Letters

Seaton is a problem solver

Those of us who live on the Southern Kenai Peninsula are fortunate to have Paul Seaton as our State House Representative. Regardless of whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or something else, and particularly during these times of our demanding budget problems, having a well-informed, financially experienced and proven problem-solver to represent us are at the top of our “we need” list, and Paul is that in spades. Talk to Paul for 10 minutes about our state finances and our budget challenges, and you will know you are speaking to the person who has the knowledge and experience to tackle these challenges. Paul has a proven track record of working with both Democrats and Republicans to address our state fiscal crisis. From where I sit, there don’t seem to be any easy solutions, and anyone who says there are, likely doesn’t understand the nature and severity of our financial challenges. Paul has worked effectively to simultaneously save our PFD, forward fund education and pay for critical government services while at the same time striving towards establishing a balanced budget. If you’re undecided about Paul, I encourage you to do two things: 1. Visit Pauls’s website and read his positions and what he has accomplished (www.votepaulseaton.com,) and 2. Call Paul, talk to him and ask questions about the state budget and our financial challenges (907-299-3434.) I think you’ll find Paul to be exceedingly accessible and impressively well-informed.

Taz Tally

Galvin is change Alaska needs

I am so very proud and appreciative of Sen. Lisa Murkowski for acting on principle rather than partisanship. She is a sharp contrast to our other senator and to Don Young, who march in lockstep with Trump’s party. Young, for far too many years has occupied our only seat on the House of Representatives. Young has embarrassed our state again and again with boorish behavior, crude and hurtful remarks. After 45 years in office, he is doing us little good these days.

Fortunately, Alyse Galvin has launched a powerful challenge to replace Young. Alyse has raised over $1 million to fund her campaign, twice as much as Young. Alyse is an Independent, Democratic party-endorsed candidate for Congress. At a time when Alaskans are experiencing soaring health care costs, hurting from a struggling economy, and frustrated by Congress’ inability to put partisanship aside, Alyse is the change in representation we need. Alyse is someone, who can work with Sen. Murkowski to standup to Republican bullying and find solutions.

Young called Alyse “nasty” when she held his feet to the fire about his record in public debate. That’s a compliment. We would be so fortunate to have two women representing us in Washington, D.C. who have a moral compasses, who are willing to make and act on tough decisions, who will vote their consciences. My vote goes Alyse Galvin for Congress.

Kathryn Carssow

Laura Day was a success

Thanks to everyone that joined us for Laura Day at Coop’s on Oct 6. I know everyone is constantly asked to help with donations but that’s what makes Homer my home. Our fabulous community kept us running the entire day. Laura and Ruby Touya are overwhelmed by the generosity of Homer as Laura wages her battle against breast cancer. I’d also like to thank the following businesses for their generosity as well: Bay Realty, Story Real Estate, Collins Excavation, Home Run Oil, Peninsula Surgical Clinic, Tire Town, Bear Creek Winery and Print Works. You all gave until it mattered. Thanks again.

Kelly Cooper and the Coop’s Crew

Thanks from the Kevin Bell Arena

This past year, the Kevin Bell Arena received assistance from The Compass Rose Fund and KLEPS Fund, donor advised funds of the Homer Foundation. This assistance was essential in our efforts to continue to provide a safe, maintained facility in our community. We replaced the outdated batteries in the emergency lights, replaced scoreboard lights, updated refrigerant relief valves, and purchased a floor jack capable of lifting the Zamboni for service.

Operating an ice arena as a nonprofit association would not be possible without the assistance of funds like these. The Kevin Bell Arena would like to thank these funds for their contributions in our effort to offer recreational opportunities for our community.

These upgrades, along with the volunteer hours to install them, mean that this community will continue to be able to enjoy recreational opportunities at the arena this winter. Please view our website, www.kevinbellarena.org, for opportunities, or better yet, come down to the arena and check out what we have to offer. See you on the ice.

Charlie Stewart, KBA/HHA President

Vote yes on Ballot Measure 1

Alaska’s salmon habitat protection laws are laughably inadequate and have been for some time. Yet, even with evidence mounting, state lawmakers chose to cover their eyes rather than risk upsetting powerful forces in the resource extraction industries by taking reasonable measures to protect fish.

Finally fed up, more than 40,000 of us signed the Stand for Salmon initiative petition to put some balanced salmon habitat protection provisions on the November ballot. Passage of Ballot Measure 1 would require developers of major projects to adhere to reasonable restraints essential to protecting salmon streams from utter destruction.

Now, industry and their allies in the Legislature are attempting sway public opinion against the ballot measure by using highly misleading ads and editorials designed to convince us that protecting salmon means grinding Alaska’s economy to a halt. Don’t let such hyperbolic propaganda scare you. Voting against our own best interests plays right into corporate hands. They don’t care about salmon. Their only concern is protecting their profits.

