KETV Chronicle – Pre Election Review


>>KETV NEWSWATCH 7, CHRONICLING THE STORIES IMPACTING OUR COMMUNITY. STORIES MAKING A DIFFERENCE. STORIES THAT MATTER TO YOU. THIS IS KETV NEWSWATCH 7’S “CHRONICLE.”>>I ASSUME THAT IF MY OPPONENT IS REALLY SINCERE ABOUT IMPROVING OUR STREETS, THAT HE WILL SUPPORT OUR PLAN, BUT WITH HIM, YOU NEVER KNOW.>>FOR THE MAYOR TO LITERALLY THROW A HAIL MARY THE WEEK BEFORE THE ELECTION, TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE SHE HAS DONE SOMETHING ON OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE.>>FROM STREETS, TO OMAHA’S STATUS AS A SANCTUARY CITY.>>UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATION, WE HAVE AN EXISTING POLICY THAT ENSURES OUR POLICE OFFICERS DO NOT PULL OVER ANYONE, DO NOT ENGAGE THE PUBLIC IN REGARDS TO THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS. THAT MAYOR, IN THE PUREST SENSE OF THE TERM MAKES US A SANCTUARY CITY FOR IMMIGRANTS REGARDLESS OF THEIR DOCUMENTATION.>>JUST BECAUSE THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT STOP PEOPLE ON THE STREET TO CHECK THEIR LEGAL STATUS, WHICH THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL IMMIGRATION FILES, DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE A SANCTUARY CITY.>>IT APPEARS THERE’S NOT MUCH THE TWO CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT AND HEATH MELLO AGREE ON, BUT IN THREE DAYS IT WILL ALL BE OVER. GOOD MORNING. I’M ROB MCCARTNEY, AND THIS IS KETV NEWSWATCH 7’S “CHRONICLE.” THIS MORNING, WE’RE TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE UPCOMING ELECTION AND JUST WHAT’S AT STAKE. WE’LL ALSO TALK WITH THE DOUGLAS COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONER ABOUT TURNOUT, AND EARLY VOTING. FIRST, DON’T FORGET. KETV NEWSWATCH 7, ALONG WITH OUR RADIO PARTNER NEWS TALK 1290 . KOIL WILL HOST THE FINAL MAYORAL DEBATE TONIGHT FROM 6:00 TO 7:00. AND IF YOU WON’T BE NEAR A TV, WE’RE GOING TO BE STREAMING IT LIVE ON KETV.COM AND OUR MOBILE APP. DAVE: THIS MORNING, THOUGH, WE WANT TO DIVE INTO A FEW ISSUES THAT’VE SURFACED THE PAST SEVERAL WEEKS, INCLUDING EVERYTHING FROM THE CITY’S DOGS PARKS TO PUBLIC SAFETY, AND THAT’S WHERE WE START WITH AN ATTACK AD THAT THE MAYOR CALLS DESPICABLE. IT’S FUNDED BY OMAHA FIRE-UNION MEMBERS. AND DRAWING CRITICISM FROM THE FIRE AND POLICE CHIEFS. PLUS, HEATH MELLO DEBUTED A NEW AD WITH A PARAMEDIC COMPLAINING ABOUT RESPONSE TIMES. AS KETV NEWSWATCH 7’S KRISTYNA ENGDAHL REPORTS, THE ADS HAVE SIMILAR THEMES, THAT CURRENTLY, CITY SAFETY SERVICES ARE STRETCHED TOO THIN.>>NO CARS CITYWIDE. KRISTYNA: THE ADS HAVE SIMILAR THEMES.>>NO CARS AVAILABLE, BACKUP ANOTHER POLICE OFFICER. THERE’S NO CARS AVAILABLE TO RESPOND TO CITIZENS CALLS. KRISTYNA: ALSO SHOWN, IS A REGULAR POLICE PRESENCE IN THE MAYOR’S NEIGHBORHOOD.>>I MEAN YOU LIVE IN A GATED , COMMUNITY, IF YOU’RE THAT WORRIED ABOUT CRIME, YOU’RE NOT DOING YOUR JOB AS MAYOR, AND TWO, CLOSE THE GATE.>>I DO THINK IT’S RATHER CREEPY THAT THE OMAHA FIREFIGHTERS WERE — HAD SURVEILLANCE ON MY NEIGHBORHOOD, DAY AND NIGHT WATCHING WHO COMES IN AND OUT MY NEIGHBORHOOD.