11-Worth closed sign (copy) (copy)

A closed sign hangs on the door of the 11-Worth Cafe in downtown Omaha.

11-Worth closing

The closing of the 11-Worth Cafe by civic do-gooders is disgraceful. The extended Caniglia family has been in the restaurant business in Omaha for nearly a century. Immigrants from Italy who worked, scraped, saved and invested in the food and hospitality business here in Omaha. Different members of the family have had a number of different locations. Their specialties have been good food, friendly service and excellent hospitality.

Any day of the week, one can eat with the entire spectrum of Omaha citizens: UNMC workers getting off from overnight working shifts; businessmen in suits; bicycle and motorcycle riders; and many other people of possibly minimal resources.

Now the business is lost. This closing deprives the family of their work and investments of time and talent. It deprives the restaurant customers of great quality, inexpensive food in a friendly environment. Certainly, it destroys the financial income of their efficient and friendly serving team and their food preparation team members. A closed-up restaurant for employees means no salary, possibly minimum wage and no life-sustaining tips from appreciative customers.

Everyone connected to this restaurant, customers and employees alike, has been irreparably harmed. This is blamed on a stupid, thoughtless Facebook posting, and a menu named after a Civil War general. How in the world has this harmed the demonstrators?

Allen Thomsen, Omaha

The meaning of justice

Frances Mendenhall wrote a thoughtful letter (Pulse, June 7), diplomatic and heartfelt, expressing frustration with Douglas Attorney Don Kleine’s reluctance to prosecute Jake Gardner’s killing of James Scurlock. James McCarthy thought it fitting and right to respond (Pulse, June 10) by defending Don Kleine.

McCarthy’s misquoting and decontextualizing of Nebraska State Criminal Code aside, what I found most appalling was his sneering rebuke of our calls for justice for James Scurlock. When we chant “Justice for James,” we mean, as well, to vocally object to an unjust, morally reprehensible system that devalues black lives and, with hardly a pause, continues the concrete reality of killing black men like James.

McCarthy — seemingly fresh off watching an episode of “Law and Order” — reminds us of the details of courtroom procedure, and how a jury works. Thus, he tells us, there will be justice for Scurlock.

When we cry for justice, we do not mean merely a matter of technically due process and a properly conducted jury case. We mean that all members of a civil society, especially those who have been exploited, deprived, insulted and abused -— and, yes, killed — must receive the same amount of legal, juridical, economic and political protection, something it pains me to think some Americans are gleefully ignorant of.

Christopher Lantz, Omaha

Let’s continue voting by mail

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska agrees with Secretary of State Evnen’s assessment of the success of the May primary election in the OWH Midland Voices on June 11 and applauds the 75% of Nebraskans who took advantage of the option to safely vote by mail. Why then, with no sign of coronavirus abating, is Secretary Evnen not planning to repeat that success formula? He doesn’t intend to send vote by mail request postcards to all registered voters for the general election, even though that one action was key to both an astounding overall turnout and manageable numbers at polling stations in May.

The November election will see a significantly higher voter participation rate than the primary, so it is important to protect Nebraska voters and poll workers. We ask Secretary Evnen to extend the May success to the November election. Mail all registered voters a postcard to request a vote by mail ballot. Don’t let coronavirus disenfranchise Nebraska voters.

Linda Duckworth and Dianne Bystrom, Omaha

co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Nebraska

Yes, they do matter

My son Richard Patrick Gronstal died at the age of 9 months some 40 years ago. Nearly every month there is a moment when I remember my Ricky. The happy memories are still there. The grief is still there. Losing a child creates unfathomable pain and grief. I have shared with people I am close to that my Ricky’s life mattered.

No one ever told me: “Yes, but all lives matter.”

Those who loved me said: “Yes, Ricky’s life mattered.”

So when I see a protest sign or other sign that says, “Black Lives Matter,” I feel the pain and respond, “Yes, black lives matter.” I invite you to do the same.

Robert Gronstal, Omaha

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