Make Trump great!" Trump will never be great.

Mary Ann Cahoy,Columbus, Neb.

Not environmentally friendly

The League of Conservation Voters just released its 2015 National Environmental Scorecard for the 114th Congress, and voting records of Nebraska's two senators are abysmal. With only one exception by Sen. Deb Fischer, both senators voted against every piece of legislation designed to protect either the environment, our citizenry or both.

Sen. Ben Sasse was given a 2015 score of zero. Fischer also rated a score of zero but earned a 7 percent lifetime score because she opposed legislation in 2014, her freshman year, that the league says would have undermined flood insurance reform.

The league states that, under the leadership of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "we can say with confidence that the extreme leadership of both the Senate and the House had made this the most anti-environmental Congress in our nation's history."

The odore Roosevelt, the "conservationist president," and Richard Nixon, who signed the Environmental Protection Agency into law, must be rolling in their graves.

Bill Moore,Papillion

Stop the games, close Guantanamo

How would closing our Guantanamo Bay detention camp endanger our national safety? The detainees there pose no threat to us; of the 91 still held there, only about 10 are considered "unreleasable."

I'm sure we can find a prison in the U.S. that can house these criminals.

Quit playing games with this issue. Close this site and end this black page in our history. This is not who we are; we are a nation of laws, and justice must prevail.

Doug Schrawger,Omaha

A good lesson on the American dream

I recently had an awesome experience attending a Vietnamese New Year's celebration at Metropolitan Community College.

The generosity of the Vietnamese organization hosting the evening was amazing. All attendees were furnished a free meal and a free raffle ticket and then enjoyed a night of entertainment, which included a dragon dance, drumming and a variety of musical performances and skits. All at no cost to the audience.

It was the showcase of successful business owners and entrepreneurs that impacted me most. They showed the many youths in attendance a clear vision of the American dream, realized and achieved. It was truly inspiring.

The Vietnamese people come here with nothing, unable to speak the language, then rise to the apex of American society. From them we can all learn and be inspired to do better.

Andy Fox,Omaha

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