Letters to the Editor

Homer is welcoming community

About 40 years ago, Homer welcomed three related families who fled Vietnam following the takeover by the cruel North Vietnamese Communist regime. Working with Lutheran Social Services, these families (boat people) were found in refugee camps and welcomed into the community of Homer. The Methodist Church, the Lutherans, Brother Asaiah and others welcomed the extended families which included members from a little baby girl to a grandma.

When asked why they came to America, the immediate answer was “freedom.”

About 20 years ago, representatives of the families visited Homer to thank those who sponsored and welcomed them to Homer and America. The little baby had become a lovely young woman who helped in translation, but it was obvious even without language that the families were grateful for their welcome to Homer and America and freedom.

James C. Hornaday

Democrats need to clean up party

The Democratic Party has decided to go to “war” against President Trump. To heck with the U.S. of A., the Democratic Party comes first, and the country last. Proving again that the Democrats are sore losers and poor winners. I’m gonna skip what I was going to continue with … and go to here.

President Trump has banned CNN from the White House, and the Deocrats are screaming, “that’s a violation of the First Amendment!” But yet, when Obama banned Fox News from the White House, not a word was said by the hypocrites of the Democratic Party. Silence was the word.

Come on, national Democrats. Clean up your party. Put dignity and pride back in your party. It’s been missing a loooong time! Guess I could add integrity also.

Of all the national news teams out there, Fox News is the only network that shows Trump respect. Some call CNN the Clinton News Network. Myself, I call CNN the Comedy Network News. My opinion, and I’m entitled to it. So there!

Jim Hadley

P.S. The Trump-bashing national news media could clean up its act, too. Fox News does fine.

We can agree to practice compassion

I am a black woman, a practicing Buddhist, married to a white man and have lived in Homer for almost four years. I embody “minority” and “alien” in this community. But overall, I have found Homer to be a welcoming, creative place to live. When my husband told me the Resolution for Inclusivity received only one vote, I was troubled. But as we read the history of the original resolution it was easy to understand why it created so much conflict and opposition.

While this resolution was being debated, revised and condemned, I was meeting with Reverend Lisa Talbott, pastor of the Homer United Methodist Church, to discuss how we could create an inter-faith community event on a theme anyone can agree on — compassion.

Even if you don’t practice a religion, we all recognize the value of kindness and helping to relieve others’ suffering. Of course, compassion begins first with having compassion for ourselves by acknowledging our own suffering and need for a kind word or helping hand. Everyone wants to defend and protect what we feel is ours whether it is an idea, a belief, a point of view, our home, our family or how we live. But sometimes, if we step back and look at another’s situation, with the eyes of compassion, we may come to a new understanding.

“Practicing Compassion in Challenging Times” will be an opportunity for us to gather and learn exactly what compassion means and how we can practice it. We will learn to embrace our common humanity and the need for kindness, understanding, and inclusion.

This will not be a time or place to talk about politics. As we all know politics is an ever changing game. Our need to practice compassion never ends.

Skywalker Payne

Let’s hope our better angels prevail

Thank you to the members of the Homer City Council for listening to the citizens and voting against Resolution 17-019. A big thank you also to the many citizens who took the time to testify on the resolution. This was clearly an emotional, divisive and potentially harmful issue for our community.

I was very impressed with the civil and polite manner in which all of the public testimony was delivered. Even though this was a hot button issue, everyone’s behavior was much better than what I have seen recently of town hall meetings in other communities. Watching how this issue was handled by our citizens and council, I couldn’t help but reflect on President Lincoln’s closing comments in his first inaugural address:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

I hope that our community can be touched by our better angels, come together and move forward to deal with the many challenges our country is facing.

Charlie Franz

A vision to help us move forward

It is difficult for a fish to appreciate the water it is in.

We live in a society of increasing complexity but have given little thought as to how we have arrived here. The very nature of civil infrastructure and institutions has been fostered by a commensurate degree of moral evolution. It requires justice, as manifest in laws, brought to us by a our elected representatives, clarified by our judiciary, and implemented by courts and law enforcement. Even our concept and practice of justice must evolve to keep pace with this increasing complexity.

