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And Then There Were Three

February 12, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Wal-Mart lovers rejoice: the big, bad, All-American bully of retail is coming to 84th and Adams. Apparently Wal-Mart decided it could live within 175,000 square feet after all, despite its earlier protestations that 190,000 was the smallest it could go, and despite its initial preference for 230,000. (Then again, according to Mayor Seng’s math 175,000 x 2 is better than 230,000 x 1, so apparently everybody is a little fuzzy on their numbers these days.)

As a southsider who makes occasional trips to Omaha, this news just represents one more source of traffic on 84th Street making the drive to I-80 more difficult. Before long I’ll have to drive west to Highway 77 just to get to Omaha. South and East Beltways, where are you?

Why Won’t You Quit?

February 12, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Kathy Burkman is mad at Time Warner Cable and wants them to change. But there’s a hitch:

Maybe they don’t want me for a customer. Unfortunately, I want their product.

Indeed, Ms. Burkman’s sentiment is not unique. I have heard many people—in my family, on the bus, at work, and elsewhere—utter a line along the lines of “I hate Time Warner and I want them to change, but I’m not willing to give up their services”. Why should Time Warner change if their customers are willing to put up with the existing product? What’s their incentive? Happier customers? Happy customers pay the same each month as annoyed customers. More customers? Probably, but that’s only an incentive if the money from the new customers is greater than the investment required to earn them. Only Time Warner knows those numbers.

In any event, the pace at which Time Warner fixes the problem (or “problem”, depending on your perspective) is proportional to the incentive their current and potential customers give them to fix it. Why not increase their incentive? That is: quit. Call up Time Warner and tell them that you are dropping their service until they improve X, Y, and Z. Of course, one person quitting isn’t a big deal. So how ‘bout a community-wide “Quit Time Warner Day”? Let’s make it, say, March 1. Tell your family and friends. Tell Cindy Lange-Kubick. Tell the cities that Time Warner next wants to roll out its Navigator software in. And then when the big day comes, quit.

I know some of you are dying to tell me this plan won’t work, so please do go right ahead. What’s your better idea? And please don’t rely too heavily on the “we need another cable company” line. That may be true, but I know some folks in Omaha who would tell you that the presence of competition alone isn’t enough to ensure a high-quality product.

Friday Five

February 9, 2007 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five City of Lincoln web pages you should know about and use:

  1. Lancaster County Property Information
  2. InterLinc RSS Feeds
  3. Antelope Valley Project
  4. Lincoln Public Schools
  5. Lincoln’s Budget

As an aside, I think it’s funny that this page has been blank for at least a couple years. Insert your own spin here.

A Special Message

February 7, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

A famous Lincolnite has a special message for all of you.

Do you have any messages you would like to share?

Lafayette Loves Lincoln

February 7, 2007 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today’s Deena Winter column talks about how Lafayette, Louisiana loves Lincoln. Check our Lafayette’s take on Lincoln.

Who Will Coach Our Team?

February 7, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

104.1 The Blaze hosted a forum for the mayoral candidates, and this summary of their responses is worth a read. They talk a bit about the issues—the same issues they’ve talked about many times before—and they make some promises, but there is not much new to learn.

I do want to comment on one thing, though. At the end, the candidates were asked to grade the city’s “economy and quality of life”. The responses were:

  • Yant: C
  • Beutler: C, but he’d give its government an F
  • Svoboda: C

It is becoming increasingly clear that the candidates are convinced that negativity buys votes in Lincoln. And you know what? They’re probably right. Lincolnites, for whatever reason, are in a funk right now. I have commented on that before. The candidates are feeding off that negative energy—and in turn they are fueling it.

Negativity has its place. A community like Lincoln can’t afford to sit back and act like life is perfect and there are no improvements to be made. The desire to improve is necessary.

But negativity can also hamper the very improvement we’re seeking. What are the benefits of tearing down local government? Hopefully improved government, of course, but the side effects are decreased public confidence in and satisfaction with government and its employees. What are the benefits of ripping on the local economy? The desire to improve it, sure, but why would big businesses want to come on board a ship that all the passengers claim is sinking?

I would love to vote for a candidate who knows how to plan for the future without tearing apart the present and the past. The candidates should be ashamed of themselves for giving life in Lincoln a grade of C. There is a lot of room for improvement, but we live a darn good life here in Lincoln.

In my years of sports officiating this has become very clear: Teams whose coaches build upon the players’ strengths are more successful than teams whose coaches dwell on the players’ weaknesses. What sort of coach do you want to put in charge of this talented team of ours?