Ballot Measure 1 may need fine-tuning. Complex law often does. But ask yourself: Is the Legislature likely to agree to and pass better statutes after failing for decades to even come close? That Alaska’s salmon are under mounting threat can be ignored no longer. It is up to us to protect the habitats where they spawn and rear.

Sincerely,

Hal Spence

Increase vote turnout on Nov. 6

I don’t know whether to dance for joy or cry. Voter turnout was up for the recent City/Borough election but only 33 percent of you had your voice heard.

What do the other 67 percent nonvoters need to motivate them to vote?

Next election, Nov. 6, vote for Governor, Lt. Governor, State House and U.S. Congress. This is the major league, so choices matter.

Early voting begins Oct. 22, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Homer City Hall or the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office across from Alice’s. No excuses.

Let’s get to 75 percent at least, so we really can say “Majority Rules.”

Angie Newby, Kenai Peninsula Votes (a nonpartisan “get out the vote” group)

Helping to clear up

Stand for Salmon confusion

As the Nov. 6 ballot nears, many are confused by what Ballot Measure 1, the Stand for Salmon initiative, would really do and how it would impact residents. This is understandable considering the mixed messaging and misinformation being spread regarding who crafted it and what new procedures would be put in place. I encourage all of us to learn as much as we can, because what we are being given the opportunity to decide is too important a decision to walk into the voting booth without knowing what is fact from fiction. This will take more than just reading glossy mailers or listening to television ads, so here are a few salient details to get started with:

• It updates Title 16, the Alaska statute governing development permits in freshwater salmon habitat. This law directs the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to approve a project “unless the commissioner finds the plans and specifications insufficient for the proper protection of fish and game…” It just doesn’t say what proper protection is, so the commissioner appointed in any year makes this call. Ballot Measure 1 adds science-based parameters to Title 16, as recommended by the Board of Fish in their January 2017 letter to the legislature.

• It was not written by governors of other states or any other outside organizations.

• It divides projects into two tiers — minor and major — so that minor ones can go through quickly like they do now, but major ones receive tougher scrutiny.

• It presumes that streams in Alaska are anadromous until proven otherwise (i.e., until Fish and Game has the time and money to finish cataloging).

• It introduces public notice and opportunity for public comment on large projects (also recommended by the Board of Fish). Currently no public notice is required.

Nicole Arevalo

Republicans off the mark: letter No. 4

Now that we are reaching the culmination of the District 31 political season on Nov. 6, Paul Seaton stands tall as our leader of choice. Paul is smart, honest and approachable. He understands the ways of the legislature and has worked tirelessly to protect the budget and the state of the Permanent Fund from the shortsighted who prefer cash now in their pockets while leaving the difficult task of running the government budget to others. Paul has not abandoned his principles of fair and honest judgment of what is in the longterm interests of District 31. He has supported responsible government and protected the long-term interests of all Permanent Fund dividend recipients.

New revenues are needed if we are to further the repair of the infrastructure and promote responsible government. That he has been the target of the Republican hierarchy is a tribute to his ability to work for the benefit of all Alaskans, Republican, Democratic and Independent alike. It behoves all voters in House District 31 to get out and vote in what may be a close and critical election.

Paul Seaton should be your choice as our representative in Juneau. In my opinion we can not afford to leave our budget issues and other pressing economic and social legislation to political expediency without the careful and experienced leadership Paul has provided. Please make sure you vote on November 6, for a candidate who will help guide the legislature through the difficult budget issues in the coming two years. Your support will be necessary and appreciated by all of us who put the welfare of the State of Alaska foremost in our considerations for the future.

Philemon D. Morris, former mayor, Kachemak City

Make history

Scotland, England, Norway, Japan, Quebec, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Washington — all used to have wild salmon runs. It’s a fact that the single largest cause of lost salmon runs is ruining the upstream habitat. Salmon were lost because logging brought erosion, hydroelectric dams blocked fish passage, farming siphoned water for irrigation and mining polluted watersheds.

Some Alaskans believe our salmon are still around because of ADF&G management and our existing regulations. Let’s face it, we have good habitat because there are less than a million people in our state and there hasn’t been a lot of competition from other industries and development yet. This is why the vast majority of our salmon habitats have remained pristine and healthy.

The hard truth is, we are not doing anything different than Europe, the Atlantic or the Pacific coasts. We are developing Alaska just as they developed their regions, and like them, we are losing salmon along the way. Resource extraction is what Alaska is all about! We grab each boom as quickly as it becomes a moneymaker. The only way we’ll hang onto salmon is to slide them up higher on the resource priority list, provide more protections and be willing to make hard choices. History and life prove we can’t have it all.

