Archive for February, 2013

Suttle focuses on economy in State of the City

Suttle focuses on economy in State of the City

Omaha, according to Mayor Jim Suttle, is making successful strides out of the recession — but plenty of work remains on job growth and crime, particularly in the eastern half of the city.

In his State of the City speech on Thursday, Suttle’s central focus was on the local economy. He said he’s pushed to streamline city government and work with businesses and private groups to make sure spending cuts didn’t hurt city services.

Among the highlights he pointed to: development and growth in companies like Gavilon, building its new headquarters downtown and Airlite Plastics, which is expanding at the Airport Industrial Park. Those two projects plus the opening of a new Walmart in north Omaha will create 1,000 new jobs, Suttle said.

February 28, 2013 Comments Read More
Suttle, Chambers spar over inmate furloughs

Suttle, Chambers spar over inmate furloughs

Mayor Jim Suttle was in Lincoln this week, pushing state lawmakers to end the practice of letting some inmates out for furloughs or early release halfway into their sentences.

As Joe Duggan reported, Suttle has been talking about the issue since September, when an inmate on furlough — a gang member with a long record — was shot and killed by police in north Omaha. He says Legislative Bill 379, which would keep inmates convicted of weapons-related crimes or multiple felonies out of contention for furloughs– would make the city safer.

But Suttle was up against other notable Omaha politicians, including Sen. Ernie Chambers, who said cutting off furloughs and the possibility of early release for inmates with good behavior will lead to prison overcrowding. He also had to make his case to Sen. Brad Ashford, the Judiciary Committee chairman, who is hoping to unseat Suttle in this spring’s mayorl election.

February 28, 2013 Comments Read More
ICYMI: City fared well in recession

ICYMI: City fared well in recession

If you haven’t already, check out Henry Cordes’ piece on how Omaha weathered the Great Recession.

No metro area in the country took a more gentle economic tumble, the Brookings Institution concluded.

February 26, 2013 Comments Read More
Suttle talks jobs

Suttle talks jobs

Mayor Jim Suttle announced his office would earmark money in next year’s city budget for job training, but also seek to “enhance” the city’s tax-increment financing program and create an advisory council of business professionals and policymakers to help advance economic growth.

“We must do more to bring industry and job trainers together to ensure that our workforce is properly trained to fill the high-demand jobs of today’s society and anticipate trends to ensure our workforce is ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Suttle said.

The mayor’s comments come as job creation and economic development again emerge as key campaign issues in this year’s city election. His annual State of the City speech is scheduled for this week, and it’s a safe bet that he’ll touch on these issues again. We’re waiting to hear more details on the specific proposals he outlined this morning.

February 26, 2013 Comments Read More
Stothert hits airwaves

Stothert hits airwaves

Ad wars heating up. Take a look:

EDIT, 2/26: Stothert’s radio ad is also up. You can hear it after the jump.

February 25, 2013 Comments Read More
Yes, it’s still winter

Yes, it’s still winter

So this is good news*. Omaha snow removal crews are “planning for the worst,” said Scott McIntyre, the city’s street maintenance engineer.

“This really has the potential to be a pretty significant snowfall,” McIntyre said of this week’s expected storm. “It’s going to be a difficult snow operation to stay on top of.”

The city will also declare a snow emergency late Thursday/Friday, meaning new parking regulations will take effect.

February 20, 2013 Comments Read More
Ashford ads hit radio, YouTube

Ashford ads hit radio, YouTube

Brad Ashford’s campaign has launched a YouTube channel, which includes three radio spots (one shows up twice, in English and Spanish.)

So far, he’s using the 30-second ads to focus on crime, education and “giving taxpayers a voice at City Hall.”

February 19, 2013 Comments Read More
Suttle still strong with previous donors

Suttle still strong with previous donors

Other campaigns throw out a lot of words to describe Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. “Damaged.” “Unpopular.” “Weak.”

But Suttle’s standing with his previous supporters is in great shape. a World-Herald analysis found that three out of four of his previous donors who are active in this race are again backing the mayor.

That’s the highest rate among any of the five contenders, though it’s not exactly a fair comparison. None of the challengers have ever mounted a citywide race. So while previous supporters may have thought someone would make a fine city council member or state senator or even governor, they may be less sure about the candidate’s readiness for the mayor’s office.

February 19, 2013 Comments Read More
Pothole season is upon us

Pothole season is upon us

The good news: It’s not the worst pothole season we’ve seen in recent years. Mild temperatures and limited snowfall (so far, anyway) have meant fewer massive craters in Omaha’s roads.

City crews starting filling in the holes in December, when there were 10 work orders for potholes. The number jumped to 186 in January and was already at 151 by late last week.

The bad news: A few more snow-melt cycles might make the numbers jump even higher. But the city does have several ways to get in touch about a pothole that needs repaired.

You can check in by phone (402-444-4919), online through the Public Works Department or by using the city’s mobile app.

February 18, 2013 Comments Read More
Carver Bank building taking shape

Carver Bank building taking shape

World-Herald metro columnist Erin Grace took a closer look at ongoing revival efforts near 24th and Lake today.

“Sometime soon, after the walls go up and the artists move in, a formerly mothballed pair of connected buildings on Lake Street will begin their next chapter,” she writes. “What will open in this space, called Carver Bank, in homage to its past as Nebraska’s first black-owned bank, is an artist-in-residence program.”

Long a priority of civic leaders, a large-scale makeover of 24th and Lake is seen as a way to boost development and tourism in a part of the city stressed by crime, unemployment and poverty. That area, city leaders hope, would eventually feature green space, an outdoor market and performance space.

We took a look at this project a few months back, and it’s neat to see the progress being made so far.

February 18, 2013 Comments Read More