Government
6:06 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Omaha's Mayoral Candidates Offer Views on Issues at Press Club Debate

Dan Welch, Jim Suttle, Jean Stothert, Dave Nabity and Brad Ashford discussed their ideas for developing the Crossroads Mall area, and ways to mediate the cost of the Omaha Sewer Separation Project for homeowners. They also discussed how to reduce crime in a city that had 40 homicides in 2012.

Each candidate was asked for three ideas to decrease crime in Omaha. 

Dave Nabity said he has a 12-point plan for reducing crime and that includes getting ahead of where crimes are happening.

"One is the development of community service officers. What that does is it puts a civilian employee inside the police department that serves as an ambassador to the different neighborhoods where there is high crime.”

Mayor Jim Suttle said that jobs are the key to reducing crime.  He said less poverty will equal less crime in Omaha.

"Thus the Ames-Locust Industrial Park, thus the Summer Youth Employment Program.  They are all designed to attack the crime problem at its source and that’s with poverty and the lack of jobs.”

Dan Welch characterized crime as a symptom of a social problem that includes the rates of young people joining gangs, joblessness, and fatherless children. 

Welch said the next mayor needs to take on the crime problem directly.

"I would certainly ask for stricter gun sentencing laws in Lincoln at the State Legislature as well as a stricter RICO statute.  And finally I would provide for more gun amnesty days so we can try and get more guns off the streets.”

Jean Stothert said crime is a citywide problem that will require a citywide effort to address it.  She said she has a three-part approach of prevention, intervention and prosecution.

"We must work with our judges for stiffer penalties for those who commit crimes with illegal guns.  I think we also really need to work on amending the Good Time Laws that we have right now.”

Brad Ashford, who’s currently the Chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said education is key to reducing crime.

He wants career academies where kids can learn important skills they can use in the working world

"We need to educate kids, decrease the dropout rate and three we need to build trust with the community.  And one way to do that is to reduce the incarceration of juveniles.”

The Omaha Mayoral Debate at the Press Club will air in its entirety on Friday, March 29th at Noon on KIOS.