Join OTOC to meet with leaders of Omaha’s refugee resettlement agencies on Monday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hall at Augustana Lutheran Church (3647 Lafayette Ave). Learn why and how refugees are resettled to the US and the security screening that takes place. Learn from which countries refugees are coming to Omaha and Nebraska and meet members of those communities.
December 11th, 2015
December 1st, 2015
OTOC leaders used a clear and concise Issue Brief on Alternatives to OPPD’s rate restructuring. Click on the link below to see that document.
Over 150 concerned citizens and customers of OPPD came to an informative OTOC community meeting on December 10 to learn about viable alternatives to OPPD’s proposed increase in fixed fees from $10.25 to $35 per month. OPPD CEO Tim Burke and VP Lisa Olson participated in the meeting while Board Chair Anne McGuire along with Board members John Greene and Tom Barrett listened from the audience. The OPPD contingent stayed long after the meeting to talk with community leaders who wished to engage them.
OTOC organized a panel of community leaders and energy experts to discuss with the audience and OPPD Board members our concerns about OPPD’s proposed rate restructuring. Local energy experts Kay Carne and David Holtzclaw along with OTOC leaders Alan Vovolka and Cindy Johnson formed a panel that articulated OTOC’s critique of the proposed plan, specified numerous alternatives that the Board could adopt and ask the Board to delay action for at least 3 months so they can investigate the many alternatives to raising fixed fees.
Environmental Action Team Chair Laurie Gift chaired the tightly organized meeting with the help of Mary Ruth Stegman. At the end of the meeting, Laurie asked the audience if they wanted OPPD to delay acting on the proposal for at least three months to consider other alternatives. Every arm in the room shot up. Laurie then asked CEO Burke if he would commit to letting the Board know that OTOC is asking OPPD to delay action and he observed that the Board Chair and members would undoubtedly let the other Board members know this. With a little prodding he indicated he too would convey OTOC’s position to the Board.
November 21st, 2015
There has been a lot of rhetoric, campaign speeches and hasty legislation in the last week about keeping America safe from terrorists who might try to pass themselves off as refugees.
Five Refugee Leaders spoke about their experiences and three OTOC clergy and faith leaders reflected on our call to welcome the stranger, even when it is challenging to do .
These leaders displayed Nebraska’s values of welcoming new neighbors into safe communities for a chance at a better future.
Now, more than ever, we must embrace those escaping violence. America needs to shine as a beacon of hope and enlightenment to defeat the terrorist ideologies based on fear and division. Be a part of the light. Choose light over fear.
OTOC asks that Clergy and Faith leaders sign on to endorse a Call to Action and Prayer to change the attitude of some of our elected officials toward Syrian refugees
For a copy of the agenda, list of speakers, and next steps from the Prayer Vigil, click on the link below:
OTOC supports Vacant Property Ordinance which passes and asks Mayor and Council to deal with Zombie Mortgages
November 19th, 2015
OTOC leaders held a press conference on November 17 at a long abandoned house on Belvedere Blvd to express their support for the City of Omaha Vacant Property Registration Ordinance and to call for continued work by OTOC, the Mayor and City Council and Registrar of Deeds to identify whether Omaha has a “Zombie Mortgage” problem in Omaha. OTOC chose to meet at this house because Deutsche Bank holds a “Zombie Mortgage”, meaning the bank has chosen not to foreclose on it for over 5 years and refused the owner’s effort to give the deed back to the bank in 2012. All the while this once fine home has deteriorated to the point it may have to be demolished.
Later in the day, the City Council passed the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance unanimously with ten OTOC leaders there to witness the discussion. OTOC first called for such an ordinance in an Issue paper presented to the Council and Mayor in August, 2013. OTOC leaders have been renewing their call each year at the annual budget hearing, reminding City Council that in addition to allocating sufficient funding for demolition of condemned buildings, Omaha needs to shut down the “deterioration pipeline” that includes over 4,000 houses with ongoing, serious code violations. OTOC Housing Action Team Co-Chair Gloria Austerberry said, “we should all celebrate this new ordinance because it is another important tool to help the City deal with deteriorating buildings abandoned by irresponsible owners.”
November 7th, 2015
For a link to OTOC’s one page summary and analysis of OPPD’s proposed restructuring:
To contact OPPD Senior Staff and Board members, copy and paste the link below:
Four Page Article explaining Rate Restructuring
Five OTOC leaders testified at the Nov 12 meeting of the OPPD. Mary Spurgeon and Tim Fickenscher of First Methodist, Mary Bamesbuger of the Environmental Action Team, Mark Loscutoff of First Unitarian and Mary Ruth Stegman of St. John Creighton represented OTOC in challenging OPPD to reconsider their plan to increase their fixed charges from $10.15 to $35 and at the same time they reduce their rates by 28%.
According to Mary Spurgeon, the 1/3 of OPPD households which use relatively little electricity each month (200 to 700 kwh/mo) would spend about$50 to $225 more each year for their electricity. These 108,000 households would pay an extra $12 Million per year for the same amount of electricity. The 40% of OPPD households using a lot more electricity (1000 to 2000 kwh/mo) would spend $50 to $345 less each year. These 130,000 households would pay $19 Million less each year for using the same amount of electricity.
Mary Ruth Stegman called this proposed restructuring a “ radical proposal. It is a radical change in the sense that you are attempting to make a fundamental, deep rooted and long lasting change in how we pay for electricity. ” Mary Ruth challenged OPPD to have more community meetings to explain and justify such a change before taking action.
Mary Bamesbuger testified how she has struggled since her retirement to reduce her electric usage from about 800 kwh/mo in August, 2012 to 400kwh/mo in August, 2015. She made many changes to reduce electric usage and purchased energy efficient appliances in order to live on her fixed income from Social Security. Mary’s bill would increase by $155 per year for the same energy use under the proposed plan.Read More . . .