Tuesday, April 18, 2006

OWH Picks & Chooses as Osborne Piggybacks on OPS

by Kyle Michaelis
Update from previous post:

While I appreciate that Tom Osborne has decided to follow David Hahn's lead in denouncing Governor Heineman's handling of the Omaha Public Schools redistricting and resource-pooling plan (LB 1024), his capturing an immediate Omaha World-Herald headline after the same newspaper had already printed Osborne's earlier remarks on the issue reeks of political bias.

Although Osborne had the opportunity to make all of these remarks last week when the issue was most salient, the World-Herald reports (oh, so selectively):
Governor candidate Tom Osborne said Monday that he would have vetoed a bill to replace the Omaha Public Schools with three racially identifiable districts.

He said in an interview Monday night that the bill didn't have adequate legislative hearings, moves the city's school systems toward litigation and "is not in the best interest of the whole city, including the suburban schools"....

Three men - Osborne, Heineman and Omaha businessman Dave Nabity - are running for governor on the Republican ticket. Lincoln businessman David Hahn is the only candidate on the Democratic ballot.

Heineman has been a strong supporter of the suburban districts since last June, when OPS announced its "one city, one school district" plan. Nabity has proposed giving responsibility for predominantly low-income schools in OPS to the suburban districts.

Osborne said in the telephone interview that LB 1024 needed more time for public comment because the bill "changed rather drastically" after it left committee.

"I have a great deal of respect for Senator (Ron) Raikes . . . but it became a very rushed process," Osborne said of the Legislature's Education Committee chairman, who authored the bill. "The No. 1 issue with me is to avoid litigation."

Osborne stressed that he is not siding with one side or the other but that the "best thing for suburban schools also is to arrive at a solution other than what we have now" and to avoid litigation.

The full article linked above also demonstrates how Osborne is attempting to use this controversy to fire-up his campaign, as last night's OPS school board meeting basically became an "Osborne for Governor" rally - complete with campaign literature, voter registrations, and elected officials making promises of revenge at the ballot box against Heineman.

Now, to be honest, Osborne's reaction to this situation more perfectly matches what I have been saying over the course of the last week-and-a-half than does Hahn's. I am more troubled by the process by which this legislation came to pass than by its constitutionality.

Still, unlike the World-Herald, I will give credit where it is due. And, clearly, it was Hahn who first announced he would have vetoed this legislation - by days - showing the marks of a true leader who doesn't wait to see that the political winds are in his favor before speaking his mind.

It's also important to note that the true interests at the heart of Hahn's argument remains, like my own, with the students of Omaha and creating a more equitable system of public education. In Osborne's stated desire to avoid litigation at all costs lies a total lack of principle and unconcern for the racial stratification that was and remains such a problem in Omaha's schools.

Hahn took the lead, yet the World-Herald has turned a blind eye to him while turning its back on responsible journalism. My God, in the above article, they name him as the Democratic nominee for Governor but otherwise make no mention of his bold and straight-forward approach to the OPS situation, even while repeating the already reported stances of Republican candidates Heineman and Nabity that haven't changed one iota.

This stinks. It's wrong. Frankly, it makes me mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore. Neither should you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand you. I was going to put you people but I realized that it wasn't correct. I know that you want Hahn to be the governor and that you only see Osborne as using the OPS split as way to fire up his campaign, but isn't Hahn doing the same thing? Democrat or Republican, Hahn and Osborne both have one thing in common, they're politicians. They want to win. So they both are going to pick a side and use it for their campaign.
For you to not be a hypocrit, Hahn cannot make any mention of the OPS split in any of his speeches, campaigns, anything. I think you need to calm down a little and realize that it's politics and both sides are doing the same thing.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...


Never did I suggest that Osborne was only using this issue to fire up his campaign. But, in his position of influence he had the opportunity to actually take a stand that would change the course of the OPS debate, and he failed to do so. While I appreciate Osborne's attempt not to take a side in the underlying urban vs. suburban fight, his delay in taking sides on a legislative issue of immediate concern is fundamentally different and far less justifiable.

But, honestly, what scorn I'm lavishing herein isn't directed at any of the candidates. Rather, I lay it squarely at the doorstep of the Omaha World-Herald.

You are the one who's reading this issue in terms of politics. I just want fair journalism, some bold leadership, and an ultimate outcome that benefits Omaha's children. Of course, that's probably asking too much, but - what can I say - I'm a dreamer.

Anonymous lydia haug said...

Dave Heinman has put his entire campaign into one category: what he has done as Governor. I am suggesting that if that "one" element was "removed," he would have no campaign. In fact, I am suggesting that he is "not" the legal governor of Nebraska; and, if he prevails in the May 9 primary, and the "truth will come out" after that, that the next Governor of Nebraska will be HAHN hands down. Want to discuss this with me?


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