We can look out over the current social landscape and be quite confused by what we see and feel. Imagine a landscape, not of wilderness but of gardens, that hold great promise. Each year the ground is tilled, planted, weeded, and ultimately harvested. Our view of this landscape changes with the season. I suppose the weeds, worms, and other small critters are disturbed when the soil is turned over in the spring but the wise gardener knows that things will change.

Could we be in a time when the soil is being fertilized with the decay of antiquated and outmoded approaches to governance? Could it be that the soil is being turned over in preparation for seeds of awareness that will redefine basic human relations that in turn will significantly redefine our institutions. Reflect for a moment on the last thousand years of social advancement.

We stand on the foundation of institutions built from a framework of competition and adversarial relationships. This was necessary to pull humanity out of the of the mud of immaturity. But the last few months have shed brighter light on the natural outcome of outmoded practices and their underlying assumptions.

Political processes, not unlike other processes in life, should not remain unaffected by the powers of the human spirit and the increasing maturity that involves. We stand at the threshold off collective maturity and belief in the oneness of humanity becomes the new foundation altering the very structure of society. As long as we can identify the problem in our community as the “others” — such as the immigrant, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hispanic, and the Republican or the Democrat we relieve ourselves from the personal responsibility that this process of change requires.

Past practices and belief lack the power to affect change in an ever evolving civilization. This apparently simple notion of the oneness of humanity, holds within it a rather revolutionary notion that power now lies with that human race as a body. We can only save ourselves collectively. That power of unity, love, humble service and pure deeds constitutes a power of limitless capacity that resides in the human race as a body.

This is not a plea for some romantic utopian vision rather an attempt to foster a vision of a path toward a society where we share with our neighbors, we serve our community, and we support the growth of our institutions. A culture of conflict is not eliminated with more conflict nor does it change by waiting for someone else to do the work.

Paul Rourke

More inclusion, not less, needed

It was interesting to read two opposing and articulate letters last week regarding preserving or abolishing the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s invocation. I would like to weigh in as someone strongly in favor of our government getting out of the business of choosing religious “appropriateness.”

One of the reasons I love this country is the Establishment Clause of the Constitution — you know, Congress shall make no laws establishing a religion. There are many countries in this world governed by Moslem sects, Buddhist beliefs, and yes even Christian precepts. It is doubtful that there are many Americans who would want to live in any of those countries, whether rich or poor. These nations have shown us the slippery slope upon which intolerance, once given a franchise, gains momentum. Any movement of this country in that direction is a motion toward tyranny. Religion has no place in the assembly agenda.

In spite of the Establishment Clause, Charlie Franz feels our government is premised on a deeply religious ideal. In fact, it is doubtful that all the signers and residents of the ratifying states were so. And his logic in stating that “all men are created equal” is somehow a validation of a religion defies logic.

These are times that suggest more inclusion, rather than less is what is needed in this nation and world. Consider getting in touch with your assembly representative to talk about this issue, and offer comment on the borough site before the March 21 meeting when Ordinance 2017-02 will be up for consideration.

Steve Gibson

Realtors support Hospice of Homer

On behalf of Hospice of Homer and the people we serve, I would like to thank the Kachemak Board of Realtors for their kind and generous donation. The funds were raised at KBR’s annual holiday event last December.

The contribution from the Board of Realtors is so important to hospice in that it is unrestricted. This means hospice can use these funds to pay ordinary ongoing expenses — the nuts and bolts that keep our doors open. Also, because Hospice of Homer receives less than 1 percent of our funding from public monies, we depend almost solely on donations and fundraising funds, like those from KBR.

Hospice of Homer values the ongoing support of the Kachemak Board of Realtors. The Realtors’ generous and heartfelt support has made an amazing difference to hospice over many years. This community is a better place to live thanks to their efforts. With bedrock support like this, Hospice of Homer has been able to grow and thrive, providing quality, caring service to friends, family and fellow community members for over 31 years.

If you are interested in giving back to your community and making a positive difference in someone’s life, consider making a financial donation to hospice or become a hospice volunteer. Please check out the hospice website or give us a call at 235-6899.

Will you remember hospice in your will?

Darlene Hilderbrand, executive director

Hospice of Homer