Mayor Jean Stothert outlined her successes and future plans for the city of Omaha at a debate this afternoon at the Omaha Press Club while her opponent, Heath Mello, made repeated misrepresentations in the hour-long program.
“Mayor Stothert won this debate handily. Mr. Mello had so many misrepresentations that he will be keeping the fact-checkers busy all night,” said Dave Boomer, communications director for the Stothert campaign.
First, Mello claimed ConAgra has left Omaha. The mayor refuted that by saying the company retains a large presence in three of their five buildings with 1,200 employees. New plans for the campus are likely to be announced soon.
Second, Mello claimed there have been budget gaps in Stothert’s administration. That’s incorrect. Stothert has delivered balanced budgets every year after getting rid of deficits she inherited when taking office in 2013.
Third, Mello said he would not try to repeal the restaurant tax. This flies in the face of his television ad that criticized the tax and said people should not “be stuck with the bill.”
Fourth, Mello repeated his false assertion that Omaha is a sanctuary city. The commonly accepted definition applies to a municipality that does not cooperate with federal or state immigration control agencies. Omaha works closely with such entities.
Fifth, Mello claimed again the Mayor has committed $30 million in city funds for the street car project. She has not. No funds have been committed – the voters will decide the issue under her plan.
Today’s debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Omaha Press Club.