Parks Commission needs diversity

I attended the monthly meeting of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission on July 26 in Lincoln and listened to the discourse on dealing with limitations on public comments. One aspect became obvious: All of the commissioners and the senior administrative staff of the agency at the podium were older white men.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this, except that it is not representative of the citizens of Nebraska. There were no women involved, nor people of color.

Since the agency and the commissioners make decisions each month regarding resources important to many Nebraskans, there should be a group that reflects the racial diversity of the state’s population. There is an obvious need to broaden the representation associated with the commissioners, as well as decision-makers employed by the agency.

Greater diversity could bring a fresh infusion of ideas and alternative decisions.

James Ducey, Omaha

Preserve Nebraska’s ‘building blocks’

Nebraska takes great pride in a high quality of living with great schools, safe streets, good-quality hospitals and strong communities. These building blocks of “The Good Life” are valuable and worth protecting for generations to come.

The Legislature’s Tax Modernization Committee has the opportunity to make recommendations that safeguard this legacy for our children and grandchildren by maintaining our state’s ability to invest in key services that maintain Nebraska’s strong economy and high quality of life.

A group of concerned Nebraska residents and more than 25 organizations — known as Rebuild Nebraska — has mobilized to support stable, sustainable and responsible fiscal decisions that will benefit all Nebraskans.

Nebraska need only look south to see what can happen without sufficient investment in the foundation that supports our strong economy. Our neighbors in Kansas enacted significant income tax cuts recently and now face huge deficits, major school funding problems and catastrophic cuts to vital services.

Rebuild Nebraska will work with the Tax Modernization Committee and other residents to promote a fair and balanced tax code that lets us adequately fund the building blocks of our strong economy and high quality of living. Working together, we can make decisions about our tax code that will move the state forward, strengthen our future and protect Nebraska’s Good Life.

Larry Dix, Lincoln

Nancy Fulton, Wilber, Neb.

Rebuild Nebraska members

Codes, not planners, key to flexibility

A few recent World-Herald articles on community design rules suggest that the Planning Department has been directed to deal with businesses and entities in productive ways rather than being inflexible and dictating to them in a heavy-handed manner.

My experiences have shown that the Planning Department, for the most part, has maintained high goals and standards in the creation of a positive city image and economic development. And the Planning Department has been as flexible as the codes, authored by a wide-ranging segment of the design/build community, allow.

Blaming the previous administration or profiling the Planning Department in general as a bunch of arrogant bureaucrats seems overwrought. If an employee is being heavy-handed, send the offending party to interpersonal skills classes.

Many developments in the past several years have benefited significantly from the tax-increment financing process. The Planning Department has gone to great lengths to promote new development. Perhaps the city could balance prescriptive codes with performance-based codes, which deal with end results rather than the means, as a long-term, proactive compromise.

Debi Herman, Omaha

Omaha has its clean-up hitter in Stothert

How many people have read “The Bronx Zoo” by Sparky Lyle, former pitcher for the New York Yankees? This book is a reflection of the many antics, personality conflicts and malfunctions of one of the most prolific franchises in professional sports.

Here in Omaha, the controversy between the firefighters union and the Mayor’s Office continues to take on a similar theme. We need Bob Costas to do the play-by-play.

Previous administrations and city councils have put the city in the financial crisis we’re facing. Finger-pointing and lawsuits won’t solve the issue.

I support Mayor Stothert for putting the brakes on spending. If hardball has to be played, I can’t think of a better person to be batting clean-up than Jean Stothert. The Yankees could sure use her this season.

Charlie Aliano, Omaha

When in Rome, speak Italian

I must be confused. I just saw the news about how great it was to open an “all-Hispanic” grocery store. Are you kidding me?

When my ancestors and my husband’s came from Poland and Germany, they had to live like Americans, learn to speak the language and everything. Go figure.

If I wanted to move to Paris, I would have to learn French. Or would they change everything for me?