>>I WANTED TO GET A SAMPLING, I WANTED TO VALIDATE WHAT POLICE OFFICERS ON THE STREET HAVE BEEN CALLING ME AND TELLING ME, BECAUSE I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT. KRISTYNA: BUT POLICE CHIEF TODD SCHMADERER SAYS THE PATROL IS WARRANTED. THIS AD, HOWEVER, HE SAYS, IS NOT.>>THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND MYSELF IN PARTICULAR ARE NOT TAKING A POSITION IN THIS MAYORAL RACE. WE’VE TRIED TO STAY OUT OF IT, AND I’M TIRED OF THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT BEING DRUG INTO THIS MAYORAL RACE.>>WE CANNOT GO IN BECAUSE WE’RE WAITING FOR POLICE. KRISTYNA: WHILE HEATH MELLO SAYS HE HAS NO INVOLVEMENT WITH THE PREVIOUS AD, HIS CAMPAIGN DID DEBUT THIS ONE.>>IT TEARS AT YOU, BECAUSE YOU ARE SITTING THERE, WAITING. KRISTYNA: A PARAMEDIC, WHO SAYS ANNEXATION-INDUCED RESPONSE TIMES SLOW THEM DOWN.>>PEOPLE WHO ARE RISKING THEIR LIVES TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR ALL OF US ACROSS THE CITY, AND SIMPLY SAYING WHATEVER YOU’RE , DOING RIGHT NOW IS NOT MAKING IT EASIER FOR US TO DO THIS CRITICAL JOB.>>I THINK IT’S ABSOLUTELY DESPICABLE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING AND THAT THEY ARE CRITICIZING THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT THE WAY THEY ARE. ROB: ANOTHER ISSUE GETTING A LOT OF MILEAGE IN THIS RACE, A POSSIBLE STREETCAR SYSTEM. AT ONE TIME, BOTH SAID THEY SUPPORT THE IDEA. STOTHERT ADDED SHE WANTS TAXPAYERS TO MAKE THE FINAL DECISION, WHILE MELLO SAID THE CITY NEEDS TO FIX ITS ROADS BEFORE GOING DOWN THAT ROAD. FIRST WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE CITY WAS THE MAIN TOPIC OF A FORUM AT THE OMAHA COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE. AND KETV NEWSWATCH 7’S MICHELLE BANDUR WAS THERE. MICHELLE: THIS FORUM GIVES THE CANDIDATES A CHANCE TO TALK ABOUT HOW THEY EACH SEE THE FUTURE OF OMAHA.>>EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE DOES NOT JUST PREPARE US FOR THE NEXT YEARS, OR TEN YEARS BUT FOR THE FOUR NEXT 100 YEARS. AND TRANSPORTATION IS GOING TO BE THE KEY TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR CITY.>>THE REALITY IS YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MAYOR WHO SEES THE LONG GAME, WHO LOOKS BEYOND THE SHORT TERM POLITICS THAT DRIVES ELECTIONS AND WHAT WE DO AND TO SOME EXTENT, BUILDING AND OMAHA OF THE FUTURE THAT IS MORE WELCOMING AND INNOVATIVE. IT NEEDS TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO HAS THAT 20 YEAR PERSPECTIVE. MICHELLE: OMAHA BY DESIGN, A NON-PROFIT FOCUSED ON URBAN DESIGN AND POLICY, HOSTED THE EVENT TO SEE WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND ON PRESERVING THE CITY’S RICH HISTORY, WHILE CONTINUING GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW AREAS.>>SINCE I HAVE BEEN MAYOR, WE HAVE ISSUED OVER 54,000 BUILDING PERMITS AT A VALUE OF $2.7 BILLION, AND IF YOU THINK THAT IS NOT GROWTH OR WE DO NOT HAVE VISION, I WOULD SAY YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.>>ENGAGE THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE IN REGARDS TO MAYBE WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOP INTO. MICHELLE: THE MAYOR AND HER CHALLENGER ALSO DISCUSSED THEIR IMMEDIATE PLANS ONCE IN CITY HALL.