Letters to the Editor

Just say no to recall

When the controversial Inclusivity Resolution Draft that eventually became No. 17-019 after revision by sponsoring council members was first produced, no one could have anticipated the unpredictable and volatile reactions that would occur from citizens after the 2016 presidential election and worldwide marches for human rights. The eventual resolution was presented, voted down, and that should be it. Democracy at work. Yet, a recall vote is happening June 13, to do what? Punish?

Change can be good, but radical change every day is taxing on people who truly just want to get along, be fair and live harmoniously. Daily radical changes are traumatic, no matter for whom you voted. We are being tested for our resiliency, integrity and good judgement in many ways. Whether some thought we needed a resolution to say we are inclusively open-hearted, or whether some didn’t think we needed a resolution, it shouldn’t be blowing this town apart.

We have real work to do. We have faith in each other that we can have a dialogue. I thought. Until now. This isn’t about one side winning. We are all going to be losers because of the recall vote and the spirit behind this effort. Who is going to be willing to volunteer to serve in this climate of spitefulness with this kind of energy?

To the mayor and the other three council members, do you fear if a resident asked you to bring a proposed draft resolution forth, that you might be recalled in a storm of character assassinations, accusations of nefarious intentions, complete with printed posters, booing and radio ads? Would you speak out in defense of the council as a team? What if this were directed toward you other four? Where is your support for this group who were elected to work as a protective unified force on behalf of all citizens of Homer? Our council represents the diverse factions of our city. Donna Aderhold, Catriona Reynolds and Dave Lewis serve in good faith, not in bad faith, and should not be excluded.

Faith means different things to different people. A very wise person once said, FAITH is taking the first step even if you can’t see the whole staircase. In Homer’s case, let’s have faith that we can move on, and work our way step by step to the top, not to the bottom. Now, it appears we are at the recall vote step, which is getting pretty low. Please, Homer, be kind, have faith in good intentions, take a step up and vote no.

Susan Phillips Cushing

Inclusivity excellent goal for city

I support our hard-working Homer City Council members. I am a Homer city resident and I vote in all elections. Only 32 percent of registered voters voted to elect our city council. Yet I read a Letter to the Editor stating that if the council members “cared” about the city and “every one of its citizens” they would resign. Most citizens do not “care” enough about their city council to vote in the elections. The council members who supported the “inclusivity resolution” No. 17-019 certainly reflected my views.

I was amazed that the writer of that letter said that a council member should not have researched an out-of-state “template” for a Sanctuary City. I elect a person because I value that person’s views, experience, education, etc. I would expect that person to introduce thoughtful resolutions that both represent her/his own views, and represent people in the community. A council member cannot possibly represent everyone’s views because people have different views. If the council member wants to research appropriate wording for a resolution by exploring other resolutions from other areas of the state or country, I think that is an excellent idea. If that person has a “personal motive” for bringing forth an “inclusive” resolution, I welcome hearing her/his ideas.

Both the public and council members themselves can initiate resolutions. Our democracy functions that way. Now I see a half-page advertisement about economic losses due to the “Sanctuary City” resolution. I am astonished by this. First, the resolution was for “inclusivity” — respect, and non-discrimination toward all people. What an excellent goal for the City of Homer, and all communities to achieve! Second, the resolution failed. Failing to become an “inclusive” city is our loss. Vote no on the recall.

Vivian Finlay

Recall effort threatens democracy

I believe the effort to recall the Homer city council members is an affront to democracy. We elected six citizens to represent us and they have each done a thoughtful and credible job on our behalf.

We will have an opportunity as a community to elect current or new council members in October 2017 and every October as we always do. I believe this special election is misguided and an unnecessary expense to the city. Through the vagueness of the law this special election has been allowed to proceed but the city attorney, city clerk, and the recall initiators were not required to prove that any laws or oaths were violated. The city has allowed unproven accusations to propel this election.

I am a resident of Homer and these council members have been doing a good job representing me. They have taken care of the regular business of the city and they have been open to presenting the ideas of their constituents even if they personally did not agree with the issue. I appreciate that they have kept the door open for people like me to have issues that are important in my life to be heard, considered, and voted on. It is a process our form of government allows so citizens can be heard. It does not mean everything presented will be supported by the city.

The idea of recalling council members over differing opinions threatens democracy. It means anyone can make up a reason for a special election because the state and city do not have a clear idea of how to determine if the claim is reasonable or even truthful. This means most claims will be accepted because there are so few guidelines. This is a wasteful and reactionary way to run government, and people of every belief need to think about what this could mean when they are in the voting minority. The goal of government is to consider what is good for the people at large. Our government is designed to provide public services and protect the civil and legal rights of every person.

In this particular case, the initiators of this recall seem upset that the council would even consider an Inclusivity Resolution. The resolution the council considered was a statement that civil and legal rights would be supported by the city. It was in support of the United States and Alaska Constitutions and the laws of our country. This was an idea brought to them by the public and it was sponsored by three members of the council. A resolution must be sponsored in order to allow discussion. The discussion was held, the vote was taken, and the resolution failed 5 to 1. This is usually the end of the process.

To me this is a vote about how we want democracy to work. If you believe your ideas and concerns should matter in our city, vote no on the recall of council members.

Lynn Takeoka Spence

Hospice experience: amazing ride

After 18 plus years with Hospice of Homer, I will be leaving my position April 28.

It was an amazing ride overflowing with the “full catastrophe of life” — joy, sadness and so much more.

Thank you to the community — staff, board members, volunteers, donors and businesses — for your support. I got to know so many wonderful, kind people I would not have met if I was not working at Hospice of Homer. I learned so much while my heart grew working for an amazing organization.

As Mr. Rogers sang to his friends, “See you in the neighborhood.” I hope to see you around town.

Deep Bows and Gratitude,

Darlene Hilderbrand