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The Nebraska Legislature's legislative chamber at the State Capitol.

Nebraska, embrace tolerance

Many opponents of Legislative Bill 627, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to Nebraska’s anti-discrimination laws, are making the misleading claim this would place an unnecessary burden on businesses. However, this bill would not function any differently than existing laws that protect classes like race or sex. It is actually likely to do the opposite of what critics claim, attracting workers and businesses by showing our state government’s commitment to social tolerance.

Others claim it threatens religious freedom. Yet, this bill does not interfere with churches’ right to practice or individuals’ rights to believe anything regarding marriage or sexuality. It is also hard to see how, even with a conservative understanding of those issues, the teachings of Jesus can be used to justify workplace discrimination against anyone.

I am one of many young Nebraskans mulling whether to return after gradation. Denying these protections sends a message that if you do not fit in a narrowly defined box of what our state leaders define as acceptable, they will not have your back. It is time for our Legislature and Gov. Ricketts to stop lecturing to young Nebraskans and start listening, so we can break out of that box and grow by embracing a more diverse and accepting future.

Chris Russert, Mankato, Minn.

OPS retirement fund injustice

I offer comments on “Responsible OPS proposal” (World-Herald editorial, Jan. 21):

First, the Omaha Public Schools administration does not seem to understand how freaking mad retired and present teachers are at Mike Smith and the OSERS representatives for tanking our retirement system. Accountability must take place for these people. They must be prosecuted. They must all be replaced and their retirements benefits canceled.

They violated the trust we put in them, for personal gain (free trips, free motels, free meals, paid leave). What is laughable is the fact they did not even track Omaha’s best stock — Berkshire Hathaway. Think where the present fund would be if they would have invested in BH stock in decades past.

Second, let’s look at an alternative. Let’s cap all OPS retirement benefits at $50,000 per year. The administration and central office retirees who are getting large annual benefits were in the best position to police the OSERs board, a task at which they failed miserably. These retirees are also receiving special benefits ranging above $25,000 a year. This would save the Omaha taxpayers major sums per year.

Keith Thiessen, Papillion

No to this liquor sale request

Is the City of Omaha really enthusiastic about North Omaha being redeveloped? Why do we ask? Decisions are being made to continue to flood North Omaha with establishments that sell liquor — here we go again!

This time the request is from the Family Dollar store so they can generate more business. This Family Dollar store, at 24th and Hamilton Streets, where there is an African American church across the street from the store, is a half block from the front door of Kellom Elementary School and Educate; a block from the side door of the newer Learning Community Center; and a block from Blackburn School and the Boys & Girls Club.

You can’t convince us that the decision to allow liquor to be sold that close to those sites — a preschool, an elementary school and a school that has older teens and a recreational center where kids go to get off the street — would be in the best interest of the parents and residents, since we can’t control what people do when they consume liquor.

It’s disgusting that authorities would even consider this store, being that close to where kids go to feel safe. Come on, people, enough is enough!

Ernie Boykin, Omaha

Babysitting the president

I am responding to Sen. Sasse’s letter of Feb. 5 in The World-Herald concerning Trump, his dealings with Ukraine that instigated the impeachment proceedings and his circle of advisers, specifically Rudy Giuliani. Ben Sasse’s comment that “it’s time for the president and adults on his team” is rather troubling. Is President Trump so easily swayed by advisers acting in such a manner that normal rational adults need to constantly monitor Trump’s or the advisers’ actions, so that the bad advice or actions don’t actually get implemented?

If that is so, then President Trump is not fit to be the president.

Back door or off-the-books foreign or domestic policy actions by Trump’s advisers or operatives have no place in the workings of the federal government. As those dealings come to light, they must be stopped immediately. If the adults on Trump’s team get wind of those dealings, they must be reported to the appropriate authorities. This is how our democracy will survive.

Dennis Young, Omaha

Use critical thinking, not emotion

Four letters in Thursday’s Public Pulse dealt with current actions by the U.S. Senate. Two of the letters used the words ”reason, states, law, judgment, confirms, ethics, logic” to appeal to higher-order thinking as the writers analyzed Sen. Sasse’s rationale for voting to acquit the president. The other two letters used the words “Haters, childlike, stunt, pouting, childish, poisonous, Disgusting” and “hate” twice to appeal to emotions as the writers responded to Speaker of the House Pelosi’s action following the president’s speech before Congress.

If we all tried to think and discuss critical national issues more rationally and less emotionally, we would better serve this country we all want to preserve.

HoneyLou Bonar, Hastings, Neb.

Trump has revived our country

President Trump has been acquitted by the Senate. We’ve had almost four years of such investigations. My questions are:

Do you think it is more likely that after all this time and money spent on these investigations that President Trump is actually the diabolical super-criminal that can beat all these investigations? Or, were the mainstream media, Speaker Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nader and the rest of the Democrats in Congress lying to you?

During the State of the Union Address President Trump bragged about the state of the economy and the prosperity that it is bringing to the citizens of America. Nancy Pelosi ripped up the speech and called it basically lies. So did the rest of the Democrat Congress.

Do you think President Trump and his administration has phonied up the data on economic success? Are the reports on unemployment, wage increases and the Dow Jones Industrial Average a conspiracy of lies by the Trump administration? Or, are the mainstream media and Democrats lying to you?

Let me suggest that if you are mad and upset that Trump is the president, maybe that is what the mainstream media and the Democrats want you to think, because they do not have better ideas. Perhaps, you should get those people out of your ear.

From where I sit, America is better than it has ever been in my lifetime. I like the water in the pool of Donald Trump’s administration. Let loose of all the negative your media and the Democrats fill you with, and jump in the pool of happiness and relaxation with the Trump agenda.

There is plenty of room here for you. Bring a friend.

Thomas M. Rawley, Omaha

The political left poses dangers

Recent Pulse writer Greg Kosmicki (Feb. 6) said that Ben Sasse was “kowtowing to President Trump’s destruction of the Constitution.” I wonder what that destruction would be?

Could it be the suppression of free speech in general in our society, and in particular on college campuses? Nope, that’s the left. Could it be the transformation of our formally free press into a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party? Nope, the left again.

Could it be the constant efforts to abridge the right to keep and bear arms? No, it’s still the left.

Could it be the FBI and others illegally spying on Trump supporters? Guess what, the left again. Could it be violent groups like Antifa intimidating peaceful assembly? No, the left again. And could it be the guilty until proven innocent tactics used against people like Justice Kavanaugh? By golly, it’s the left again.

I could go on and on, but the point is clear.

The writer said in closing, “Bob Dylan asked in a song, ‘How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?’ The answer, America, is an infinite number.”

I would paraphrase that and say, “How many times can a liberal look at a bowl of apples and see oranges?” The answer, America, is an infinite number of times.

P. L. Butcher, Shenandoah, Iowa

A super Mavericks welcome

My son recently celebrated his 9th birthday at one of his favorite places: Baxter Arena during a UNO hockey game. The UNO athletic department and hockey team went above and beyond to make him feel special, surprising him with a signed poster and hockey stick, welcoming 10 third-graders, accommodating our requests for gifts and a cake, even sending over Durango to wish Easton a happy birthday.

Their attention to detail and sheer kindness exemplified why they are Omaha’s team.

UNO Hockey not only gains support through the stellar talent of their student athletes, but also by showing sincere appreciation and kindness to their fans. Your efforts created priceless memories our son — and his friends — will always remember. Thank you to Jeff Packer, Pam Schwarting, Jake McKamey, Logan Mendez, Coach Kemp and the entire UNO hockey team — we are Mavericks fans for life!

Brandi Paul and family, Gretna

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