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At Least You Aren’t in San Diego

February 6, 2009 at 4:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Today’s forecast for Lincoln calls for a beautiful 61 degrees. San Diego’s forecast calls for a high of 62 degrees, clouds, and rain throughout the day.

Get outside and enjoy the day, folks.


February 6, 2009 at 2:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

When Congress throws around a few billion dollars—few strings attached—for state and local governments, is anybody really surprised when those governments’ wishlists are a little goofy?

Lincoln’s list doesn’t appear any more wacky to me than what I would expect such a list to look like. That doesn’t mean I like it. Most of the list is pure, raw pork that has very little to do with stimulating the economy and much to do with crossing some nice-to-haves off our checklist. But again, nobody should be surprised.

Some of the items really jump out. For example: “Remodal community room and kitchen at Mahoney Manor: $50,000”. Well that’s not so bad. But what’s this? That $50,000 is going to create 150 jobs? What, are we outsourcing the jobs to Bangladesh? How can a small, $50k remodeling project possibly create 150 jobs?

Or how about the $1 million worth of consultant gigs that, according to the City, will create exactly zero jobs? You’ve got to love those seven-figure economic stimulation expenses that don’t create employment. And we all know how much Lincolnites love consultants.

The City Council is peeved because they didn’t get to give their input into the list. If I were mayor I’m not certain I would have let them give input either. For one thing, as mayor it’s my job to come up with the list, not theirs. And let’s face it, going before the City Council and asking for them to (relatively) quickly agree on a list of spending priorities to stimulate the economy is probably an exercise in frustration. I’m sure Mayor Beutler figured it was easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. As a taxpayer whose hard work is supposed to pay for this I of course want input, directly or at least through my representatives. But it’s not difficult to see why a person in Beutler’s shoes would take the responsibility upon himself.

Anyway, I have a hunch several of you want to vent, or at the very least say a word or two about this. Fire away.

UNL’s Close Call

February 6, 2009 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t think most people realize just how close UNL came to disaster on October 12, 1992. That’s the day Arthur McElroy walked into a classroom with a semi-automatic weapon. It jammed.

McElroy has been at the Lincoln Regional Center ever since, and it appears he’ll stay there.

UNL could have made history in all the wrong ways on that day.

February 17 is Still the Day in Lincoln

February 5, 2009 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star reports that Lincoln’s TV stations will not delay their transition to digital broadcasting to June, despite Congress’s best efforts to further confuse TV watchers. Sheesh, what a mess. I applaud the stations that go ahead and transition on schedule. Let’s just pull the tooth and get this thing over with.

On a somewhat related note, I had no idea I was missing so much awesome television on on KLKN-DT2, channel 8.2. Check out today’s lineup: Leave it to Beaver; Marcus Welby; Kojak; Simon & Simon; The Incredible Hulk; Knight Rider; The A Team. Digital television rules! KOLN’s lineup on channel 10.2 isn’t nearly as awesome, though they do have Cheers at 10:30pm.

Happy Birthday, Daisy!

February 5, 2009 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Daisy the Wonder Schnoodle

Daisy the Wonder Schnoodle is five years old today. She plans to celebrate by spending a few hours sleeping on the couch; a few hours sleeping on the love seat; one hour sleeping in the sun by the back door; and 30 minutes standing under Robbie’s chair waiting for him to drop something.

Signing Day

February 4, 2009 at 9:03pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

I’m not a huge fan of the day (I believe its over hyped) but there is always fervor over National Letter of Intent signing day.  But getting good people into the program is necessary.

Here is a list of the recruits and preferred walk-ons. (essentially what Nebraska does with the preferred walk-on title is they will target Nebraska’s 2nd tier talent and offer them the preferred walk-on status to keep them from going to smaller D1 programs or Division 2)

Nebraska addresses some needs with a top notch QB recruit (Cody Green), he’s already on campus and will be in the mix to start next year (that’s right…start).  Rex Burkhead is a running back from Plano, TX which is one of the most popular football locations in Texas and comes in with some unreal stats (3500 yards and 57 TD’s in his Jr. & Sr. year in HS)  The defense looks solid across the board headlined by Jason Ankrah.

As for the local kids, Cole Pensick is the lone Lincoln scholarship recruit.  The 6-1, 259 Lincoln Northeast product is one of the best defensive players in the state.  C.J. Zimmerer is the only other Nebraska scholarship kid from Omaha Gross HS.

As for the walk-ons, Lincoln is represented by Tyson Clark from Lincoln East and Devin Paulsen from Lincoln Christian.


Greenfield’s: My Assessment

February 4, 2009 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


Five Wilsons ate at Greenfield’s last night. Read on to find out what we thought.


