Tough Home-Stretch Start For Governor;
A Salute To Two Remarkable Women

This is supposed to be one of the “every-other-week-off” weeks in accord with a policy I announced several weeks ago.

But, again, significant breaking-news stories prompt me to write at least a few “as I see it” comments again, as follows:

Not off to a very good start are Governor Dave Heineman’s two additional years in office beyond the more customary two consecutive four-year terms.

First there was the disclosure by The Omaha World-Herald that Heineman’s strongly-supported choice for succeeding him as governor, Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, had been using a state-supplied cell phone to make more than 2,300 calls to four women, with one of whom he had a publicly-acknowledged sexual relationship while his divorce proceedings are still being processed in court.

Governor Had Heard Of Sheehy’s Behavior

Confronted with The World-Herald’s findings, Sheehy quickly offered his resignation and Heineman quickly accepted it.

Then the governor says he had heard rumors about Sheehy being involved with other women and discussed the matter with Sheehy but took no action before he received “new and more information” from The World-Herald last week.

After the Sheehy story broke—throwing wide open the question of who will run for governor—there came the news of a major flaw in Heineman’s proposal to abolish the state income tax and levy something over two billion dollars in sales taxes on goods and services which, for a variety of reasons, are not now subject to a sales tax.

‘Some Companies Would Move From Nebraska’

The newly-discovered major flaw:  A good number of Nebraska corporations buy and process large quantities of raw materials, turning them into finished products and sell those products outside the state, realizing little or no income from sales within Nebraska.

This prospect prompted Allan Lozier of the Lozier Corporation, a longtime major Omaha store fixture manufacturing company, to say that he would have to move his 1,100 employee Omaha operations to Iowa since the company would be paying heavy sales taxes on products from which the company collects no revenue from sales in Nebraska.

Other manufacturing companies with similar build-in-Nebraska, sell-elsewhere operations voiced similar concerns.

Heineman reacted with an assertion that such build-here, sell-elsewhere manufacturers would be asking an unfair advantage over other industries, including home building, real estate, financial services and a host of others.  One wonders whether the governor has ever known of a Nebraska company which builds houses and exports them to other states or a real estate company which exports lots to other states.

There was more bad news for the governor’s ambitious tax-change proposals when the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce announced a formidable list of objections and questions.

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Tough Gun Policy Hasn’t Worked In Chicago;
Is God Really Interested In Sports Results?

Customary smorgasbord coming up.  Help yourself.

–Isn’t there a lesson in the fact that Chicago—under the leadership of President Obama’s former tougher-than-nails Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel now Chicago’s mayor—has the toughest gun control laws in the nation but a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year?

Doesn’t this suggest greater emphasis on seeking ways to control violence-prone people (while continuing, of course, vigorous efforts to bring acquisition and possession of guns under better supervision)?

I disagree with the National Rifle Association on some fundamental policies, but I do agree with the NRA when it says:  “Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.”

–How about dropping that golf-course joke, the Tournament Players Club at Scottsdale, Arizona, from the professional golfers tour?

Any course that produces not only an 18-under-par victory by Phil Mickelson and other four-round totals of 14 under, 13 under and 12 under doesn’t deserve to be on the PGA tour.

And how about that name—“Waste Management Phoenix Open”?

Can’t that at least be changed?

–With Egypt trembling on the brink of civil war, Syrians killing each other by the thousands, young Americans still being maimed or killed in Afghanistan—you would think that God or Allah or whatever Supreme Being one worships would be too busy to pay attention to American sporting events.

But the signs of seeking divine help are there in many telecasts of athletic events:  A place kicker who crosses himself before attempting a field goal, a split end who points a finger skyward as if expressing thanks for divine help after scoring a touchdown.

And after the Baltimore Ravens win in last Sunday’s Super Bowl, Raven Ray Lewis asked:

If God is with you, “who can be against you?”

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Deaths Of Two Remarkable Women
Give Cause To Celebrate Their Lives

I end today with comments which, although it involves two deaths, I consider upbeat if you consider the two long lives which preceded those deaths.

I’m speaking of the deaths—but especially the lives—of two simply splendid human beings, Elizabeth “Libby” Lauritzen of Omaha and Adele Hall of Kansas City.

Both of these remarkable ladies, who died recently, were kind, gracious, wonderful wives and mothers and fiercely loyal to the communities where they lived and which they served so splendidly.

Libby—Elizabeth Davis Lauritzen, widow of distinguished banker and community leader John Lauritzen, longtime head of the First National Bank—died at 97 after, thankfully, a short illness.

Libby’s loyalty to her hometown was reflected in her determination that the First National Bank—in which her family had maintained a principal interest through several generations—remain in Omaha.

Libby Properly Proud of First National Bank

Opportunities to sell the bank occurred on occasion, and Libby consistently made clear that her considerable amount of stock would be voted against a sale.

Libby was proud that the bank had grown under the leadership of son, Bruce and that grandson Clark is playing increasingly important roles in the bank’s management.

As in Libby Lauritzen’s case, Marian and I believe that while the death of another dear friend, Adele Hall, proud native of Nebraska, should be mourned, emphasis should be on what she accomplished in a long lifetime.

Adele had moved from Lincoln to Kansas City after marrying Donald Joyce Hall, son of the founder of Hallmark Cards who succeeded his father as Hallmark chairman.

Adele’s death from a heart attack at 81—but especially her life—were reported in a special Kansas City Star section with this headline above a color picture of Adele:  “Adele Hall, ‘first lady of Kansas City,’ dies.”

The World-Herald carried a story with reference to Adele’s childhood in Nebraska (she was born Adele Coryell and grew up in Lincoln and attended the University of Nebraska) and details of her philanthropic and civic leadership in Kansas City.

A couple of personal notes tells something of Adele’s ties to her native state and to her longtime friends here, including Marian.

Death Of Only Dog Prompted New Policy

As recently as September, Adele had come to Omaha to speak to a meeting of leaders of the Tocqueville Society, a very important fund-raising arm of the United Way of the Midlands.  Marian was present.

Adele was told that the Tocqueville Women’s Society Committee members had donated a thousand dollars to the United Way in her honor.

After the speech, a United Way official reported to the luncheon gathering that Adele had asked that the money be donated in Marian’s honor.

Adele, like Marian, was a dog lover.  The Halls had three cocker spaniels at the time of her death.  The reason for three cocker spaniels, Adele once explained to Marian, was that after the traumatic loss of their only cocker, the Halls acquired two new cockers.  She explained Don didn’t want Adele to go through loss-of-only-dog anguish again.

Marian and I can sympathize with Adele and Don in regard to affection for the canine members of a family.  When we lost dear little Sugar some years ago, we had—and still have—Claire and Charlotte to help fill the gap.

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