In the Oct. 3 municipal election, Kenai Peninsula Borough residents will elect a new borough mayor and vote on school board and assembly members. Residents in the unincorporated areas of the city also will consider a ban on commercial cannabis with Proposition 1, where a “yes” vote approves the ban (see story, page 1, Business &Real Estate).
In the city of Homer, voters elect two new members of the Homer City Council. The top-two candidates will fill two, 3-year seats currently held by council members David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds and who are not running for re-election. In Homer’s Proposition 1, voters also will consider a change to the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails Program, a fund supported by a 0.75-percent sales tax that can be used to build new roads or trails. Prop. 1 would ask voters if that fund also can be used for general maintenance of roads and trails — in essence, directing use of the HART fund to free up more money in the general fund budget.
This week we start our election coverage with profiles of the council candidates who aim to fill the seats of Lewis and Reynolds. Lewis, Reynolds and council member Donna Aderhold beat back an effort to recall them in a special election in June. Aderhold’s seat ends in October 2018. The recall vote failed by 56 percent “no” for Reynolds and 57 percent “no” for Aderhold and Lewis.
With a prominent recall supporter, Sarah Vance, running for council, the recall could be an issue in the campaign. The spokesperson for Heartbeat of Homer, the group backing the recall, Vance cut her teeth in city politics working on the campaign. She also has started a public-information group, Whereas, a successor to Heartbeat of Homer. Vance was the first person to file to run for council. Also running, in order of how they will appear on the ballot and in when they filed, are Kimberly Ketter, Caroline Venuti, Anne Poso, Rachel Lord, Stephen M. Mueller, Dwayne G. Nustvold Jr. and Andrew Kita.
Anne Poso is not actively campaigning and is not profiled here. However, because she did not withdraw from the election in time to have her name removed from the ballot, she will be listed on the ballot.
Andrew Kita responded to an email requesting an interview, but by press time had not scheduled a time to be interviewed and is not profiled.
Voters can choose two of the eight candidates on the ballot. Under city code, to avoid a runoff, a candidate must win a plurality of 35 percent of the total number of votes cast divided by the number of seats, that is, two. For example, if 2,000 total votes were cast, a candidate would need at least 350 out of 1,000 votes to avoid a runoff.
If none of the candidates win at least 35 percent, the top four would be in a runoff, again with voters selecting two. If any one candidate won at least 35 percent, there would be a runoff between the second and third place candidates, as happened when Aderhold won a plurality and Heath Smith ran and won against incumbent Beau Burgess in a runoff in 2015.