Friday, August 15, 2008

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Association Near You : Hal Daub

I sat in on a neighborhood association meeting last night right around the corner from my house. It was the first of a series of meetings with mayoral candidates. Last night it was Hal Daub. What a tour de force.

I am of course partial to former guests of the Check with Chip radio show, but I can't imagine another candidate with Hal's depth of knowledge on a range of issues. That doesn't mean other candidates wouldn't make a good mayor of Omaha. But when you consider the big picture, the block-by-block picture in our neighborhood (with which Hal clearly was familiar), and the conscientious tenacity the office requires, well, that's why I say it's Hal's race to lose right now.

With Hal Daub in the race, the standard of competence will be set high in this mayoral campaign.

The only issue that didn't come up (though I left before session was over) was Daub versus Daub.

I have said before on the air that a supporter of Hal captured the dynamic when Daub and Mike Fahey were locked in a close contest for mayor in 2001. The Daub supporter said: "It's like every race Hal has ever run. The issue isn't his opponent. It's Daub versus Daub. People say: 'Hal Daub may be the sharpest, most productive mayor we've ever had, but do I want another four years of the contentious soap opera at city hall?'"

Of course people sometimes forget that 5 of 7 city council members also were not re-elected in 2001. Hal had a rough council to work with.

But the fact remains that the Daub versus Daub issue is floating out there.

I also have said on the air that the Hal Daub who encouraged me to run for the county board and whom I have gotten to know in recent years is not the same Hal Daub that governed the city as mayor.

Judge for yourself. Hal said he was about a third of the way through his tour of 100 neighborhood associations before the end of September. He has a notebook and pen and is listening and taking notes as well as talking.

2 comments:

OmaSteak said...

Hal truly has wonderful vision for the future of Omaha. That being said, paying for those "visions" is another matter...in a state with the sixth highest tax burden in the USA. As much progress as has been made in downtown and on the riverfront, take a slow drive around downtown and note all the empty storefronts outside the Old Market area. Downtown can only support so many bars and cafes...even with the new ballpark. Gang related crime and violence is out of control which can be squarely laid at the feet of Mayor Fahey/ex-chief Warren. Then there is the $1.5 billion plus sewer separation project and $500 million in unfunded fire/police pensions. Absolutely $0 of principal has been paid on the Qwest Center and hotel bonds. While Hal may have some grand vision for even further huge projects (streetcar/trolley and more), where is the capital going to come from??? I was really sorry to see Hal jump back into elective politics again. He should have stayed in the private sector and played the effective role of senior statesman for local Republicans. There's a reason why the real estate market in nearby western Iowa is still booming...it's NE people jumping the river to escape current and future NE taxes.

OmaSteak said...

Hal truly has wonderful vision for the future of Omaha. That being said, paying for those "visions" is another matter...in a state with the sixth highest tax burden in the USA. As much progress as has been made in downtown and on the riverfront, take a slow drive around downtown and note all the empty storefronts outside the Old Market area. Downtown can only support so many bars and cafes...even with the new ballpark. Gang related crime and violence is out of control which can be squarely laid at the feet of Mayor Fahey/ex-chief Warren. Then there is the $1.5 billion plus sewer separation project and $500 million in unfunded fire/police pensions. Absolutely $0 of principal has been paid on the Qwest Center and hotel bonds. While Hal may have some grand vision for even further huge projects (streetcar/trolley and more), where is the capital going to come from??? I was really sorry to see Hal jump back into elective politics again. He should have stayed in the private sector and played the effective role of senior statesman for local Republicans. There's a reason why the real estate market in nearby western Iowa is still booming...it's NE people jumping the river to escape current and future NE taxes.