We warned you. We really did.
Thanks to the influx of voters from Western parts of Omaha far more concerned about the single issue of taxation, Jean Stothert defeated the incumbent mayor Jim Suttle in the last election. I worked on Jim’s campaign, not just because he was a Democrat but because I actually, truly believed in the man.
Oh, Jim was a fairly horrible politician. He was stilted in communication, came across as curmudgeonly, biffed small decisions, and was not warm, fuzzy, or charismatic. He was just REALLY smart and a REALLY great mayor. But actually doing a good job as mayor doesn’t particularly matter to rich white suburbanites who only vote for someone based on whether they’ll promise to lower property taxes.
Jim cared about the right things, from helping North Omahans rise from poverty to financially planning for the city’s future. During a recession, he kept our economy bustling. He helped us survive the worst flood the modern city of Omaha had ever seen. He made tough calls. He restored our Triple A bond rating. He more or less did everything you could ever want a mayor to do. Well, everything short of being a Republican making promises that couldn’t be kept.
There’s a bombshell new piece of information that was released today. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I’d like to take you on a tour of what WE said Mean Jean would do if elected and what she’s actually done.
We said she didn’t play nice with others.
Jean did three things almost immediately after taking office: She bought a gun, bought a dog, and issued a gag order guaranteeing that no one who disagreed with her could ever actually communicate with the public. The very idea that public servants can’t, you know, communicate with the public is the height of insanity. Everyone got riled up about it…and then forgot. This was pretty much how she wanted that to go. Good politicians welcome dialogue. Bad ones say “Shut it, stooge” and hope everyone stops paying attention.
She has done none of the things she promised.
We told you that she was horribly overpromising during the campaign. With 1/4 of her term in the bag, let’s see how she’s done on those promises.
1.) She criticized the restaurant and wheel taxes. Those are still in place with no signs of change.
2.) She promised no increases in property taxes or any other taxes but that our services would remain the same or expand. Turns out, you have to pay for stuff. Enjoy your departmental cutbacks, Omaha!
3.) Just like she did with the UNMC expansion, Mean Jean runs around saying she supports the Crossroads project, she just doesn’t want to actually fund it.
If anyone can point to LITERALLY anything that she did (besides renegotiate a worse contract than the one she previously negotiated with our fire department), I’m willing to listen.
Oh, and one more thing…
Jim Suttle was an engineer before becoming Mayor of Omaha. It was expertise that he leveraged during the flood that happened a few years back. It was also helping him to make informed decisions about the impending sewer situation Omaha faces. Suttle had traveled to Washington about the parameters of these requirements and was making progress in terms of how Omaha would pay for the required changes to our sewer system.
Happy birthday, Omahans! Mean Jean is raising your sewer tax by 45%.
Adorably, she’s calling it a “sewer fee.” Because the difference between a tax and a fee is when a Republican says you have to pay more to the government, it’s a “fee.” This would be the opposite of what she said she’d do.
It’s a long road to the next Mayoral election. Years, in fact. This isn’t me trying to say “na na na, we told you so!” Okay, so maybe it’s a LITTLE “we told you so.” But it’s a LOT more about trying to demonstrate that every constituent should work to make sure the best candidate to represent them stays in office. I don’t care if you thought Suttle was awkward or out of touch. That dude flat-out managed this city to remarkable success and delivered on what he said he would. Now we have a gun-toting, dog-owning, gag-order issuing Mayor who not only hasn’t lowered taxes like she said to get elected, she’s raised them.
I love my city. We deserve better than this.