And how will Alaskans know we are actually doing things different than the “lands of lost salmon?” When our decisions seem a bit radical. When it feels like a new direction. When priorities are not just monetary. When big business balks.

Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 1 and make history.

Catie Bursch

Advice for cleaning up trash

Applause for the city council members’ willingness to take a lead to help our community rid itself of plastic litter that is polluting and degrading our habitat for all inhabitants. As they consider next steps, here are a few ways we all can be part of the solution:

1. If It Didn’t Grow There It Doesn’t Go There — for anyone who has trouble identifying what trash is, use this rule of thumb. Any debris unattended on the ground, on the beach, in a bush, in a tree that didn’t get there naturally is most likely trash and degrades our environment and our lives.

2. Don’t Pitch It, Don’t Flick It, Just Don’t — Think twice and then again before you toss or carelessly leave trash outside. Look at the ground around you. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world and they do not decompose. Ninety-five percent of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that does not quickly degrade and persists in the environment. Make sure you appropriately dispose of all the trash you create.

3. If You See It, Pick It Up — Put those single-use plastic bags in your pockets (maybe with some gloves) and pick up trash you see, whether it’s yours or not. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll collect and how good you’ll feel doing it. Stop walking past the plastic, Styrofoam, glass, metal and, yes, even cigarette butts you see in town, on your road, on the beach, on a trail. Get one of those reusable Boomerang Bags from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies to use for shopping — but get one for collecting trash, too!

Clean up days are great, but a keep-clean mentality is best. As they say, let’s do this.

Marcia Kuszmaul

Support Begich

I urge Alaskans to vote Mark Begich for Governor on Nov. 6. This election will be one of the most important for the people of Alaska and the United States. In a recent opinion published in the Oct. 11 Anchorage Daily News, Rep. Les Gara shared his history working with Dunleavy and the mean spirited and regressive votes Dunleavy made while in the legislature. Alaskans young and old have an opportunity to turn this state and country around. Our education and social systems including healthcare are in shambles. The crime and drug epidemics are destroying the foundation of everything we hold dear in our lives. Damage to our environment, rampant greed and hate are the mantra of those in power at state and federal levels. The time to turn this horrible nightmare around is now. Mark Begich is just one person, but as Governor of Alaska, he will govern fairly, honestly and openly. Mark supports Ballot Measure 1 Stand for Salmon. He knows that salmon are the lifeblood of Alaska. Dunleavy and Walker have sold out to the big corporations. We stand at the precipice of a monumental time: Be wise and strong: Vote Mark Begich for Governor.

Patricia Cue

A change

We need a change in the U.S. House. I’m voting for Alyse Galvin because of her strengths, her character, and the fact that she has not taken a penny of corporate campaign money and will not take gifts from special interest or lobbyist groups.

Alyse Galvin will not allow outside influence on issues facing Alaskans. Proof of this is her success with the grass roots Great Alaska Schools campaign, that she is running as an Independent, and that she is not taking corporate campaign donations. Alyse will work hard to represent us in Washington, and she also believes in working across the aisle because it gets things done. Our current Representative termed out of the benefits of seniority, and had some curtailed due to ethics violations, so we don’t lose anything by electing a capable new Representative.

Alyse will work for a strong economy and jobs with adequate pay and good working conditions. With her background in business, she understands what it takes to encourage a thriving, diverse economy. Alyse will represent all parts of Alaska. She has traveled to many villages and areas all around the state to meet people, ask questions and has heard the serious concerns people have in the areas of affordable healthcare, good education, and safety and security. These are important to all Alaskans.

It is also very important to me that Alyse will always be appropriate and respectful in public appearances. She is an effective, qualified person, an ethical candidate, and not beholden to any outside influences: an Alaskan candidate focused on Alaskans! Vote for her on Nov. 6.

Lani Raymond

Seaton knows his job

I take delight in people who know what they’re talking about, and who love what they do. Listening to Paul Seaton talking about working in Juneau as our representative was a real delight. And an eye-opener. Many of the subjects he discussed were intricacies of our history and our current processes, struggles and successes that I am not very familiar with. I was able to learn because he shared not only detail and process but history and future in his assessment of each issue, with honest, humble and direct information accompanied by his own thinking, clear and open for all to see. I was amazed at how deeply knowledgable and conversant he is on all aspects of what’s happening in Juneau — the inner workings of our state government. It is clear that he uses information and a listening ear to provide deep, straightforward response and representation.

As a non-partisan representative, Paul Seaton is a nuts and bolts kind of guy — quietly bringing Alaskans together to figure out what’s best for all of us — not trying to score points for one “side” or the other. I hope you’ll vote for Paul again this year. He’s the real deal.

