Local rocker among Omahans nominated for city charter committee - Omaha.com
Published Monday, September 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm / Updated at 8:23 am
Local rocker among Omahans nominated for city charter committee

An interesting field of Omahans is being nominated for a committee that will debate potential revisions to the city charter.

Nominees for the Omaha charter study convention include a local rocker and two widely known Republicans — David Kramer and Brinker Harding — who led Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert's transition team after her May election.

The musician is attorney Stephen Pedersen, known for his guitar work with indie rock bands Cursive, Bright Eyes and Criteria. City Council President Pete Festersen recommended Pedersen, who also is general counsel for Hayneedle.

Stothert nominated Harding, a commercial real estate broker, and Kramer, an attorney, along with nine others.

The mayor's nominees include Steve Grasz, who was chief deputy Nebraska attorney general and currently is the Nebraska Republican Party's legal counsel. Stothert also named lawyer Christine Lustgarten, formerly Douglas County's chief civil deputy attorney, and Republican political consultant Pat McPherson.

Harding was chief of staff to former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub. McPherson also worked for Daub.

City Council members' nominees include former Democratic National Committeewoman Patricia Zieg, a lawyer; Millard school board member Mike Kennedy, also a lawyer; University of Nebraska at Omaha political science professor Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado; and Walt Peffer.

Peffer was former Omaha Mayor P.J. Morgan's chief of staff and an assistant to three previous mayors. Peffer currently is a senior associate at P.J. Morgan Real Estate.

The City Council is expected to vote today to name the committee. Harding would be named the temporary chairman and presiding officer.

Beginning Oct. 7, the committee will meet over eight weeks to consider changes to the city charter, the document that works as Omaha's constitution.

Such a review is required every 10 years.

The committee will settle on a list of recommendations and forward them to the City Council. Any ideas that pass that step will end up on the ballot for a popular vote, likely next year.

Stothert also named longtime community volunteer Carol Russell, attorneys Bruce Hunter and Stephanie Shearer, financial adviser Wesley Siebert, real estate agent Mary Jane Truemper and Douglas County Sheriff's Capt. Wayne Hudson.

Besides Pedersen, Festerson recommended Mark McColley, business manager emeritus of Steamfitters and Plumbers Local Union 464.

Councilman Ben Gray recommended Tim Butz, assistant director of the Fair Housing Center of Nebraska and Iowa; and Symone Sanders, the communications, events and community outreach manager for the Empowerment Network.

Councilman Chris Jerram recommended Zieg and attorney Michael Leahy.

Councilman Garry Gernandt recommended Benjamin-Alvarado and retiree William Gaughan, formerly a senior clerk for Qwest Communications, now CenturyLink.

Councilman Rich Pahls recommended Robert Borgeson, Nebraska legislative representative for the SMART labor union and husband of Douglas County Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson; and Matt Beiriger, a Millard Public Schools social studies teacher.

Councilman Franklin Thompson recommended Peffer and restaurateur Ruth Ann Popp, a retired Omaha police captain.

Councilwoman Aimee Melton recommended Kennedy and James Cann, an attorney.

Contact the writer: Christopher Burbach

christopher.burbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1057    |  

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