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January 24, 2011


What’s the Suttle recall really about? Union-busting?

by Deena Winter

A new restaurant tax? Bloated police and firefighter pensions? A decrepit sewer system? Republicans capitalizing on a bruised mayor?
Or is it really about kicking unions in the teeth? This story shows that what some of the big financial backers of the Recall Suttle side are really ticked off about is unions.

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle

They cite a recent New York Times story, that said, “Across the nation, a rising irritation with public employee unions is palpable, as a wounded economy has blown gaping holes in state, city and town budgets, and revealed that some public pension funds dangle perilously close to bankruptcy.”

The World-Herald quotes the top contributor to the recall effort, Mike Simmonds, saying “It’s all about unionism in the public sector and their ridiculous strength.” He also said he’d like to see public employees barred from organizing altogether, or at least barred from political involvement, noting the fire union gave Suttle $30,000 in contributions in 2009. He said elected officials have an inherent conflict when they receive campaign support from the employee unions whose contracts they negotiate.

Which brings to mind the $13,500 two of the Lincoln City Council members received from Lincoln’s fire union last year — which is a lot more in terms of the total cost of their campaigns, compared to Suttle’s. The other two Dems on the council also got $5,000 in 2007. Lincoln’s fire union has been stepping up its campaign contributions to the point where they are the biggest single contributors to local city hall campaigns.

Aside from the unbelievable stupidity of the Suttle Homeless Shuttle, I found this story to be the most interesting angle on the whole Suttle recall saga. Could a few rich, powerful Omaha businessmen really throw city hall off course, and get someone into office that would support their anti-union agenda? We’ll find out tomorrow, when Omaha voters go to the polls.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gene
    Jan 24 2011

    Couldn’t help but notice the irony in this statement:

    The World-Herald quotes the top contributor to the recall effort, Mike Simmonds, saying “It’s all about unionism in the public sector and their ridiculous strength.”

  2. Cindy
    Jan 25 2011

    Kudos to Omaha for becoming the Banana Republic!! If I were a Fortune 500 company looking for a city to expand to I would look for a stable political environment focused on long term solutions, not a freaking restaurant tax.

    Jim Suttle turned a 13 million dollar deficit into a 3 million dollar surplus. Yeah, the last Democrat who did that, Bill Clinton, faced impeachment as well. This at a time our own Governor Dave put us +$600 million in debt and won reelection in a landslide. Is there any hope for our country?


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