During my freshman year at Homer High School a youth-run group was formed. Its focus turned outward, to the needs of our community, at a time in our lives when self-absorption ruled.
The Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee, or YAC, provided support to organizations that served youth in healthy, affordable and easily accessible activities. There were 10 of us the first year, spanning middle through high school.
Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet ruled favorably on behalf of business condo owner Ken Castner; the rest of us Homer property owners need to pay attention to the repercussions. The condo owners have a legitimate beef, if you compare their gas line assessments to those of apartment owners.
But no worries, there is plenty of beef to go around. The problem is that if the condo owners are let off the hook, someone has to pick up their tab. And fellow property owners, that means you and me.
The referendum to repeal Alaska’s new oil tax legislation gives citizens the power to decide what is good for Alaska. It challenges us to make a simple choice about a complex issue where facts are scarce and arguments are many.
But arguments without facts are opinions, and opinions are based on assumptions and motives that are not always visible. To be useful, opinions require trust as a substitute for facts. So what do we know? How can we decide? And who can we trust?
Ballot Measure 1 is a divisive and complex issue. Much confusion has been generated and I’ve been asked by many friends, “How am I supposed to vote?” It’s really not for me to tell you how to vote, but I’m glad to tell you how I’m going to vote.
I’m going to vote “yes,” and I hope you will consider doing the same, though many of my colleagues and people I greatly respect don’t agree. I think this vote is going to be a squeaker either way. That’s why it is so important you exercise your civic right to vote, however you decide.
An issue that deserves our attention has recently surfaced in the debates between the Republican Party candidates who hope to unseat Sen. Mark Begich in the Nov. 4 general election. That issue is the 100-year-old income tax system which can only be described as a ridiculous, complex and intrusive mess. It is burdensome to tax filer, destructive to the economy and custom designed to invite political motivated abuse and corruption. It is broken beyond repair and the time has come to correct a 100-year-old mistake.
It’s time for a little perspective.
A man once bought a block of land. On it, he built nice house, but nothing special. He invested in that house and built a family around it and gradually rebuilt the walls and windows, replaced the carpets, made general upgrades. He made those upgrades for the sake of his family and to hopefully one day get a return for the time and money he invested.
“I was waiting for a bus in Philadelphia along with about a dozen others. There was this altercation happening, and all of us there at the bus stop chose to ignore it, including me. I realize looking back on it that collectively, we had created a culture of doing nothing.”
Sue Rennolds told this story during a Green Dot class and it still sticks with me. The familiar feeling of helplessness, hesitancy and mutual discomfort. I’ve been there. It’s called the bystander effect.
The governor has the ability to veto any bill he does not think is in the best interest of the state. The people also have the veto through a difficult petition and election process as seen in Ballot Measure 1. Although we would default to the prior tax system, ACES, a citizen “veto” of Senate Bill 21 does not create a new tax or prevent acceptable oil tax reform.
Q – Should Alaskans want less competition for our oil?
State committed to open process
By: Randy Bates
If you want to get someone’s attention, make a sensational statement. If you want even more attention, make that sensational statement an accusation.
Editor’s Note: The Homer News asked Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members Bill Smith, who represents Homer on the assembly, and Mako Haggerty, who represents the rest of the southern peninsula, to share their views on a proposed bed tax. An ordinance that would put such a tax before voters in the October municipal election will get a second hearing before the assembly on July 22.
Proposal is way to restructure how we pay to attract visitors
Over the past weeks the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has heard testimony about Ordinance 2014-25, to put before the voters, the option for a 4 percent transient accommodations tax.
I urge them to pass this, and let us have that vote.
Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to “biodegrade” in a landfill (it never really decomposes, just breaks down into tinier pieces of plastic). Aluminum cans: 200-500 years. Tin: 50-100 years. Styrofoam: 5,000 years. Tinfoil: Never.
Just cause the guy’s a greasy thug and you’re scared doesn’t mean you’ve got to grab the tab. You bet Alaska is a tough place to drill for oil — hundreds of miles from a road, with temperatures that turn oil into sludge, where crews are remote and cold.
But if you’re an oil executive you pick the politics, you choose the infrastructure, you pick your battles with the insurgencies, you choose your chance of hitting oil, you pick what you pay in royalties. Go ahead pick:
Taxes less than Alaska
(46% includes federal and state royalties)
One of the things I like best about Homer is that friends can disagree and remain friends. A friend of mine wrote last week’s Point of View in support of SB 21, the oil tax give away. It read like a BP press release, full of unsupported statistics and misleading facts. He could not be more wrong.
Ever been a part of a Cosmic Shift? It’s interesting — kind of a tremor in the universe that shakes things up a little and finally settles out with a happy ending but still leaves you with a bit of confusion as to why it all happened.
Who mentored you? It’s a question that I ask new “Big” volunteers when I interview them at Big Brothers Big Sisters. The answers are fascinating and widely varied: parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, family friends, neighbors, older siblings, friends both young and old, spouses, pastors, employers, co-workers, and on and on. Their answers always trigger memories about the school mentors I had in my own life when I was younger and most of all the host of relatives that lived nearby.
As every business person knows, Alaska can be a tough place to do business. Much of what makes it such a challenge here is out of our control: high costs, distant markets, harsh weather, small workforce. What we can control is how we treat our businesses — and that’s why it’s so important to vote no on one on Aug. 19.
Why I am against SB 21 and believe we need to repeal the “giveaway” this August 19th:
I am from and therefore of Alaska. What I know about life, the world and living has been acquired while existing almost exclusively in Alaska. In other words, Alaska has shaped me and as I grow into stages of adulthood I understand the importance of helping, in my small way, shape Alaska, in return.
A perfect culmination of a year brimming with creative placemaking efforts, more than 200 guests and volunteers took part in Old Town’s biggest placemaking experiment yet: Dinner in the Street.
As we enter into a contentious political season, campaign advertising will do its best to be persistent and persuasive. It will be difficult to determine the truth in matters that are important to us.