It came with just a few minutes left in the third of four public forums, make that gripe sessions, on Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s 2011 city budget which comes with $44 million in new taxes.
The gripes were nothing the Mayor hadn’t heard in the first two meetings: cut the “gold plated” police and fire pension benefits, quit giving out big pay raises to your staff, don’t spend thousands of dollars to hire extra lobbyists, the new restaurant tax is unfair, and by the way–even though they’re not part of the budget–the Hilton Hotel expansion is a waste of money as is Suttle’s proposed downtown trolley.
Those were the comments from some 300 people who squeezed into a 206 seat Westside High School auditorium Wednesday evening, as the Mayor continued to defend the most controversial city budget in years, maybe decades.
It’s a budget that has put a recall election into motion. But the recall appears to be a long shot at best, which just might be why Mike McAlpin, a retired Kitty Clover general manager, had a different solution to the budget problem.
After sitting quietly for nearly 90 minutes McAlpin strongly suggested the Mayor should quit. “Why don’t you do us all a favor and resign?”
After the crowd was done applauding, the Mayor smiled and responded, “First of all I’m not going to resign.” That brought some applause for the Mayor, who added, “I didn’t create this mess and neither did you…and I’m ready to suffer any consequences.” According to Suttle unlike other Mayor’s before him (he didn’t name names) he was telling the public what it needed to hear, not what it wanted to hear.
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Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org