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December 15, 2010

17

Who says money can’t buy influence at city hall?

by Deena Winter

There were lots of reasons given Monday for why the city had little choice but to give its firefighters 7 to 10 percent raises — even though all other city employees got far less.
But the unspoken reason for the 4-3 vote — split along party lines — can be traced back to campaign donations. The four Democrats who voted “yes” on the fire union contract received more money from the firefighters’ union than any other entity when they were elected. And the three Republicans who voted “no” got nothing from the fire union. Take a gander:
• Councilwoman Jayne Snyder got $13,500 from the firefighters’ union, plus more than $7,000 from other unions, during her campaign last year.
• Councilman Gene Carroll received $13,500 from the firefighters’ union during his campaign last year, plus another $9,000 from other unions — accounting for nearly half the money he raised.
• Councilman Doug Emery got $5,000 from the firefighters’ union during his 2007 campaign — accounting for about one-third of all the money he raised, plus another $1,000 from other unions.
• Councilman Jonathan Cook (who tends not to raise much money for his campaigns) got $5,000 from the firefighters’ union during his 2007 campaign — plus another $500 from one other union.
The remaining three Republicans on the council received no donations from the firefighters’ union in their last campaigns.
When the firefighters’ union is responsible for putting up half the money for your campaign in some cases, do you think those candidates don’t feel somewhat beholden to the union at a time like this? Emery and Cook are up for re-election in the spring — do you think they want to risk losing the union’s support?
The legislation now goes to the desk of Mayor Chris Beutler — whose own campaign received $10,000 from the Lincoln firefighters’ union, and another $10,000 from a state firefighters’ union.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mike
    Dec 15 2010

    Someone is missing from this story and his name is Beutler.

    Reply
  2. Roger Yant
    Dec 15 2010

    This is so sad. If you back them and say you will help them out you will get support. This is totally wrong! The unions are corrupt with the good old boy system, and so is city hall. Provide for us and we will provide you with votes and money. I believe all four that voted for the raise, should be voted out. Emery, needs to be replaced this next year with someone who will think of the people in his district and city first. I know there are many out there that say I can’t do that, and want to run but someone in their life is saying know you will loose. If you have the passion and believe in FREEING the people from people like these four, go for it. And if you don’t want to run but hope someone does, back them with help and money if possible, get your friends involved if you believe in that person, lets remove these people who think a 10% pay raise is OK when the rest are not getting a dime.

    Reply
  3. Ed
    Dec 15 2010

    Not so fast with those party line theories…where’s the part of the story that details what could happen if the council did not make this deal? It’s easy for the Repugs to hide behind their votes when they know the other side it handling the issue. Chickens!

    Reply
  4. Don Carlson
    Dec 15 2010

    I think it’s strange that people like Deena are mortified that someone who makes a living pulling people out of burning buildings makes $50K a year while they have no problem that Dave Heineman gave Ted Turner a $10 million property tax break.

    Why don’t you do an article on who paid for Heineman’s inauguration cermonies? TransCanada would be my guess.

    Reply
    • ej
      Dec 15 2010

      I think it’s strange that people play the hero card and are willing to hand over the checkbook to people who make a living out of pulling people out of burning buildings. Firefighters — and police officers, doctors, teachers, garbage collectors, journalists, bus drivers, etc. — signed on to do a job. If they don’t like the job or the pay they receive, fine, find another job. Stop scheming with your union to artificially drive up your wages and benefits.

      Reply
  5. Dec 15 2010

    Don Carlson — Are you serious about those Heineman allegations? I’ve never heard either of those things.

    Reply
  6. Fletch
    Dec 15 2010

    This is all quite shocking. Next thing you know, we’ll find out that the majority of people that work for (or who have worked for) the Lincoln Journal Star tend to vote for the candidates with the little D behind their names, or that teacher’s unions and the AARP can affect the outcome of elections. When will this insanity end? Before you know it, we’ll be hearing stories proclaiming that smoking causes cancer and other health problems, or that people will wait until April 14 to file their taxes.

    Reply
  7. Dec 15 2010

    Interesting story. Already been done, but worth blogging about… and what about the Ted Turner reference? Where’s that come from?

    Reply
  8. J. Brown
    Dec 15 2010

    Nice try on the SPIN, Don. Why do you even read Winterized ? I hope you work for yourself as a do, or you would be fired as the Donald would say.

    Reply
  9. Don Carlson
    Dec 15 2010

    Ted Turner is a wealthy landowner. There’s an article on NNN about it. Ted Turner is getting over a million dollars a year under Heineman’s property tax break he claimed was to help struggling families. How exactly does giving Ted Turner millions stimulate the Nebraska economy and help J. Brown in his neighborhood lawnmower business?

    Reply
  10. J. Brown
    Dec 15 2010

    Don , Nice to know the the City Mission has Computers.

    Reply
  11. Doug
    Dec 15 2010

    Deena, why not list the major donors to EVERY city council person? Why not report how much each of the three who voted against the contract received from LIBA? Since donations “buy” votes how come the Democrats had to be in the majority to reduce the 2 for 1 match in the other unions and to offer that up in negotiations to PAGE? In the two years the Republican’s were in the majority they did not ever touch 2 for 1. I have already announced on Drive Time Lincoln that if I run again I will take NO money from ANYONE. Why don’t you ask John Spatz and Jon Camp to take the same pledge and then you will not be able to question anyone’s motivation.

    Reply
  12. Dec 16 2010

    Doug — I guess I didn’t consider LIBA to be a big factor in this debate. But yes, I’m sure all of the Republicans — and I believe some of the Dems — received donations from LIBA. Although not nearly as much money as the fire union handed out. And yes, the Dems (most of them) did vote for the reduced retirement match — for new employees. You’re right, Republicans should have gone after that when they were in charge. But once again, it took the mayor’s lead for anything to happen. I like your idea of not taking money from anyone. Gotta respect that.

    Reply
  13. Jane Kinsey
    Dec 16 2010

    I can tell you that I received no money from LIBA in the last City Council campaign. It is an honorable organization but they are part of the “fixed” political situation in Lincoln. They choose their recipients of money long before any primary or regular campaign is made public. They usually back tightfisted candidates from the Republican Party with whom they are aligned.

    Reply
  14. Roger Yant
    Dec 17 2010

    Yea for you Jane, good quote. She is 100% right

    Reply
  15. Skull and Bones LNK
    Dec 17 2010

    That’s right Jane and Roger, LIBA is part of a widespread conspiracy among the “insiders” in Lincoln to only elect sane people to office. Sorry you two didn’t make the cut.

    Reply

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