Mayor of Omaha, Nebraska is fond of federal dollars.
From the state that brought you the “Cornhusker Kickback” comes the latest ‘laugh lest you cry’ example of government gone wrong. Even under threat of recall for his coziness with police and fire unions and for raising wheel, property, and entertainment taxes, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle has hired–for $65,000 per year–a “Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.” It’s important to point out that this Mayor hasn’t even repaired last winter’s potholes due to his inability to manage the city’s checkbook.
Around $45,000 of the Czar’s salary will be paid for by federal, state, and local tax dollars with the remaining $20,000 coming from health organizations. At least for the first year. After that, who knows? And certainly, the taxpayers of Omaha and those that work and play here can count on higher taxes to fund the inevitable “bicycle and pedestrian friendly” mandates resulting from the Czar’s recommendations.
Mayor Suttle is the same guy who recently authorized, without City Council approval, city monies to pay a lobbyist in DC to try and garner federal dollars to fund a streetcar system here. A streetcar system in Omaha, Nebraska where nobody even rides the buses! Oh, did I mention that 24 new buses (that nobody rides) were purchased in August for 7.8 million in federal dollars as well?
This Mayor is a very local example of the larger problem in our America: Government that has no desire or aptitude for the limited spending of other peoples’ money. The desire is to socially engineer. The aptitude is to spend bad dollar after bad dollar on programs and projects that nobody wants.