In three weeks, we'll know who Omaha's mayor will be for the next four years. Tuesday night, Jim Suttle and Jean Stothert squared off in a televised debate and crime was a big topic.
Mayor Jim Suttle brought props to the debate held at UNO. He held up a chart showing his crime numbers are lower than previous administrations. “This is what's going on through the Daub and Fahey years in red. If you look at the blue - that is the Suttle years."
Suttle says we need to look at the big picture. After all, 2010 crime stats were the lowest year since 1973. And the uptick in 2012, he calls a blip on the screen.
Stothert says he's ignoring the bigger increases in violent crime.
"We're not taking a snippet....we're not cherry picking. We took from 2009 when he was elected to 2012.”
Stothert says her plan is to hire more police officers -- that the good year of 2010 was because the department was fully staffed. “People in Omaha feel less safe.”
Suttle believes his strategies are working and questions how his challenger would pay for more officers when she wants to roll back taxes. “So if she's going to add 10-20 more police officers and cut $60-million out of the revenue, how is this going to work, Jean? Show us the numbers.”
Stothert says it's about running all the departments more efficiently and not tackling every problem with a tax increase.
Suttle fired back saying his policies are progressive - and her ideas are regressive.
One piece of information we haven't heard until the debate is that the city has a $10-million surplus right now. Mayor Suttle revealed those details. He says it's proof of good leadership.
Stothert says it's reason enough to scale back the restaurant tax.
The two will meet again on Friday at the Omaha Press Club.