It Takes a Village

February 4, 2009 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Witherbee Village concept is awesome. From the Journal Star:

For about $60 a month, homeowners of all ages in the Witherbee Village area — roughly, 27th Street to 63rd Street and O Street to South Street — could get such services as snow blowing, raking, home maintenance, medical advocacy, help with shopping and errands, rides to appointments.

My great aunt lives on the very edge of that area. I hope she is amenable to taking part in this sort of thing.

It would be fantastic to see neighborhood associations across the city follow suit. The specifics may vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, but the general concept is wonderful.

Quiet Tracks

February 3, 2009 at 3:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Those of us who live near the railroad tracks along Highway 2 have known for some time that the tracks are all but dead. I assumed rail traffic would eventually come back, but Jack and John discovered that the track may not have a future as an active line. Unfortunately, at least occasionally it gets used as a storage area for empty cars. That creates an unpleasant little eyesore like the one that annoyed area residents for a couple weeks in January. Idle rail cars are harmless, but they don’t do any good for area property values. On the other hand, Robbie was crushed when the cars disappeared.

Let’s say the track were to magically close tomorrow and the railroad property were up for grabs. Does any of it have any value? What would you hope would be done with it?

Hat tip: Gene

Closing Time

February 3, 2009 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Senator Kent Rogert wants to push back last call by one hour to 2:00am. The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission says the change probably wouldn’t cause problems.

This is going to sound like a question with a hidden motive but I promise it isn’t. Why force a closing time at all? I can think of lots of mediocre reasons that might be used to support a closing time, but I can’t think of any really great reasons. Some of the mediocre reasons could become great with the right data to support them; likewise, some could become irrelevant.

For the sake of argument let’s say that having a closing time is a great idea. Why set it at the state level? Isn’t that more of a community-level decision?

And the Groundhog Says…

February 2, 2009 at 2:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Daisy the Wonder Schnoodle may not be a groundhog, but she makes a good stand-in in the absence of a giant buck-toothed rodent. She went outside this morning, stepped off the front porch, sniffed the morning air, looked around, and eventually declared…

We are definitely in for six more weeks of winter.

The Dumbest Thing You’ll Read This Month

February 2, 2009 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In a piece so ridiculous I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a punchline at the end, Richard Sullivan argued in Saturday’s Journal Star that the red state / blue state divide is a “modern civil war”, and that the lead-up to last year’s presidential election was just like the Battle of Gettysburg. Let that sink in a moment.

He equated the sputterings of a bunch of goofy bloggers with a battle which claimed over 50,000 casualties.

The whole red/blue “culture war” is something the U.S. needs to deal with, yes. But a civil war? No. And certainly not a civil war on par with the Civil War. The notion is absurd.

I can’t wait for Mr. Sullivan’s next piece equating a peaceful protest with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In fairness, I do respect Mr. Sullivan—and all of the Journal Star’s “community columnists”—for publishing their work. It takes guts to put your thoughts in the newspaper for the entire community to see. I just wish somebody would have urged Mr. Sullivan to come up with a more appropriate analogy.

Where in Lincoln is this?

February 2, 2009 at 2:12pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog



Edit: OK, this one is admittedly pretty tricky. Hint posted above.

Edit: Despite a slew of inspired guesses, sadly, no one was able to identify this photo.


Lying for Economic Development

February 2, 2009 at 2:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star ran a piece yesterday on tax increment financing (TIF). The article placed strong emphasis on one of the main reasons why I don’t like TIF, while virtually ignoring my second reason.

The article’s emphasis is on the fact that the use of TIF in Nebraska has been one giant string of lies. TIF is tied to blight, you see, but often blight isn’t present where communities want to use TIF. So the government lies. It manufactures blight out of thin air, which it can do thanks to Nebraska’s ridiculously broad definition of blight. The result is gleeful dishonesty from government officials. Consider David Landis’ admission that he has used TIF where “we could shoot a cannon off and not be able to find blight.”

The lying is bad enough, but that’s not what worries me most. I wish the Journal Star would have spent more time focusing on all of the bad things that can come out of a blight designation. Things like the government’s ability to condemn property and evict property owners. Locally we are fortunate to have not seen too much abuse of that power, though we have come close a couple times in the past few years. (Two failed projects on Q Street come to mind.)

I’m certainly not inherently opposed to the use of “economic development tools” in the broad sense, nor do I necessarily oppose TIF. What I don’t like is the fact that the government very often has to abuse the truth in order to use TIF—one of very few tools available—and that thanks to phantom blight designations the government gets power over property owners it really oughtn’t have.

Is there a state Senator out there who is willing to reign in municipalities’ abuse of TIF, while giving them new economic development tools that are fair to taxpayers and successful for communities?

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