Teri Borkowski, Omaha

Is ‘A’ now the scarlet letter for killers?

Michael Aliano’s way to prevent killings and rapes of our elderly is to lock up all of the illegal immigrants (July 28 Pulse).

However, the six men convicted in similar Omaha-area attacks are native-born U.S. citizens. So we’ll need to find another way to identify future killers.

Sergio Martinez-Perez and the six all have the letter “A” in their names. So, according to Aliano’s reasoning, the best way to make our homes safe is to round up all males with an “A” in their name.

Vicki Pratt, Omaha

Alcohol played key role in brutal crime

Sergio Martinez-Perez has said that he went out that night (July 20) looking for a woman to have sex with. He drank all night and his advances were rejected, leaving him “angry at women.” That is why, according to police, he allegedly beat up and raped 93-year-old Louise Sollowin the next day.

Well, I haven’t heard anyone ask who provided the alcohol to this 19-year-old. I believe that you have to be 21 or older to purchase or consume alcohol in Nebraska.

The individual who provided Martinez- Perez with alcohol that night is just as guilty as he is for this crime and should be brought up on charges. This crime would never have happened if Martinez-Perez hadn’t been so intoxicated that his mental abilities were to the point of committing a crime this horrific.

Thom Sisson, Omaha

‘King Amendment’ is incomprehensible

I’m appalled that the House version of the farm bill includes the “King Amendment,” authored by U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

If passed, this bill would invalidate hundreds of state laws pertaining to agriculture, including those that ease the suffering of farm animals, dogs in puppy mills and horses being sent to slaughter. Additionally, it would repeal state laws that protect food safety and the environment.

The amendment proposes to federally preempt hundreds of state laws under the guise of promoting interstate commerce. It’s beyond my comprehension why any representative with his constituents’ welfare at heart would introduce such a harmful, unpopular and regressive provision.

I urge Sen. Mike Johanns, as a likely member of the bill’s conference committee, to do all he can to guarantee that Rep. King’s radical attack on important state laws is not included in the final version of the farm bill.

Adam Orand, Omaha

Cut POTUS travel time to save tax money

What is it costing the American taxpayer for the president to be flying all over trying to garner support for his projects? We would be better served if he stayed in the Oval Office and worked with Congress. We wonder where the money goes. Now we know. Don’t forget the elaborate vacations.

Lawrence Murray, Omaha

Door-to-door mail still special delivery

The reasoning behind the proposal to end door-to-door mail doesn’t make sense. With the high rate of theft from curbside mailboxes by those looking for checks, identities and confidential mail, you can be sure the same thing will happen with cluster boxes.

I live in a complex of separate apartments designed for the elderly and handicapped. We have our mailboxes attached to the outside of our apartments, which is great for many reasons. We send and receive our mail, are able to purchase stamps by mail and receive and return packages.

Many of our residents are not able to go out and shop for various reasons, so we rely on shopping by mail. For many elderly and handicapped, the carrier and the mail he delivers are the only connections to the outside world. Also, a mail carrier can tell if there is a problem by mail accumulating in a box, such as an occupant who may be sick or in some type of trouble, and the carrier can then contact the proper authorities.

I hope the postal service will re-evaluate its proposal and find other ways to cut costs, maybe from the “top” and not by making those of us on the “bottom” suffer.

Phyllis Ward, Omaha

Special protections seem unnecessary

In response to the Rev. Bob Berlie’s Aug. 1 letter, I would really like to attend one of his church services and see if he is preaching from the same Bible the rest of us are using.

I have read several articles written by gay and lesbian individuals, and they tell us how happy they are and what a good life it is now that they have come out. I guess my question would be that if life is so great as a gay or lesbian, why do they feel they need all these court decisions to take care of them?

I’m just an old guy in my 70s and remember the way it was. Many years ago, it was illegal to have a homosexual affair. Several years later, it became acceptable. Several years after that, it became legal.

I’m just hoping that God takes me home before it becomes mandatory.

Kim Johnston, Omaha

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