>>IF I AM ELECTED MAYOR, I WILL HIRE A NEW PLANNING DIRECTOR AND PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR. I BELIEVE THAT FOR US AS A CITY TO BE ABLE TO BECOME OMAHA OF THE FUTURE, WE NEED NEW DYNAMICS LEADERSHIP IN THOSE TWO DEPTS THAT TRULY GUIDE OUR DEVELOPMENT AND HELP GROW AND BUILD OUR CITY.>>MAKING A STATEMENT THAT YOU ARE GOING TO FIRE THE PLANNING DIRECTOR AND THE PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR IS A RECKLESS STATEMENT TO MAKE. I GREATLY RESPECT BOTH OF THESE GENTLEMEN AND THEY DO A GREAT JOB FOR OUR CITY. ROB: THAT WAS MICHELLE BANDUR REPORTING. ALSO A HOT TOPIC THIS CAMPAIGN, SPURRING DEVELOPMENT IN NORTH OMAHA. NORTH O HAD A 13% TURNOUT IN THE PRIMARY, WELL BELOW THE CITY AVERAGE OF 20%. SO THE QUESTION, HOW TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO THE POLLS? AND EACH CANDIDATE HOPES TO DO THAT IN NORTH OMAHA, BY TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. ONCE AGAIN, HERE’S KRISTYNA ENGDAHL.>>JOB AND BUSINESS GROWTH HAS BEEN A PRIORITY OF MY ADMINISTRATION.>>LOOKING AT INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH SIDE OF THE CITY. THE SECOND IS LOOKING AT WORKFORCE READINESS. KRISTYNA: JOBS AND BUSINESSES IN NORTH OMAHA. CHALLENGER HEATH MELLO UNVEILED WEDNSESDAY, HE HAD A PLAN. NOW, MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT CALLS IT A COPY-CAT.>>THE PLAN SENATOR MELLO CAME OUT WITH THE OTHER DAY IS PRETTY MUCH DUPLICATED IN THE NORTH OMAHA REVITALIZATION PROJECT, THIS LARGE DOCUMENT, THAT WAS APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL IN 2011.>>WHERE ARE WE AT ON THAT THEN? IT IS SIX YEARS LATER. THOSE ARE THE THINGS YOU SAY ARE IN THE PLAN, WHERE ARE WE AT WITH BUSINESS IMPROVEMENTS?>>IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN THAT AREA, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION. KRISTYNA: BUT AT THE ATTENTION OF HUNDREDS OF VOTERS, EACH CANDIDATE MAKES THEIR CASE FOR SUPPORT.>>THAT’S A QUESTION A LOT OF YOU IN AUDIENCE WHO LIVE IN NORTH OMAHA NEED TO ASK YOURSELF. DO YOU FEEL YOUR LIFE HAS GOTTEN BETTER OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS? DO YOU FEEL YOUR STREETS HAVE BEEN FIXED?>>DO I THINK WE’VE MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE? YES, I BELIEVE WE HAVE. KRISTYNA: WITH THE ULTIMATE QUESTION, HOW TO TRANSLATE THIS ENGAGEMENT INTO TURNOUT.>>WE’RE JUST OUT THERE EVERY DAY MAKING THOUSANDS OF PHONE CALLS AND KNOCKING ON THOUSANDS OF DOORS, TELLING PEOPLE THEY’VE GOT TO GET OUT AND VOTE.>>I THINK WE JUST KEEP DOING WHAT WE’RE DOING, KEEP HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH VOTERS ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE THE CITY BECOME. ROB: THAT WAS KRISTYNA ENGDAHL REPORTING. ANOTHER TOPIC, WHETHER OMAHA’S DOG PARKS HAVE GONE, WELL, TO THE DOGS, AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY. ONCE AGAIN, HERE’S MICHELLE BANDUR WITH THE TRASH TALK. MICHELLE: WHILE THE DOGS ARE PLAYING IN HANSCOM DOG PARK. LITTLE DO THE FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS REALIZE THEY MAY BE PLAYING A ROLE IN THE MAYORAL ELECTION.>>I THINK ITS IMPORTANT TO SUPPORT POLITICIANS WHO ARE THERE FOR THE ANIMALS MICHELLE: ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST BONNIE PRICE, WHO FOUNDED NEBRASKA VOTES HUMANE, SAYS HEATH MELLO IS ONE OF THOSE POLITICIANS THERE FOR THE POOCHES.