Complaints, near-tears accompany controversial Land Bank appointment
Despite a long list of complaints, and almost some tears today, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s pick for an open seat on a little-known city operation is a done deal.
The City Council ending a controversial, five-month long struggle involving race, politics and poverty that put the Land Bank front and center at City Hall.
[See our full video report above, with a variety of statements]
Sharlon Rodgers, wife of Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers, defended her nomination to the Land Bank Board insisting she was qualified.
Rodgers was Stothert’s second choice. Stothert's first choice, former City Councilman Ben Gray.
But Gray came up short in July, just a few months after losing re-election to District 2 Council member Juanita Johnson, who stopped Gray’s Land Bank appointment in its tracks.
Now Johnson was out to stop Mrs. Rodgers, and the council newcomer had some help from several of her north side constituents.
And there was a so-called editorial, calling several well-known Omaha Blacks "Uncle Tom’s…who are keeping white folks happy."
Councilman Brinker Harding read parts of the "missive" before calling it "despicable."
In the end Rodgers' appointment was approved 6-1 by the council with Johnson the lone "no" vote.
Johnson says she voted no because the council was only notified of the appointment five days earlier and that is not enough time to review any nominee's application.