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Photographer Rudy Smith retired in 2008 after 45 years at the Omaha World-Herald. He died in his home in Omaha on Thursday after being diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago. He was 74.

Rudy Smith a remarkable man

How could anyone end up with anything but a tear in the eye after reading the Dec. 6 story about the passing of Rudy Smith (“Longtime World-Herald photographer Rudy Smith, 74, documented and made history”).

What a remarkable man, with his family and in his work. My prayers are for his wife, Llana, and family that they persevere grieving his passing.

R.G. Dylla, Omaha

Decline in checks and balances

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of women who share my political views. This group began meeting shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump. Initially when we introduced ourselves, I told the group that I had faith in our government and our system of checks and balances. As our monthly meeting have progressed, I have seen less and less of the checks and balances and more and more of Trump’s intimidation, overstepping and complete disregard of the Constitution.

Our group does an excellent job sharing information and becoming more aware of the hearings and the status of things in Washington. Our hope is that there are more educated women, especially, who have changed their minds about our president and will join us and other democratic women to vote blue in the upcoming election.

Sandra Pistone, Omaha

We bit our tongues

Donald Trump is president for one reason: Barack Obama.

Unlike current liberals, we bit our tongues for eight years rather than try to overthrow an election or influence the next. Folks on my side realized Obama’s threat to our country and see him as the most divisive president we’ve had. Impeachment will further this divide.

If you disagree with me, you are disagreeing with half the people on your street, half the people in Omaha and Nebraska and half the people in this country of ours. We view Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, etc., with the same animus the left has for Trump.

Should Republicans lose the next election, rest assured we will not be as silent. Is this the path we want?

Impeachment is a big mistake. It will divide our country, unify conservatives and probably ensure the re-election of Donald Trump.

Howard Mitchell, Omaha

Justice center a bad idea

John Eric Christensen’s Dec. 4 letter to the Public Pulse entitled “Juvenile center will change lives” is right. But not for the reasons Christensen lays out.

The lives of all Douglas County taxpayers will be changed by the rise in property taxes that this project will impose. The lives of Douglas County voters will be changed because they have been denied a vote on the most expensive building project in the history of the county. The lives of small-business owners in the neighborhood will be changed by putting yet another jail in the heart of the city. The very life of our democratic process has been changed by allowing a nonprofit corporation to usurp the power and responsibilities of elected officials and by its takeover of the building project with its no-bid contracts. The lives of troubled youth will be changed by funneling money into bricks and mortar that could better be spent on programs and outreach.

If this is such a good idea, why has this process excluded the public and undermined our democracy?

Blake Rave, Omaha

Expand access to care

As a Nebraskan who voted for Medicaid expansion, I supported the ballot measure because it allows more hard-working residents the right to access health care.

Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Department of Health and Human Services have warped the intention of the voters who passed the expansion, creating a complicated and confusing tiered system that puts onerous requirements on the 90,000 Nebraskans who stand to gain coverage. In other states, similar work requirements forced thousands of Medicaid recipients off coverage due to poor communication that left them ill-informed about the changes, which were later struck down in federal district court.

The requirements in other states failed to produce the improved health outcomes and reduced costs Nebraska has said it aims to achieve through the Heritage Health Adult Plan. In fact, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office found work requirements in at least five states cost taxpayers additional administrative costs ranging from $6.1 million to $271.6 million. Like those states, Nebraska has failed to factor in those costs in its waiver application. I urge Nebraskans to raise their voices to expand access to lifesaving health care in our state.

Jessica Barrett, Omaha

Trouble focusing

Recently Rep. Don Bacon said he finds the impeachment inquiry to be a distraction (“Bacon calls inquiry a distraction; Fortenberry says ‘there are other important things going on in Congress,’” Nov. 22 World-Herald).

To help some of you understand exactly what Bacon finds distracting in his job as our congressman is this oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Robert Perrault, Omaha

Proliferation of guns

A recent letter in the Public Pulse by Mary Cormier (“Praying for the country,” Nov. 19), after another school shooting, blames everything and everybody, especially television and movie violence and the removal of school prayer two generations ago, without mentioning the one common denominator in all these shootings: the guns.

She is going to pray that these shootings will stop and suggests we should do the same. But praying is not going to solve this complex problem.

One only needs to look at other Christian nations that don’t have unfettered access to guns to disprove her theory. It’s not the absence of prayer that’s the problem, it’s the proliferation of guns.

Ken Ward, Gretna

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