>>THAT’S WHY WE ARE FOR HEATH MELLO, HIS WORK IN THE LEGISLATURE AGAINST PUPPY MILLS. MICHELLE: PRICE IS ALSO UPSET ABOUT WHAT SHE CALLS FILTHY DOG PARKS. SHE SAYS MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT HAS HAD FOUR YEARS TO CLEAN THEM UP. POINTING TO THE PICTURES SHE TOOK IN 2015 AND LAST WEEKEND.>>THE CITY CAN AT LEAST PICK UP THE TRASH. MICHELLE: THURSDAY, WE FOUND SOME TRASH AT THE PARK’S ENTRANCE, AND ALL THE LARGE TRASH CANS EMPTY.>>SOMETIMES, THEY ARE A LITTLE BIT FULLER THAN YOU MIGHT LIKE THEM TO BE WHEN THERE IS HEAVY USAGE, BUT THE INSIDE OF THE PARK IS REALLY LOVELY. I WOULD NEVER CALL IT FILTHY. MICHELLE: BOTH CANDIDATES HAVE CANINES IN THE FAMILY. MAYOR STOTHERT HAS OZZY AND LILY. SHE TOLD US, OUR PARKS DEPARTMENT WORKS TO MAKE SURE THE DOG PARKS ARE AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE. AS A DOG LOVER AND OWNER, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. MABEL IS PART OF MELLO’S FAMILY. HE RESPONDED BY TOUTING HIS LEGISLATIVE WORK. “I VOTED TO CRACK DOWN ON ABUSIVE PUPPY MILLS. MY VISION FOR OMAHA’S FUTURE INCLUDES A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO IMPROVE MAINTENANCE AT OUR PARKS AND GREEN SPACES.” SOME VOTERS AND DOG LOVERS IN THE PARK THINK THIS CANINE CAUSE SHOULDN’T EVEN BE A CAMPAIGN ISSUE.>>WITH THE RESTAURANT TAX, THAT MELLO WANTS TO NOW CAP AND INSTEAD OF ERADICATING AND , UNFUNDED LIABILITIES FOR POLICE AND FIRE, I’M SORRY, THIS DOESN’T RANK VERY HIGH FOR ME. MICHELLE: AND NONE OF THESE GUYS ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE ANYWAY . ROB: AS THE CAMPAIGN WINDS DOWN, WE’RE ALSO LOOKING AT JUST HOW MUCH MONEY BOTH CANDIDATES RAISED. IN THE PAST 35 DAYS, HEATH MELLO RAISED ALSO DOUBLE WHAT MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT DID. $436,127 COMPARED TO STOTHERT’S $268,147. BUT MAYOR STOTHERT HAS THE UPPER HAND ON TOTAL MONEY COLLECT THROUGH APRIL 24. AT LAST CHECK, SHE RECEIVED $2 MILLION IN DONATIONS COMPARED TO MELLO’S $1.2 MILLION. BOTH CANDIDATES ALSO BROUGHT IN BIG NAME NATIONALLY-KNOWN SUPPORTERS AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. THE CAMPAIGN APPEARANCE HAPPENED WITHIN DAYS OF EACH OTHER. FIRST UP, VERMONT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS FOR HEATH MELLO. HE FLEW INTO OMAHA FOR A VOTE DEMOCRAT RALLY AT BAXTER ARENA ON THURSDAY, APRIL 20. SENATOR SANDERS: ARE YOU READY TO ELECT HEATH MELLO AS YOUR NEXT MAYOR? ROB: SANDERS SPOKE BEFORE AN ESTIMATED PEOPLE AT THE ARENA. 6000 AND MELLO TOLD THE CROWD HE WANTS TO UNIFY THE CITY.>>WILL THEY INHERIT AN OMAHA THAT PROVIDES HOPE FOR THE HOPELESSNESS? AND MAKES SURE THAT NO MATTER WHAT ZIP CODE YOU LIVE IN, YOU HAVE A SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD, THAT PROVIDES YOU LIVING WAGE JOBS, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE, RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION, AND QUALITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING? [APPLAUSE] ROB: DURING THE RALLY, SANDERS STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF UNITY AND COMING