New mayoral ad sparks controversy

Posted at 10:33 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 23:43:27-04

A new campaign ad has sparked controversy less than a week before the election.

The new ad is from the Firefighters for a Better Government, which is members of the Omaha Fire Union.

“This ad is really calling into question the policies of the mayor,” said Steve LeCair, President of the Fire Union.

The 30 second ad calls into questions police response time and how the mayor uses the Omaha Police Department by showing patrol cars go in and out of her gated neighborhood.

“To be torn down like this is extremely frustrating and quiet an emotional shift this week,” said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer. He said the add in inaccurate and he asked the group not to air it after a deputy was killed in Council Bluffs on Monday.

“They didn't care, they didn't care at all about any of that and they ran the ad anyway,” said Schmaderer.

LeClair said the ad is factual and said it's insensitive of the department to ask them not to run it, “I think it is disingenuous to bring the situation from Council Bluffs into this political discourse.”

But Schmaderer said an ad is a new low and it paints the picture there is not enough law enforcement in the city.

“We are supposed to be in this together, and we are in this together, but a small group has decided to take a pot shot at the Omaha Police Department just to be a part of this election,” he said.

Mayor Jean Stothert said Heath Mello should be ashamed the ad is running, ‘’It is particularly despicable right now after one of their own was killed in the line of duty just days ago.”

Mello, who is endorsed by the union, said he had no involvement with the ad but says it is accurate.

“Talking with officers out on the beat, the no cars available is a significant problem, because that means we do not have enough officers,” said Mello.

The Omaha Fire Chief, Dan Olsen releases a statement saying, “It is regrettable that a splinter group supporting negative rhetoric has the potential to cause friction between emergency services providers. The Omaha fire department will not allow the views of this small group to impede the cooperative relationships that are in place.”

The mayoral election is next Tuesday May 9th.