Making Democracy Work

PROGRAM

LWVGO LOCAL PROGRAM

THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF GREATER OMAHA LOCAL PROGRAM, 2014-2015 GOVERNMENT CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT: In years when the City Charter Review Commission meets, the League will monitor and evaluate the recommendations of the commission. When the recommendations come before the City Council, the League may take a position on individual amendments and present the League's position on the individual amendments before the City Council. (1956, amended 1964, 1965, 1967, 1994).

CITY GOVERNMENT:

  • Representation: The League supports representation on the City Council by districts. (1971, amended 1974, 1978, 1979, 1988), LAW PASSED 1979, effective 1981.

  • Elections: The League supports city elections separate from state and federal elections, in which all City Council seats run concurrently with the Mayoral election. (1988, amended 1992), LAW PASSED 1990, effective 1993.

  • City/ County Merger. Last addressed in 2007.

CITY FINANCING: A primary goal of city government should be the efficient and most effective use of tax revenues. Those city services which directly promote the general health, welfare, and safety of the community should be financed by general taxation.

Omaha should maintain a tax structure wherein its revenues come from a balanced mix of property tax, sales tax, and user fees. User fees should be clearly stated and should not discriminate against any one segment of the city`s population. (1982, amended 1990, 1991, 1993).

URBAN PLANNING: The League supports the use of growth management techniques and tools for limiting urban sprawl. These techniques encourage mixed land uses ensuring a range of housing options and creating walkable neighborhoods which promote distinctive attractive communities. Development should foster neighborhoods with a strong sense of place and include reinvesting and existing communities. The participation of citizens and stakeholders should be encouraged in development decisions that are fair, equitable, and cost effective.

The League encourages a more efficient use of resources which will preserve critical natural resources and encourage preservation of open spaces, farmland, and wetlands. Developments should include storm water management to preserve unpolluted water sources improving the quality of existing water bodies and streams.

The League supports the development of standards and regulations that ensure growth will occur in an equitable and sustainable manner. (2005)

STUDY: Urban Growth Policy in Metropolitan Omaha Review and discuss issues of urban sprawl, smart growth, sustainable communities, and new urbanism; to identify key smart growth elements; to review the city's Master Plan and other area planning documents. (2003, 2004)

COUNTY GOVERNMENT: The League supports representation on Douglas County Board by districts. (1983, amended 1992), LAW PASSED 1991, effective 1992.

PUBLIC UTILITIES:  Advertising: The League believes public utility should refrain from political advertising. (1977, amended 1983, 1992, 1998).

 Electric Rates: The League supports a rate structure that is based on equitable allocation of costs and encourages energy conservation. OPPD should charge a higher proportion of the actual cost of extending distribution lines to new customers. Customers should be given an explanation of any change in rates. (1977, amended 1983, 1992, 1998).

NATURAL RESOURCES

HAZARDOUS WASTES: The League supports proper hazardous waste management in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. (1981, amended 1985, 1992). See State and National Programs.

GREATER OMAHA PARKS AND OPEN SPACES: The League supports parks and open spaces because they add to the quality of life of the citizens and enhance the preservation of wildlife.

We encourage green space linkage between parks and the development of a variety of kinds of parks, i.e., linear, active recreation areas, low impact retreats, and mini-parks.

The budget for parks and recreation should be adequate to provide for quality maintenance, for conservation of park resources, and for acquisition of major parkland in the most cost-effective manner. (1986, amended 1990, 1992).

HUMAN RESOURCES/SOCIAL POLICY

CHILD CARE: Every child is entitled to humane care in a safe and healthy environment which promotes personal, emotional, and intellectual growth.

Uniform minimum standards for child care should be established and enforced by federal, state, and local governments.

Government agencies that set standards for child care centers should provide parents and caregivers with clear and concise information which fully explains the standards.

Inspections of child care homes and child care centers should be efficient and effective, unannounced, at least biannual, and constructive in nature. (1979,1999).

POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS: A good police department should incorporate police-community relations in its day-to-day operations. To better serve the total community the police department should have:

1. A strong public relations program.

2. Programs designed to develop total community cooperation and awareness of the police department.

3. Ongoing training in human relations skills, conflict management, as well as racial-cultural and gender sensitivity for all police officers.

4. A training process that includes qualified civilians as trainers.

5. Appropriate funding for a strong continuing education program.
6. A publicized telephone directory listing for citizens to channel compliments and complaints. (1973, update 1983, amended 1992, 1993). Telephone Directory, 1990.

JUVENILE JUSTICE: The League supports a juvenile justice system which provides for realistic, beneficial, and humane treatment of the juvenile offender, as well as protection of the community. It advocates the use of community-based alternatives to incarceration, particularly for non-violent first-time offenders, and programming that is education based, family centered, and rehabilitative. To achieve these goals, the League advocates a high governmental priority in funding for youth issues.

Specifically, the League supports:  Establishment of a county-wide intake and assessment system that can act as a lead agency for all youth at risk. There should be a 24-hour information and crisis line that networks with all juvenile justice services and provides referral for family services.

 Local family- and community-based evaluations of youth.

 Identification, separation, and control of the small group of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders who are responsible for the majority of criminal offenses.

 Pre-trial diversion of first-time offenders into alternative programs.

 Formation and utilization of a broad range of public and private alternatives to detention, such as runaway shelters/safe houses, electronic home monitoring, intensive home supervision, and day programs.

 Creation of family preservation and intervention services which address the whole family unit rather than looking at the youth in isolation. Relinquishment of custody to the state should be avoided except in the most extreme cases.

 Establishment of delinquency prevention programs throughout the juvenile justice system to develop a pro-active system instead of a reactive one.

 In the Douglas County detention system:

  • Development of a positive philosophy with the emphasis of being an "Attention Center" rather than a "Detention Center."

  • Improvement of staff training and development to teach employees how to appropriately deal with youths at risk.

  • Incorporation of comprehensive planning designed for youths' individualized needs in the Youth Center, which should include: ensuring physical and emotional well-being, advancing life skills, enhancing self-esteem, and encouraging redirection and

  • Productivity with the goal of an improved quality of life out of detention. (1994, 1999).