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Pay off existing bonds first

The Millard school board is asking taxpayers to vote for a $125 million bond issue in the upcoming May 12 election. I wonder how many people in the Millard area look at their real property tax statement when they receive it. If they do, they will see that we are already paying for a Millard school bond plus four other bonds that have been passed throughout Omaha and Douglas County.

I am paying a little over $900 a year just to pay for these five bonds that have been passed over the years. It’s no wonder everyone is complaining about high taxes. The school board says that it will cost the average homeowner only $20 more a year. Well, I’m an average homeowner, and I am paying over $300 a year for the last Millard school bond issue that was passed.

I’m asking every taxpayer to vote against this new Millard school bond issue until some of the other bonds are paid.

Fred Wolf, Omaha

Wheel tax is best option

Mayor Jean Stothert is putting out a false choice regarding the $200 million bond proposal. Stothert wrongly says, “We will never catch up” (Jan. 24 World-Herald) if we don’t pass her bond proposal. Raising the wheel tax instead is the appropriate and long-term way to close the gap on Omaha’s investment in our roads.

Property owners who use mass transit, ride hailing services, bike lanes, etc., would be punished with this bond proposal. Additionally, I have no appetite for using my tax dollars to bring unimproved roads up to standard. The owners who live on these unimproved roads made a choice, and those owners should be responsible for the improvements. Not to mention, a great number of these roads are found adjacent to million-dollar homes in District 66.

Finally, Omaha must find a way for the Sarpy County commuters to get some skin in the game. Too many drive across the county line to collect their paycheck and then take their tax dollars back to the suburbs. EZ Pass systems have become popular in sprawling cities, and I believe it is time for Omaha to consider this option.

If the proposal finds its way onto the ballot I urge my neighbors to vote “No.”

Andrew Adams, Omaha

Impeachment defense

I found it ironic when Sen. Mitch McConnell said that he didn’t want to allow further witnesses or documents to be presented in the Senate impeachment trial because, in his words, “It is not the Senate’s job” to help the House of Representatives make their case for impeaching President Trump.

Wouldn’t these same witnesses and documents also find Trump innocent and exonerate him from the impeachment charges? Was Sen. McConnell afraid of what might come to light in the trial?

Rick Madej, Omaha

Freedom and the nanny state

The only thing free is freedom. At least in America. Freedom is also the easiest thing to give up. It starts early, by believing in the “free stuff for everybody” promise from the likes of our socialist candidates. That mindset is common in countries transitioning from democracies to total government control. At the same time we are being slowly pressed to reconsider our right to bear arms.

What a beautiful combination: a populace totally dependent on the government, and no arms in case we turn America into a one-party dictatorship. Can’t happen here? Compare the Democratic presidents from JFK to Clinton and Obama, then imagine a Sanders or Warren presidency. We are moving so far left, Obama couldn’t get reelected.

We just want to crawl up in the ideological fetal position and vote in the nanny state. Be careful what you wish for; only a bloody revolution could bring back our freedom and rights. Oh wait, all our guns would be confiscated. We would have to throw rocks at government tanks like they do in China, Iran, Hong Kong, Venezuela, etc.

Jeff Gonzales, Omaha

Sanders offers sound ideas

In the pages of The World-Herald, Doyle McManus has given us a well-reasoned and thoughtful picture of what foreign policy would be under Bernie Sanders (Jan. 24).

Sanders appeals to a wide range of Americans, with policies that are bold, down to earth and refreshingly unconcerned with securing the favor of the most powerful corporate entities. Newly energized by the Sanders campaign, vast numbers of Midwesterners, many from Omaha, are eagerly traveling to Iowa to knock on doors for Bernie.

Bernie Sanders has especially struck a chord with his Green New Deal, which will create millions of good jobs as our economy transitions to clean energy. Iowans, in particular, will benefit from the plan’s agricultural incentives: it will pay farmers $160 billion for putting carbon back into the soil.

For once, farmers will be able to build healthy soil without short-term financial setbacks. Small towns will be strengthened, and we will all, of course, benefit from effective carbon sequestration, healthier food and reduced contamination.

Christopher Lantz, Omaha

Abortion bill deserves support

Members of the Nebraska Legislature should be urged to support and pass Legislative Bill 814, which would render illegal that type of abortion so elegantly euphemized as “dismemberment abortion.” This particularly savage method of terminating a pregnancy should be repugnant to any rational human being. Some authorities say that this procedure was used “only” 32 times in 2,078 abortion procedures performed in Nebraska in 2018. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a statistic to be proud of.

The pity is that in a society so solicitous of the welfare of cats and dogs, legislation such as this should even be considered necessary — a damning indictment of the civilization in which we live.

Doctors: “First do no harm.”

Legislators: Please save our children from the abortion “doctors.”

John A. Daum, Omaha

Take climate change seriously

Carbon dioxide absorbs heat energy (Tyndall, 1859), causing greenhouse warming (Arrhenius, 1896). “The effect may be considerable” from “burning 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year,” wrote Popular Mechanics in March 1912. In 1938 Guy Callendar modeled the effect mathematically for the Royal Meteorological Society.

In the 1950s Walt Disney included a gee-whiz animated segment in his TV series showing our descendants having fun in glass-bottom boats looking down on a drowned Florida.

Even the petroleum industry at one time recognized the danger, as the isotope signature of the increased CO2 positively identified it as coming from fossil fuels. Exxon “had data pertaining to climate change as early as 1981, seven years before it became a public issue” when NASA researcher James Hansen warned the Senate on a sweltering day in 1988.

Now we get two 100-year floods in eight years, while Australia may be on its way to becoming the first continent to be made uninhabitable by the climate crisis. If climate-science deniers continue to hold positions of power, doomsayers will be proven correct. Nothing is more important than getting serious. Now.

Jim Bechtel, Omaha

Farmers and welfare payments

Randall T. Langan’s letter concerning “Socialist payments to farmers” (Jan. 18 Public Pulse) is spot-on. As a former cattle rancher/farmer in Idaho, I was able to graze my cattle for $1 per head/per year on Bureau of Land Management land. The BLM cost was well below commercial grazing rates, and was nothing less than a ranching subsidy, which is a type of welfare, pure and simple.

Many industries in this country receive government subsidies — welfare. But do people complain about this type of welfare? Not usually. Instead, we have clueless clowns complaining about people in need on welfare struggling to get by on $700 to $1,000 per month.

In Dan Hoffman’s Jan. 22 Pulse letter, he says that people criticizing farmers shouldn’t do so with a full mouth. Perhaps if the government didn’t prop up commodity prices via subsidies (welfare), the cost to fill one’s mouth would be less.

Nathan S. Feldman, Omaha

Access to immigration courts

Even as we deal with problems in the Middle East and the impeachment trial at home, we cannot forget the thousands of refugees languishing at our southern border. Seeking asylum is legal under U.S. and international law, and refugees must be allowed a hearing to make their case.

The current situation of deliberately plugging up entrance points and slowing down access to immigration courts betrays our responsibilities under our own and international immigration laws. This needs to stop!

Donna Alcocer, Bellevue

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