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Danny Flynn feels the curls on Dear Heart's (a.k.a. Judy Quest) clown wig as his buddy Jabria Spencer helps him during Camp Monroe at the Monroe-Meyer Institute. Campers are grouped by ages and rotate to different activities throughout the day. 

No stop to bad driving

It’s funny, I remember being a kid growing up in Nebraska and hearing a term referred to as a “California stop,” meaning not coming to a full stop at an intersection with a stop sign. All I can say is, Californians have nothing on the people of Omaha who give new meaning to the term.

Is it just me or is this another example of the continued decline of common courtesy, decency and the simplest of morality in our everyday lives? Not to mention the fact that it’s the law to come to a complete stop at a four-letter, red-and-white octagonal sign. Come on, people, really?

Darrin Jensen, Omaha

Better path to citizenship

For the past two years I have been helping my wife, who is a permanent resident from Brazil, get a green card for her daughter. I have discovered that it is a complicated and frustrating experience. There is plenty of red tape, difficult hurdles and even crooked immigration lawyers who prey upon unsuspecting immigrants. A simple mistake on an application can change the waiting period from two years to 14 years.

Why not set a maximum number of immigrants from each country in the world? They must pass a background check. If they do not pass, they are not allowed entrance. If they pass, they are fingerprinted and photographed and must submit to a DNA test.

They are issued a 10-year work permit as well as a temporary tax identification number. This way they can work legally and pay taxes.

Every two years, they must report to their country’s consulate and have their background rechecked. No crimes, no problem. Criminals lose their card and are deported. If they don’t show up, a warrant is issued and they are deported. But the family is never separated. Only the criminals.

If you are clean, you will enter the country legally. After 10 years you can apply for your citizenship.

Jim Miller, Fort Calhoun, Neb.

Time for national maintenance

We have lived in our home for 39 years. During this time, we have made many improvements and maintained our property, including replacing windows, replacing the roof, driveway, improvements including major landscaping, patio upgrades, etc. My point is that we’ve made it a point to keep our home and property in good working condition and a place where we could be comfortable and safe.

During this same time, our own government has deteriorated, essentially ignoring “maintenance” by not enforcing our laws, and now we are faced with drastic changes to get our country back on track and at great cost.

Several of our past presidents, members of Congress and some state leaders have continued to ignore the laws of the land regarding immigration, marijuana usage, etc.

Respect for law enforcement has deteriorated significantly. We even have some elected leaders calling for the elimination of ICE, a federal organization dedicated to enforcing the law and keeping us safe.

So why are many people so shocked that we have to take strong measures to get our country back to a “nation of laws” after so many years of essentially “no maintenance”?

After all, people want to immigrate to the United States because we are a nation of laws.

Let’s get “united again.”

Dan Hedrick, Omaha

Helsinki should be last straw

President Donald Trump was correct when describing his supporters during a campaign rally: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.” No matter what this president does, whether it is scathing personal attacks on private citizens or politicians, diluting blame over the Charlottesville protest or immigration policy insensitivity, his supporters explain it away and accept any and everything he does as “he is just being Donald.”

In his last debacle at the Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he declared his belief that Russia was not responsible for interfering in our election and went along with a possible reciprocal U.S.-Russian interrogation of accused criminal acts — both of which he has had to backpedal.

This should be the last straw, but I’m not holding my breath. Are you? This man is dangerous! Why aren’t more of the honorable Republican members of Congress speaking out, including our own senior senator?

Karen Carpenter, Papillion

Millennials and sales tax

In reference to Don Rabbe’s July 23 Public Pulse letter, “Millennials wouldn’t benefit”: Rabbe expresses his view that reducing property taxes by incorporating a sales tax on online purchases unfairly burdens millennials without providing benefits to these younger Nebraska citizens.

Property owners have been paying a significant amount of taxes for many years, allowing all Nebraska citizens to benefit from government services. He states that millennials account for 43 percent to 47 percent of online sales purchases. I wonder if he has thought about the percentage of those over 34 who foot the majority of the burden through property taxes that directly benefit nonproperty owners.

I also purchase products through online services if I find something I need that local stores do not carry. I would gladly pay sales tax for online purchases, knowing these dollars are needed to sustain public services that allow us all to live in a civilized society.

I share the frustration of Nebraskans paying high taxes on many services. Our Nebraska tax formulas in many areas are outdated and unfairly distributed. The governor and Legislature continue to ignore the voices of the citizens. There is progressive thinking out there in many states, but Nebraska continues to lose out on these opportunities.

I urge all Nebraskans to let their legislative representatives know how Nebraska state government continues to fail the citizens of this state. Many of us are being taxed out of the Good Life.

Dave Hancock, Papillion

Government mentality in the past

Each branch of government is 40 years late in attempting to uphold the Constitution and protect Americans from the dangers of technologies, nonconventional weapons and technetronic devices. The current group of politicians is incapable and unwilling to pass the laws, standards and regulations that should have been in place decades ago to protect the lives, health and property of Americans.

It is the reason so many industries, Wall Street, corporations and investors wanted Trump in position — they knew he would put money before the lives, health and property of people and the well-being of nature, wildlife, water, air and soil. The existence of artificial intelligence makes this the worst time in history for anti-just law, anti-safety regulations and anti-good standards groups that have infiltrated government positions to be in power.

Those persons along with everyone whose mentality is stuck somewhere between 1940 and 1992 need to vacate government positions, allowing independent persons to obtain the positions to protect the health, lives, property and privacy of people and the water, air, soil, botanicals, wildlife and food supply they need to survive.

Jean Lillie, Anthon, Iowa

Executions need to be transparent

Regardless of what you think about the death penalty itself as a policy, we should all be able to agree that if the state is going to be in the business of killing its own citizens, it needs to be completely open and honest about every step of the process.

Carey Dean Moore’s execution has been scheduled for Aug. 14, but the Department of Correctional Services still refuses to make public the records relating to the purchase of the four drugs in its new experimental lethal injection cocktail.

Good government doesn’t happen behind closed doors. Nebraskans expect transparency in many aspects of government. We expect our governor to take questions from the news media, we expect legislative sessions to be broadcast on public television and we expect government officials to thoroughly respond to public records requests. The death penalty is no exception.

If the state insists on keeping every part of this serious process a secret, then how can we, the citizens, hold them accountable?

Elizabeth Martinez, Bellevue

Real clown hampered by scary ones

While shopping at Mangelsen’s I saw that the store is building this year’s haunted house. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween more than most, and haunted houses are part of it.

But I would like to ask the haunted-house venues and the public to not make scary clown impostors part of Halloween.

I have been a clown in this city for 37 years. I belong to a wonderful group of merrymakers called Omaha’s Wild Clowndum. Our only goal is to make people laugh and bring joy.

In the past few years, clown impostors dressed with horrible masks have made it hard for us to go about our happy making. Many people are scared of clowns.

To be a clown, it takes lots of time, money and continual training. I am sure that many reading this have seen me and my friends at a parade, a nursing home, a hospital, a birthday party or a baseball game. I hope we have given you a giggle or at least a smile.

I am sure that members of my group have not tried to scare you, but people run from us, scream and carry on. They don’t even give us a chance to make them happy.

I’m just asking, as you prepare for this Halloween, that you think of something else to do rather than don a scary clown mask. Give us a chance to make you laugh. Because when I look at you I am always thinking IYQ.

Judy “Dear Heart” Quest, Omaha

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