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Outsourcing Legal Assistance

April 20, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council opted to hire a private attorney rather than use the City attorney after being sued by Developmental Services of Nebraska (DSN). The five Council members who voted against allowing DSN to add a fourth individual to three of its group homes will be questioned under oath regarding the case. DSN argues that the City’s policies are discriminatory and create a shortage of housing in violation of federal law.

The lawsuit itself doesn’t bother me. These sorts of things happen, and ultimately they help clarify what everybody’s responsibilities are in terms of protecting individuals’ rights.

I am a little concerned about the Council deciding to hire a private attorney, however. The action seems unnecessary considering the City has its own attorney on the payroll. I know several of my regular readers have legal training. What’s your take on this? Is it a reasonable action, or does it strike you as unusual?

Raising Cane’s Coming to Town

April 19, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Swoof, over at Eatin’ in Lincoln, has noted that Lincoln is about to be greeted by a Raising Cane’s restaurant near 48th and ‘R’ (obnoxious website warning). Apparently it’s a chicken finger joint with a bunch of locations in Louisiana. As far as I can tell, their menu includes chicken fingers, fries, and cole slaw, in various combinations. (Fingers, fries, and cole slaw; fingers, extra fries, and cole slaw; lots of fingers, lots of fries, lots of cole slaw; and so on.)

I don’t know about you, but I can hardly contain my excitement.

One quick question for the grammarians out there: what’s with the apostrophe in Raising Cane’s? Raising Cane’s what? Raising Cane’s blood pressure? Raising Cane’s car insurance premiums?

I Can Bearly Stand It

April 18, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I am suffering some extreme Oso withdrawal. I didn’t get my weekly Oso fix last week, so it has been two whole weeks since I last had a tasty Oso burrito. I’m gonna make it there today, though, darn it. I can’t wait for my jerk chicken burrito with black beans, chipotle crema, jalapenos, and habanero salsa. Mmmm… 12:30 can’t come fast enough.

Colleen Seng Has Gas

April 18, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Since that whole thing with the fire department taking over ambulance services went so smoothly, Mayor Seng would like to get into the gas business. I bet I know where she’ll propose to put it.

$2.7 Million for a Long Strip of Grass

April 18, 2006 at 12:00am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Is $2.7 million for 130 acres of linear parkland along the South Beltway worth it? That’s $20,769 per acre, or about $.48 per square foot.

I’m torn on this one. On the one hand I like parks—who doesn’t like parks?—and I enjoy it when major roads are softened by green space rather than miles of strip development. On the other hand, $2.7 million for little more than a strip of weeds (the money doesn’t include development costs) seems a bit pricey, especially in the context of Lincoln’s overall economic picture. Lincolnites are being asked to fork over a hefty chunk of change these days: $250M for schools, $250M+ for the Antelope Valley Project, and on and on.

Jerry Hoffman, president of the Nebraska Trails Foundation, notes that the bond would only cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $1.60 per year. That argument works in a vacuum, but it degrades quickly when you begin to add up all of the “insignificant” costs we’re already saddled with.

Not only am I not sure how I will vote on this issue, I really don’t have a good feel for how Lincolnites as a whole will tend to vote. Are they willing to put up with another “insignificant” cost now in order to benefit from gains they won’t see for at least a decade? Or did the LPS bond issue zap much of their generosity? I’m looking forward to listening in on conversations over the next few weeks.

Spring Game

April 17, 2006 at 5:08pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

I’m not going to write up on the Spring Game because I think it’s pointless. I’ll only say that the Red won 35-7. Why 57k people would go see a practice is beyond me.  So since I couldn’t care less about the game, give me your thoughts.

Nuclear Power to the People

April 17, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I am a strong proponent of nuclear power as the best overall source of energy available. It’s clean, it’s cheap, it’s sustainable. Surely Hell hath frozen over, for now even the founder of Greenpeace agrees with me:

Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely.

Defend the Racial Division

April 17, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I have been against the three-way OPS split since I first heard about it. Problem is, I’m not sure why. Most of my opposition has been purely reflexive. But that’s sloppy. Reflexive opinions are fine in limited cases where a quick decision is necessary, whereas for deeper, longer term problems, reflexive opinions are not especially useful.

So I’ve thought about the OPS division a fair bit these past few days. And you know what? I still don’t get it. I can’t understand why such a big chunk of the Unicameral thought it was a great idea. I’m missing something, some big, important detail. But what?

Some say that smaller districts are better. Perhaps that’s true. But why is it the state’s job, rather than the local residents’ responsibility, to determine how big is too big? Senator Ernie Chambers had the gumption to point out the elephant in the room by bringing race into play. He says black people should be in charge of black people, whites in charge of whites, and so on. But then why not a boys district, a girls district, and a “confused” district? Or districts for the smart kids, the average kids, and the special needs kids? The jocks, the geeks, and the artsies?

Surely somebody can explain this to me. If that somebody is you, have at it. Even better if you can explain the implications the three-way split has for Lincoln.

Breaking Even

April 17, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Even though I started my taxes back in February, I just wrapped them up last night. The Missus and I are owed a little from the feds, and we owe a little to the state. Add in the cost of Turbo Tax and we basically broke even. A big refund would have been nice in a way, but this outcome makes me even more pleased. It means that, despite the complexities added to our tax return by my various side jobs, we managed to play the tax game pretty well.

