The city politics blog of The Omaha World-Herald

Omaha runs out of the offices at 1819 Farnam St. The work there impacts your safety, your parks, your pocketbook. You'll find the best City Hall coverage on this site. It also is a place for you to weigh in. Welcome to Omaha's eye on local government: The Hall.
Storz will move in to former Rick’s Cafe

Storz will move in to former Rick’s Cafe

Big news for the former Rick’s Café Boatyard: The Storz Brewing Co. is moving in.

The Omaha brewer that closed its  plant in 1972 is bringing back its beer, which it will serve in the 19,000-square-foot bar and restaurant on the riverfront.  The Storz Trophy Room Grill & Brewery will be operated by Yves Menard, owner of the Charlie’s on the Lake restaurant. It is scheduled to open Nov. 15.

The city-owned property has been quiet since January, when Rick’s closed and its owner defaulted on his lease agreement with the city.

By August 8, 2013 Comments Read More
“Negotiate versus litigate.” — Fire Chief Mike McDonnell, on solving a budget standoff

“Negotiate versus litigate.” — Fire Chief Mike McDonnell, on solving a budget standoff

Read more here.

Budget hints at future projects

Budget hints at future projects

Check out the entire Capital Improvement Program 2014-2019 plan here.

By August 5, 2013 Comments Read More
This briefcase knows City Hall

This briefcase knows City Hall

A briefcase that got its start at City Hall in 1979 is still alive and kicking — and hauling around the exact same kind of stuff.

Erin Grace has the story of how the briefcase Lou Anderson used as a City Council aide more than three decades ago has become a mainstay of city government, carrying the paperwork that makes the council run. It was used by former council chief of staff Warren Weaver, who recently retired, and is  now being used by Jim Dowding, serving as interim chief of staff.

By August 1, 2013 Comments Read More
Trucks causing rumblings in north downtown

Trucks causing rumblings in north downtown

If you hang out around a stretch of historic warehouses-turned offices in north downtown, you can apparently experience something similar to an earthquake.

Business and building owners along a stretch of Nicholas Street, just north of TD Ameritrade Park, are fed up with big trucks roaring past, headed for the Interstate from industries in north Omaha. 

It’s a tricky problem for the city, which has encouraged development around the stadium and the CenturyLink Center, but also wants to see companies thrive a few blocks to the north. So far, there’s no great solution.

By August 1, 2013 Comments Read More
Planning changes will wait for director

Planning changes will wait for director

Mayor Jean Stothert says she’ll wait until she hires a new planning director until she implements any of the big changes she talked about during her campaign.

Discussions about reforming the Planning Department were front and center during this spring’s election. 

With Stothert in office, there’s already been some shuffling in the department.

By July 30, 2013 Comments Read More
Adorable creature soon legal in Omaha?

Adorable creature soon legal in Omaha?

Prepare to possibly die of cuteness, Omaha.

The aptly-named “Sugar Glider” a small, omnivorous, arboreal gliding possum (thanks, Wikipedia), may soon be an approved house pet in Omaha. The City Council is considering adding the sugar glider – in addition to (seriously) hedgehogs — to the list of animals that can be licensed in the city. Tiny motorcycles are not expected to be part of the discussion.

We borrowed the picture featured in this post from the “Glider Gossip” message board section of sugarglider.com — one of the many, weird websites we encountered during hours of exhaustive research into the miniature marsupial.

BUDGETFEST2K14

BUDGETFEST2K14

 

Next steps for design rules

Next steps for design rules

The organization that has helped shaped the way Omaha looks has hit some significant milestones.

It’s been 10 years since Omaha By Design began working in earnest on design guidelines that provide rules on everything from building materials to green spaces around intersections. Now, the group has become a nonprofit organization and is coming up with more plans — and trying to make sure the city’s new mayor is on board.

Mayor Jean Stothert says she’s supportive of the city having design standards, but is concerned some could push developers to other cities.



 

By July 25, 2013 Comments Read More
Stothert: McDonnell can discuss budget

Stothert: McDonnell can discuss budget

Fire Chief Mike McDonnell may again talk to the media — or anyone else — about his department’s budget.

Five weeks after Mayor Jean Stothert directed McDonnell and other city department heads to get her approval before making any comments about the budget, the mayor has changed her mind. This week, she told the department leaders that they may discuss city finances.

The news, however, does not appear to have softened the tense relationship between the mayor and the fire chief. McDonnell said Wednesday night that he wouldn’t talk until Stothert put her new orders in writing. Stothert dismissed McDonnell’s request.

“McDonnell needs to act like a city department director and stop playing games,” she said. “No other director needs approval in writing.”

By July 18, 2013 Comments Read More