About that LES Surcharge

February 7, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

LES wants a 5.5% surcharge added to local electric bills through December to help pay for the cost of purchasing power on the open market after this winter’s major ice storm in central Nebraska damaged a good chunk of that area’s transmission lines. That’s all fine, but the Journal Star never bothers to report what the alternative is. Today’s LJS editorial uses floppy logic like this to support the surcharge:

The burden of a surcharge for LES customers pales in comparison with the problems with which Nebraskans in the worst-hit areas had to cope.

In other words, other people had it worse, so we should feel lucky to pay 5.5% extra each month. Lucky we may be, but that is no justification for the surcharge. The surcharge may or may not be the best of the available options (it probably is), but how are we to know? If you don’t understand why that bit of information is important for the public to know, read the comments at the bottom of the LJS article. Many of the commenters could really use some more information about the surcharge.

Plastic Titillation

February 6, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

How long until some Journal Star commenter has a conniption fit over the graphic that accompanied the aging article [Warning: nudity!] on the front page of section D?

Hy-Vee is On Again - For now

February 6, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Looks like Hy-Vee will live at 50th and O after all. Sheesh, what a mess. They had better build one heckuva grocery store!

The Solution to Lincoln’s Money Woes

February 5, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Don’t worry about paying the bills, fellow Lincolnites. Now that I know how easy it can be to extort a couple million out of big companies, I have a plan: we somehow get LPD to soil itself over a pop machine (maybe we tape a picture of Melissa Midwest to it), shut down the city, and then sue the bajeebers out of Coca-Cola. Wash, rinse, repeat, and suddenly we have ourselves an arena.

I know I know, that’s a tad heavy on the sarcasm for a Monday. But geez, $2 million for littering? Come on.

Alphabet of Lincoln

February 5, 2007 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

A is for Antelope Valley, the ditch with a dream
B is for Bike Lanes, those bizarrely implemented stripes Downtown
C is for Children’s Zoo, our just-right-sized gem
D is for Douglas Theatres, Lincoln’s favorite monopoly
E is for Embassy Suites, brought to us by John Q.
F is for Fire Trucks, don’t get us started…
G is for Goodhue, who just got his own street
H is for Havelock (I bet you thought I’d say Haymarket!)
I is for Ice Box, home of the Stars
J is for Journal Star, the city’s newspaper
K is for K-12, brought to you by Lincoln Public Schools
L is for Lied Center for Performing Arts, where we get cultured
M is for Melissa Midwest, LPD’s favorite Lincolnite
N is for No Smoking, not in our businesses
O is for O Street, so straight and long
P is for Pershing Center, a sad little arena
Q is for Q Street, perhaps home to Lincoln’s newest high-rise
R is for Ribfest, with its good food and good music
S is for Sunken Garden, that beautiful hole in the ground
T is for Trails, all across the city
U is for U-Turns, which Lincoln finally allows in a few places
V is for Valentino’s, Lincoln’s favorite pizza
W is for Wilderness Park, a small forest in the city
X is for American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Museum (no really [PDF])
Y is for YMCA Youth Sports, providing athletic opportunities for our kids
Z is for Zoo Bar, the place to go for live music

Online Banking Like It’s 1999

February 5, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I am a longtime Union Bank customer. I like Union Bank, in large part because I have always been very impressed by their customer service. They have been good to me, and I reward that with my business.

But Union Bank’s online banking system? Awful. Horrible. Terribly, pitifully, laughably bad. And that’s after the “upgrade” that went into effect today. The user experience is—I’m running out of synonyms for awful—atrocious.

Seriously, Union Bank, it’s 2007. The rest of the world is on Web 2.0 and you’re on, what, Web 0.8?

It’s a good thing I like Union Bank for other reasons.

Huff Stuff

February 2, 2007 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Assistant Fire Chief John Huff was reinstated by the City Personnel Board yesterday, and he plans to report for work today. Ultimately the City’s contention that Huff’s role in the firetruck fiasco warranted his firing came down to he-said-he-said between Huff and Deputy Chief of Maintenance Dennis Klein.

It seems like a reasonable outcome given the relatively weak evidence. That’s not to say that Klein’s word is no good, but simply that it alone isn’t enough to take Huff off the job.

What do you think? Was the right decision reached? Should the City now appeal to District Court?

Friday Five

February 2, 2007 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five topics to write about if you want to be sure to get published on the LJS opinion page:

  1. Fire trucks (hurry, time’s running out!)
  2. Snow removal (seasonal)
  3. Lincoln’s awful traffic (a classic)
  4. Property taxes (another classic)
  5. Chuck Hagel (he is God; he is a terrorist; he ate my baby; etc)

Help Name the Food Blog

February 1, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Wow, I totally spaced off my promise to start up a new Lincoln-related food blog. How come nobody bothered to bop me upside the head?

Anyway, this blog needs a name. Something better than “A Lincoln-related Food Blog”. I have a couple not-especially-profound ideas, but I know one of you has a real winner. Fire away with your suggestions!

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