TOGETHER TO TRANSFORM THE COUNTRY. FOUR DAYS LATER, MAYOR JEAN STOTHERT BROUGHT IN WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER FOR A RE-ELECTION RALLY. GOV. WALKER: YOU NEED A MAYOR WHO’S NOT GOING TO BE INTIMIDATED, WHO’S NOT GOING TO BACK DOWN. ROB: STOTHERT SAYS GOVERNOR WALKER IS SOMEONE SHE HAS ADMIRED FOR A LONG TIME. AND WALKER SAID HE RESPECTS STOTHERT’S ABILITY TO BALANCE A BUDGET, AND HER DEDICATION TO STANDING UP FOR TAXPAYERS WHEN IT COMES TO UNION CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS. AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS INTEREST IN THIS LOCAL OMAHA ELECTION, HE SAYS, HE WANTS TO SEE ANOTHER MIDWEST CITY AND BELIEVES WISCONSIN AND — MIDWEST CITY SUCCEED AND BELIEVES WISCONSIN AND NEBRASKA SHARE SIMILAR VALUES.>>GOVERNOR WALKER WE’RE NOT : TRYING TO NATIONALIZE THIS CAMPAIGN. WE’RE TRYING TO BRING IT BACK MAYOR STOTHERT” AND THE REASON — MAYOR STOTHERT: AND THE REASON THAT GOVERNOR WALKER IS HERE AND I AM SO PLEASED THAT HE IS HERE IS HE REPRESENTS THE SAME COMMON SENSE MIDWESTERN VALUES THAT I DO. GETTING CONTROL THE STATE BUDGET DOING THINGS THAT ARE FOR THE TAXPAYERS. ROB: ALSO AT THIS RE-ELECTION RALLY, GOVERNOR PETE RICKETTS AND FORMER MAYORAL CANDIDATE TAYLOR ROYAL, WHO’S NOW BACKING THE MAYOR. AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND, BE SURE TO CATCH THEIR FINAL DEBATE BEFORE THE ELECTION. WE’RE HOSTING IT LATER TONIGHT WITH OUR RADIO PARTNER NEWS TALK 1290 KOIL RIGHT HERE ON KETV NEWSWATCH 7 STARTING AT 6:00. IT’S AN HOUR LONG COMMERCIAL-FREE DEBATE. AND IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE AWAY FROM A TELEVISION YOU CAN LISTEN , TO IT ON THE RADIO OR STREAM IT ON KETV OR OUR MOBILE APP. ALL RIGHT, I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE OMAHA CITY COUNCIL RACES. ALL BUT ONE OF THE SEVEN DISTRICTS ARE CONTESTED. IN DISTRICT ONE, THE INCUMBENT’S PETE FESTERSEN. GRANT STUREK ACTUALLY FINISHED THIRD IN THE PRIMARY AND ENDORSED FESTERSEN. BUT STUREK MOVED ONTO THE BALLOT WHEN PAUL ANDERSON WITHDREW AFTER THE PRIMARY, WHICH FESTERSEN WON WITH 76% OF THE VOTE. IN DISTRICT TWO, INCUMBENT BEN GRAY AND CHALLENGER DENNIS WOMACK. GRAY WON THE PRIMARY WITH 49% OF THE VOTE IN A FIELD OF SEVEN CANDIDATES. DISTRICT THREE, INCUMBENT CHRIS JERRAM IS UP AGAINST CHALLENGER D’SHAWN CUNNINGHAM. CUNNINGHAM GOT 10% OF THE VOTE IN THE PRIMARY IN A FIELD OF FIVE. DISTRCT FOUR, IS OPEN WITH THE DEPARTURE OF INCUMBENT GARRY GERNANDT. IT PITS OPS BOARD MEMBER VINNY PALERMO, AGAINST JIM ROGERS. JUST ONE PERCENTAGE POINT SEPARATED PALERMO AND ROGERS. RICH PAHLS IS UNOPPOSED IN DISTRICT FIVE. IN DISTRICT SIX, IT’S BRINKER HARDING VERSUS DWITE PETERSEN. IN THE PRIMARY, HARDING RECEIVED 57% OF THE VOTE. IN DISTRICT SEVEN, INCUMBENT AIMEE MELTON IS RUNNING AGAINST BRIAN THOMMES. IN THE PRIMARY, MELTON GOT 68% OF THE VOTE. TIME TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK. UP NEXT, EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOTING ON TUESDAY. AND EARLIER, IF YOU CAN. WE’RE TALKING WITH THE DOUGLAS COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONER, WHEN KETV NEWSWATCH 7’S

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