Some council races take shape

Some council races take shape

By Juan Perez Jr. February 4, 2013 3:05 pm Comments

City Council President Tom Mulligan announced a re-election bid for District 7 this morning,  formally placing the incumbent into a three-person race.

Mulligan will face Tim Lonergan — former member of the Metropolitan Community College board of governors and owner of a lawn care and snow removal business — and Aimee Melton, a former Douglas County attorney and managing partner of the Reagan, Melton & Delaney LLP law firm.

UPDATE, 2/5: Former council member Chuck Sigerson (Mulligan’s predecessor) endorsed Melton, the candidate said Monday. We’re still awaiting a formal statement from Sigerson.

Mulligan told a group assembled at west Omaha’s Remington Heights assisted living facility that his priorities included getting up-to-date police and fire equipment, recruiting new businesses and jobs to Omaha and streamlining the city’s permitting and planning processes.

“Serving on the City Council is not about partisanship,” Mulligan said. “It is about providing leadership and solutions for Omaha.”

Lonergan has said he would work to eliminate the city’s restaurant tax, improve public safety and “hold the line on city spending.” Melton seeks more transparency and efficiency in government spending, but will also address the city’s ongoing struggles with violent crime.

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In other council race-related news, Virgil Patlan is working to distinguish himself from incumbent Garry Gernandt in South Omaha’s District 4.

Patlan and Gernandt have a lot in common, except their politics. Gernandt, as many readers know, cast the deciding vote in last year’s controversial effort to extend some legal protections to gay and transgender residents.

Patlan issued a statement last week that said the ordinance was “a moral issue and not a City Council issue.”

“Many Omahans and churches stand against this issue in and outside of District 4, and so do I,” he said. “No one class of people should be given special rights.”

Patlan said he would’ve voted against the ordinance and opened his campaign office to give prospective voters a chance to sign a petition, led by the Omaha Liberty Project, that would’ve put the ordinance up for a vote in the spring election. Again, as many readers know, that petition didn’t clear enough signatures to make the ballot this year.

Still, it’s one example of how the District 4 candidates differ.