Carol Ford

Learn about Stand for Salmon

If you are uncertain about how to vote on our ballot measure 1 Stand for Salmon Initiative on Nov.r 6 because you’ve heard so many conflicting opinions, you’re not alone. Here are a few basic, unassailable facts to consider when deciding your vote:

1. Our Stand for Salmon Initiative has been modeled after a highly successful Minnesota salmon habitat protection policy and has received input and guidance from Alaskan commercial and sports fishing organizations, a wide range of tribal leaders, long-standing recommendations from our Alaska Board of Fisheries and has received support by over 40,000 Alaskans from every legislative district.

2. The organizations that are funding the effort to defeat Ballot Measure 1 are a few out-of-state-based petroleum and mining companies who’s primary goal is to maximize their near-term profits and who have no vested interest in protecting our renewable salmon resources which annually generate over $2 billion worth of revenue, $744 million worth of taxes and provides over 30,000 direct Alaskan jobs and several times that in indirect jobs.

3. Ballot Measure 1 is a permitting policy that is designed to provide guidance for infrastructure and other projects that will allow construction projects to proceed while at the same time protecting our critical salmon habitat. 4. Oregon, Washington and California, which did not have salmon habitat protection, have lost 95% of their salmon habitat spawning grounds, which has crippled their salmon fisheries, and are now being forced to spend billions on habitat restoration. On Nov 6. please vote “yes” on Ballot Measure 1 in order to protect our critical salmon fisheries and industries.

Taz Tally, Ph.D, environmental geologist

Help salmon thrive with Ballot Measure 1

How is protecting fish habitat threatening Native Alaskan’s way of life? I think it’s the opposite. I think they want to have their turn at abusing natural resources and get lots of money. They don’t understand the devastation. They think there’s more than enough land and they can trash it if they want to, like the White man has. There are a lot of White people waking up to what we did wrong and want to protect our fish which is food and life for many. The president of Doyon says roads, dams and wastewater facilities would not be possible under Measure 1.

I think we have the technology to build a culvert in a stream that allows a road to pass over and fish to pass under. I’ve seen a dam that allows for fish to pass on the sides. Can’t we figure out how to treat wastewater without polluting our streams and oceans? We can take a little extra care to have a healthy environment. Isn’t it worth it? Washington and Oregon are spending millions trying to rehabilitate previously mismanaged habitat. Alaska can save millions by mandating responsible development and help salmon thrive.

Lela Ryterski

Seaton works hard to create consensus

In the House District 31 race there may be some confusion among voters, or those considering whether to vote. Some feel that government is grabbing their PFD and some that the under funding of schools and public safety are greater threats. And most feel that the animosity of the most extreme viewpoints in the House and (especially) the Senate are tending to exaggerate both possibilities. It is great to stand up for what you feel strongly about, but there comes a time when those who cannot work together are the problem.

Perhaps you are undecided or not familiar with the candidates’ voting record or statements. Paul Seaton, the incumbent, has a lengthy history in the House as someone who works hard to join differing points of view. He has been a prime mover in creating a consensus with a majority of the House members from both Republican and Democrat Parties. They generated solutions; the Governor supported them, and militants in the Senate essentially vetoed them.

I think we should look to Paul Seaton to protect the PFD and keep the State working. His abilities will be a central driver to bring the politics of the State to work toward a common goal. Steve Gibson

Steve Gibson

Love = Hospice

When one hears the word “hospice,” one thinks of death. Death is a taboo subject and very uncomfortable to talk about. When my grandmother died, I felt lost, not knowing what to do. Grief is hard and it makes you take a hard look at yourself and your own mortality. So, it is no wonder that hospice can make those unfamiliar with it, uncomfortable.

The part of hospice that people don’t usually think about is love. Love is just as much a part of hospice as is death. For we give our loved ones and pets that are dying the love and comfort they need at their most vulnerable time. Hospice reminds us that we are not alone, that in this battle of loss and grief, there are others who understand and hold space while we mourn.

November is National Hospice Month. To change the view of hospice, I am starting a social media campaign called Love is a Movement. I am asking for people to share a story of love for a loved one or a pet that has died. If interested, come by Hospice of Homer between 1 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 24. We will film you telling your story of love. Biddy’s Fund, a nonprofit created to start pet hospice in Homer, and Hospice of Homer will share these stories online.

This is not about how they died but about how they lived. This a reminder for those experiencing grief or the loss of a loved one, you are not alone. For those who are experiencing grief for a pet, Biddy’s Fund will have a pet loss support group at Hospice of Homer at noon on Oct. 24.

For any questions, you can reach me, Morgan Laffert, at Biddy’s Fund on Facebook.

Morgan Laffert

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