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November 3, 2010


Incumbent upon you

by Deena Winter

If you’re ever thinking about running for public office, run as an incumbent. That seems like the best way to run.
My husband was reading the paper today and saw all these (I)s next to names, and thought America had gone Independent. Then he realized the I stood for Incumbent. I used his exasperation to get him to take out that extra wall in the basement storage room I’ve been meaning to tear out with a sledgehammer.
So it all worked out well.
But not for Ray Stevens: Looks as though he’s the one county commissioner who paid yesterday for the County Board’s controversial decision to sell the county retirement home, Lancaster Manor. Three County Board seats were up for election, but (I)ncumbent Bob Workman didn’t run and (I)ncumbent Deb Schorr didn’t have an opponent.
So there was Stevens, vulnerable. Which is too bad, because in my time following the County Board, Stevens really took his job seriously. He was always around city hall, asked a lot of questions and was skeptical about things that everybody else just goes along with, like overdoing tax increment financing.
I’ve seen city commissioners and state lawmakers fall asleep during public meetings, but Ray Stevens was fully engaged.
But once in awhile, even (I)ncumbents have to pay for their decisions. That’s playing out nationally.
And what’s with all those Nebraska races with no opponent? It’s pretty sad when you have no choice for so many statewide offices, much less county offices or NRD boards.
I know it’s tough to take on the (I)ncumbents, but more people need to step into the arena.

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jane H Kinsey
    Nov 3 2010

    The candidate process in Lincoln and Omaha is fixed. Believe me I know from personal experience. Where are the angry citizens in Nebraska? I guess voters are too conservative or uninterested to see what is happening to the country. That model is the City Council!

  2. Nov 3 2010

    I accidentally deleted the following comment from “John Doe”: so I am copying it here:

    “Ray Stevens had a choice. He could have took a stand against what was happening with Lancaster Manor the way Larry Hudkins did, and he failed to do so. He went right along off the cliff with Heier, Workman, and Schorr. He paid a price and he deserved to do so.”

  3. Anna Rivera
    Nov 3 2010

    Jane Kinsey, I followed your City Council election in 2009, you had a lot of great solutions and really showed voters what is going on behind the scenes in city government. Have you considered a run for Mayor? Look at the overwhelming victory of Republicans last night, all the “mainstream” Republicans are afraid to take on Chris Beutler because of insider city politics. We need someone like you in the Mayor’s office.

  4. Roger Yant
    Nov 10 2010

    Anna is right. The city needs more people like Jane, I admire her lots, she never gives up. The trouble with Lincoln is if you are not part of the in crowd, Chamber, LIBA, Go Lincoln GO,(God what a stupid name) or run with the Dems or Republicans you are shunned when you try and make a difference. I personally saw it every time I went to a debate when I ran for mayor. After and before they (the in crowd) hover around the Dem or Rep and kiss their royal a–. If you are an independent or an outsider you are ignored. Lincoln needs to get behind a Jane Kinsey, and fight for the change government needs, and the people want. I say go Jane go.

  5. Ray Stevens
    Nov 11 2010

    Deena, thank you for your kind words. It is seldom easy to do the right thing. Lancaster Manor was losing $100,000 per month of taxpayer money and there was no differentiation with other nursing homes. Lancaster Manor was NOT a nursing home of last resort – everyone there had someone paying the bill even if it was Medicaid. Residents has a choice of about 12 nursing homes in Lancaster County. We were competing with non-profit and for profit entities and that should not be government’s role! Nor should we be operating corner convenience stores, restaurants, movie theaters or fitness clubs. The County netted $2.6 M and the State got about $4.6 M and we stoppped the monthly loses. The residents and the employees were protected.

  6. Phil Montag
    Nov 14 2010

    Ray, thank you for your years of service to the community. You are an honorable public servant and should be proud of your service on the county board and in the various other civic groups and activities you’ve participated in. I hope you stay involved and continue lending your expertise to the current city and county governments.


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