This year’s taxes may be confusing as heck if we end up wrapping up our adoption this year. Adoptions add a layer of ifs, ands, and buts that I’m not sure I’m ready for. Not to mention all of the other financial considerations to think about. Oh well, that’s a worry I’m more than happy to worry about.

Humans Being

April 14, 2006 at 12:46pm By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Tornado season. A time of year Mr. Wilson and I know a little about. Iowa just got nailed last night, right around where I used to live for a few years. How did some University of Iowa students react?

“The Liquor House opened up like a can of tuna, and all my friends ran up and started taking liquor,” said UI senior Sam Ehlinger as he meandered through the Pedestrian Mall around 10 p.m. Thursday.

What a classic quote. GO hawks.

Friday Five

April 14, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five things to do this weekend in Lincoln:

  1. Wake up early and take care of spring yard clean-up and garden prep.
  2. Attend the Spring Game.
  3. Take a walk to Coyote Point at the Pioneers Park Nature Center.
  4. Invite some friends over and play Lincoln On Board on the patio.
  5. Grab an ice cream cone from Ivanna Cone.

In-A-Haggadah-Da-Vida

April 14, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Seder PlateWe’re hosting a small Passover seder at 625 Elm Street tonight for a few family and friends. It has become an annual tradition at our house, to the point where my family members ask about it every spring. We keep it pretty low-key and informal—we use our own homemade haggadah, for example—mainly because in any given year there are only 1 or 2 Jews at the table. We have a good time and enjoy the food. (Except for the maror. Ick.)

As I mentioned, we use our own haggadah. We keep things pretty short, but we don’t keep them this short! (Click on the intro page to start the animation. There is sound, so have your speakers ready.)

If you have never attended a seder, it’s worth trying sometime. If nothing else, go for the matzo ball soup and wine. There are always community seders which non-Jewish guests are welcome (and encouraged) to attend.

One City, Three School Districts

April 13, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

A white district, a brown district, and a black district. It’s an entire rainbow of fun up in Omaha. I just can’t get over it: a race-based, Ernie Chambers-endorsed school district resegregation plan just flew through the Unicameral. Bizarro.

As long as we’re dividing school districts, let’s do Lincoln. How would you divide up Lincoln into three screwed up districts (not necessarily by race)? I think my (extremely rough) plan would look like:

  1. Everything north of ‘O’ Street and west of 70th Street
  2. Everything south of Old Cheney Road plus everything east of 84th Street
  3. All the rest

Bad baseball

April 13, 2006 at 6:55pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

A little more than a week has passed in the ‘06 MLB season and I have to get something off my chest. Why must this be Kansas City Royals country? Why must we be flooded with one of the worst run organization’s in the league?  ESPN 1480 carries Royals games.  FSN and UPN both carry the RSTN (Royals Sports Television Network). Big Sports 590 in Omaha carries the Royals. The only TV station or radio station that dares to be different is 1620 the Zone who carries the Cubs. The lovable 98 year losers.

Why must we be subjected to bad pro baseball in this area?  I would rather NO MLB baseball be carried in this area if it meant the difference between Royals or no Royals. Why can’t this be Cardinals country? Or Twins country? (yes I’m a little bit biased on the Twins because they are my favorite team but anything is better than the Royals) I cringe every time I turn on a KC TV broadcast and Bob Davis, Paul Splittorff, and Fred White give us exciting Kansas City Royals baseball.  Splittorff and White are excellent broadcasters and their talents are severely wasted on the KC Royals.  Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre are behind the mic . Matthews has been with the Royals since their inception in KC in 1969. He has witnessed the Royals go 2872-2983 in their 36 years. One World Series championship in 85. One 100 win season in 1977 and 3 100 loss seasons (all quite recently’02, ‘04, ‘05).  Attendance hasn’t been 2+ million since ‘91 and it was the 3rd lowest turnout to the ballpark last year since the strike in ‘94.

It’s time for better MLB baseball in Lincoln.

Grounds for Impeachment?

April 13, 2006 at 5:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As much as I think Dave Hergert is a putz, I don’t think his impeachment is appropriate. As Matthew Hansen points out, the debate seems to focus more on moral conceptions of right and wrong than on the legality of the vote. While it is fine for the public to offer up simple arguments like “what he did is just plain wrong and therefore he should be kicked out of office”, I’m bothered that our state senators are using the same rhetoric. When politicians start using “it’s just wrong” as a justification for their actions, somebody (or a group of somebodies) is going to get screwed.

It’s easy not to get fired up about these indiscretions when the involved party is somebody like Mr. Hergert. I don’t know if Mr. Hergert is really the villain he has been portrayed to be, but the guy really hasn’t done much to exonerate himself in the eyes of Nebraskans. He could really use some PR training.

But not getting fired up is, in the eyes of the politicians involved, the practical equivalent of supporting their actions. I support their disdain for Mr. Hergert, and I agree with the tongue-lashing Mr. Hergert has received from the Legislature. But his impeachment—which went against the best legal advice of nearly everybody the Unicameral consulted—I do not condone. Long story short, the Unicameral has voted to waste taxpayer resources to engage in what in all likelihood will turn out to be a quixotic and short-lived adventure through the courts. Will our senators’ quest to prove their moral superiority prove worthwhile? Doubtful, especially when one considers all of the time and energy they could have put into more productive pursuits.

Dave Hergert’s impeachment will benefit no one and punish at most one person. Is that a cost-benefit ratio you’re willing to support?

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