August 10th, 2017
Fifty five OTOC and community leaders attended the final summer training session about organizing where Paul Turner taught about the most fundamental tool of organizing–the individual meeting.
This workshop focused on how engage others in individual meetings in order to develop effective public relationships. If you want to build strong working relationships with people, learn how to do good individual meetings.
To learn more about individual meetings, click on these links:
Individual Meeting Chapter from Roots for Radicals
Individual Meetings and Cycle of Organizing
Ernesto Cortez teaching about individual meetings
Leaders watched Paul conduct an individual meeting with Greta Carlson, the new Lutheran Volunteer Corp intern with Institute for Public Leadership.
Kevin Graham of First United Methodist challenged all those present to do at least 3 individual meeting by November 13 when OTOC will hold a Delegates Assembly.
August 10th, 2017
Five leaders of the OTOC Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Team testified Tuesday night in favor of $1.1 Million for demolition of condemned structures in the 2018 City Budget. They also issued two challenges to the Mayor and Council.
In 2011, the City was spending only $240,000/year on demolition and had a backlog of 800 condemned properties. Since 2013, OTOC has successfully advocated that the City spend $1 Million each year for demolition until the backlog is eliminated. The current backlog of 175 structures could be eliminated by 2020 since the Land Bank will contribute an additional $500,000 this year for a total of $1.6 Million in 2018 for demolition. OTOC advocated for creation of the Land Bank in 2014-15 and stays involved in giving them regular feedback about priorities.
OTOC leaders issue New Challenges
Even when our forward-thinking city initiatives are in place, the process as it is now is moving too slowly,” said Charles Gould of OTOC. OWH, August 9, 2017
OTOC leaders also challenged the City to:(1) more quickly register properties qualifying for the Vacant and Abandoned Property Registry; and (2) use the registry fees to secure abandoned buildings so they don’t deteriorate as quickly. OTOC advocated for creation of the Registry in 2015 and Charlie Gould noted that waiting 4 years for properties to go to foreclosure for unpaid taxes is too to long. Instead, he advocated that the City foreclose for unpaid Registry fees within two years or sooner so the property can be rehabilitated instead of demolished.
Creighton Center for Service & Justice student intern Paul Romero presented data demonstrating the “Demolition Pipeline” of neglected homes in Omaha. Karen McElroy and Dave McLeod both reminded the City Council members that neglected rental properties are a large part of the problem in the eastern part of Omaha. On May 1, in front of 350 OTOC delegates, 6 of the current City Council members agreed to work with OTOC leaders over the next year to improve the regulation of substandard rental housing. Institute for Public Leadership (IPL)is helping OTOC leaders learn more about strategies that have worked in Council Bluffs, LaVista and other cities.
June 26th, 2017
Institute for Public Leadership partnered with OTOC to hold 5 great events at Urban Abbey during July. The events included both celebrations of our culture though song and stories, a workshop on writing letters to the editor and safe rental housing, and discussion of a provocative new book.
Friday, July 14: Kyle Knapp played a delightful blend of folk, rock and pop on his acoustic guitar to 35 OTOC leaders and fans. Kyle told stories and shared classic folk songs and some of his own compositions. Come see Kyle again a future OTOC and IPL events.
Tues., July 18: Juan Carlos Veloso shared Spanish language protest music from Latin America, and especially songs from Chile, his native country. Juan Carlos’ mother joined us that evening along with 32 friends and OTOC leaders. He taught us about the struggles of many Latin Americans for justice.
Thurs. July 20: Kaitlin Reece of Voices for Children and Tyler Richard of ACLU of Nebraska taught 20 engaged leaders how to develop an effective Letter to the Editor and Opinion piece to submit to local newspapers, newsletters and other sources of information. This informative session inspired those present to write more letters on issues of interest.
Tues., July 25: How To Assure Safe Rental Housing Leaders of OTOC’s Housing Action Team hosted Kat Vinton from the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and Prof Kate Mahern of the Creighton Law School legal clinic to discuss the dangers to children from poorly maintained rental housing. OTOC leaders focusedfocus on how to make Omaha’s Housing Code Enforcement more effective and follow up on commitments City Council members made to OTOC to assure rental housing meets health and safety codes. Over 40 people from diverse groups attended this session.
Thurs. July 27 Twenty Five OTOC leaders gathered to discuss the implications of the provocative new book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the 20th Century , by Timothy Snyder. Mary Spurgeon of First United Methodist lead the discussion around the ideas in the short but important book. IPL and OTOC will hold a future book discussion in the Fall.
June 26th, 2017
Join OTOC on Monday, July 10 for “Organizing a team of leaders to agitate your institution to live up to your shared values” on Monday, July 10 @ 7pm—8:30 pm at Augustana Lutheran 3647 Lafayette Ave
Liz Hall, Lead Organizer of our Iowa sister organization, AMOS, will lead an engaging workshop on how to identify and develop a team of leaders in your congregation or organization which will “agitate” your institution to live up to its core values and beliefs. During this time of divisiveness, learn how to build community through discussion and honest reflection on our shared beliefs and values.
May 5th, 2017
350 OTOC Delegates filled St. Leo the Great Hall on May 1
At a May 01 Accountability session, six of the the seven winning candidates for City Council made commitments to 350 OTOC leaders. All Candidates were invited, Mayor Stothert declined and Vinny Palermo had an OPS School Board meeting but has agreed to meet in the future. Our new City Council agreed to work with OTOC leaders on:
Improving Housing Code Enforcement in Rental Housing
Ending the Commingling of Yard Waste and Garbage
Ensuring Omaha Police are free to act as local peace officers, not immigration agents
Reigning in the predatory practices of Pay Day Lenders
Draft Final Questions for Candidates–April 30
Final Summary of How Candidates Answered
Below are videos and short summaries of how your next Omaha City Council responded to OTOC’s Questions:
Pete Festersen, City Council District 1
Pete Festersen May 1 short answers
Ben Gray, City Council District 2
Ben Gray May 1 Short Answers
Chris Jerram, City Council District 3
Chris Jerram May 1 short answers
Rich Pahls, City Council District 5
Brinker Harding, City Council District 6
Brinker Harding May 1 short answers
Aimee Melton, City Council District 7
Aimee Melton May 1 short answers