It is encouraging to see younger folks running for public office. I am concerned, however, about some of their philosophies.
Mr. Arno and Mr. Arnold both believe Homer is anti-business. I have my own issues with the city, but the city is not anti-business. Many of us prefer supporting local businesses rather than driving up the road or using the Web.
I moved here from the Mat-Su Valley years before these young men were born. I have watched Homer grow up. Homer is a very attractive city in large part due to personal choices, thoughtful planning and regulations. For a glimpse of unfettered business, take a look at Wasilla. Abandoned strip malls and thickets of annoying signs are testaments to poor planning and unregulated growth.
Nearly every guest we entertain — Alaskans, Outsiders and international travelers — remarks about how refreshing it is to enter a city where the emphasis is on civic pride with beautification projects and flowerbeds rather than commercial signage.
Mr. Arno says if elected he would get rid of the sign ordinance. Is it even possible for a business to hide in Homer today? The technology of Web searches, GPS, smart phones, and the Homer Chamber of Commerce have reduced the need and functionality of signs.
Mr. Arnold interprets building codes and public safety as being anti-development. Buildings designed to prevent the spread of fire also reduce danger to firefighters. The costs of buildings are higher, but that is not anti-business. Homer “home-built” structures constructed without regard to building and fire codes can be potential death traps for both occupants and firefighters. Compliance with fire codes is of little cost compared to the loss of life.
I’ll be voting for Lewis and Lowe and keeping Homer a thoughtful, attractive and safe city.
Doug Van Patten
(“Semi-retired” HVFD member)
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