Homer testifies on inclusivity resolution

Editor’s note: In public comments lasting almost four hours, more than 100 people spoke on Resolution 17-019, Stating that the City of Homer Adheres to the Principle of Inclusion. Here are some selected quotes:

“I felt the first version was toxic … I think everyone should take a breath and remember we have more in common with each other.” – Ginny Espenshade

“If people are afraid of each other in Homer, putting this brownie button thing on the door isn’t going to change that fear.” – Sara Vance

“I’m proud to be a Muslim immigrant. I’m proud to be gay and proud to call Homer my home. I’m here to refute anyone who believes we don’t need this kind of resolution because we don’t have these kind of problems in Homer. Let me reassure you that we do. … This resolution is the first step toward helping everyone in Homer feel safe, and I encourage you to pass it.” – Shameer Azmat

“I believe Homer has always been an inclusive community. We may not agree on certain issues, but we still live and play together. … Don’t act like sheep who fall into the snares raised by the media and other hateful groups.” – Krystal Butcher

“You can’t change people’s hearts by a law.” – Ina Jones

“There is no higher purpose for a government body than to defend the vulnerable, even — as John Adams noted and Alexis de Tocqueville reiterated — from the tyranny of the majority.” – Hal Spence

“I think this kind of talk is very scary. This is the kind of thing that started our Civil War. It has nothing to do with racism. It has nothing to do with hate or intolerance.” – Frank Bauer

“This resolution is nothing more than pushing politics on the people of Homer … This resolution attempts to address issues that are not present in our community. … We all live together. We all coexist.” – John Butcher

“A majority of the people of Homer are kind people and nice people and accept me because I am different. However, prejudices exist in our community … It is always worth our time to talk about the safety of our residents … I hope we can continue to advocate for a tolerant community.” – Lindsay Martin

“It states its purpose is to resist efforts to divide the community. Unfortunately it has done the opposite.” – Cristin Funkhauser

“I don’t think this is what you want. I don’t think the people who put this together thought this through very well.” – Dan Presley

“I don’t have a problem with much of this resolution, because it is reaffirming the city’s intent to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the city of Homer. …What I do have a problem with is parts of this that have an adverse effect on the city of Homer.” – Gus VanDyke

“I thought it was unnecessary to have Resolution 17-019 even put forward, and but then I listened to the testimony preceding me. Sitting in the group, when I heard people talk about tolerance, and then when the word ‘Muslim’ came up and they made all these derogatory remarks in the audience I realized that the illusion of tolerance in this town is very deep.” – Julia Person

“This is a Rorschach test. We look at this and we all see different things and I’m surprised by the diversity of things we see. … As a lawyer, I can tell you, the body of the resolution merely restates the law, plain and simple. … It’s negativity that each of looks at this and sees something different and has our own fears.” – Andy Haas

“I read many comments about this resolution and my heart sank as I realized we were reading the same words and getting totally different information from them. I don’t know what to do about that but keep talking.” – Lynn Takeoka Spence

“The whole wording of this document is a convoluted mess.” –Barnabas Firth

“There are conservatives and liberals here. I know when I look at this sweet woman over there, Catriona (Reynolds), we want the same things, supporting people … I appreciate your courage to bring a difficult thing up. My hope as a community is we will look together to bring communities together.” – Joyce Turkington

“I am opposed to this resolution, but I am not opposed to the love of those behind this.” – Joy Overson

“I can’t see how you guys can vote for that solution. It’s too big a mess.” – Beaver Nelson

“We have to get over this Trump-Obama, liberals-conservatives. We’re all Americans. We need to unite.” – Joni Wise

“Homer is a great little town. We can all get along. … I think this resolution should never have seen the light of day. It should be consigned to the ash heap of the shredder.” – Jessie Nelson

“I feel stunned that people don’t feel how tolerant our town is.” – Vicky Ogden

“We have always been an inclusive community, and we have gotten along very well. Now it’s a cesspool of name calling. … The resolution is not inclusive but dividing.” – Mark Cooper

“Are the people of Homer so stupid they need to have a piece of paper to tell them how to act?” – Merlin Cordes