Letters to the Editor

Thoughts from readers like you

Re-elect Castner

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” —Peter F. Drucker

If one were to take the time to review a list of contributions that Ken Castner has provided our community, many would be astounded, if not embarrassed. For decades Ken has invested a great deal of a full spectrum of resources to enhance the quality of life here. That reveals the true heart of this man.

To create an environment where critical thinking cannot be escaped, and current conventional practices can be challenged, allows for a more substantive debate and results in better outcomes. It may not always be comfortable, but comfort is the creature of complacency.

Ken has successfully brought front and center to our city council a number of issues that have freed up millions of dollars, and that will save city residents, collectively, millions of dollars — and he’s just getting started.

Ken is not a good mayor — he’s a great one. The results speak for themselves, and he’s right where the city needs him. He’s a keeper in my book.

Heath Smith

Vote ‘no’ on Proposition 2

The average voter turn-out in the last four elections on the Kenai Peninsula was 23%. Or, looking at it in another way, 77% of the Kenai electorate did not vote in the last four elections. The low voter turn-out for borough elections is a problem if we want to move forward as a borough and want input from the majority of voters. What can we do to encourage more voters to vote? This October we have an opportunity to make voting turn-out numbers increase.

Voting by mail has proven to be safe and secure. If you look to our neighbors in the north, Anchorage has been doing vote by mail since 2018 and they have seen an overall increase in voter turn-out. And heck, we will still have voting polls to go to if that is your preferred method to vote so you won’t be denied what you already have. Voting by mail just gives the voter more ways to cast their vote.

I am voting “no” on Proposition 2 this October, so this ordinance will not be repealed. Voting is not easy and making it more accessible to more people is a great way to encourage more voters. And let’s face it, the way we have been doing it has not been bringing that many voters to the polls. Every voice matters — please vote and let’s increase voter turn-out.

Alex Koplin

Covenant would violate First Amendment

On Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, Bill Tener wrote an opinion in The Homer News about his personal Christian beliefs and urging an American Covenant with God.

Such a covenant would violate the the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits establishing a state religion. All Americans can practice their personal faith or no religion at all.

Many nations have state religions (Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.) where Mr. Tener might not be able to preach Christianity. In America, we can choose our own religion or no religion at all.

I don’t share Mr. Tener’s belief that plagues, famines, and pestilences, come from the lack of a Covenant with his God. Instead, Let’s make a covenant with each other to lovingly share our wonderful country.

Diana Conway, Halibut Cove

Hospice thrives after 35 years

In September 1985 a small notice in the Homer News announced a meeting to start a hospice program in Homer. I went to that meeting and met Jean Hatfield who wanted to start the program. That meeting produced a small group of us who became the first board of directors for the organization now known as Hospice of Homer.

I would like to say a most heartfelt thank you all of the wonderful people of Homer and the surrounding communities who have worked so hard over the past 35 years as employees, volunteers (the backbone of any organization) and those who have donated funds to make that dream of ours into the reality it is today.

Thank you.

Marilyn Dugdale

Happy birthday to Hospice

Thirty-five years ago this month I put a notice in the Homer News looking for community members who were interested in developing a hospice program in Homer. Five people responded, we met for our first meeting, and Hospice of Homer was born.

I was inspired to start Hospice of Homer due to my experience caring for my mother-in-law in Maryland. Near death in the hospital, she was given 24 hours to live and was discharged into hospice care at home, which was her desire. She lived four weeks longer than anticipated, and I am convinced it was because she was in her own home, surrounded by the love and care of her family and friends, her favorite music and the plants she had nurtured for so many years. When she finally passed away, we were comforted by the knowledge she had lived her last days as fully and as comfortably as possible, and as she wanted.

Hospice was there to answer all of my questions and to give me guidance. I had never cared for a seriously ill person before. What was I supposed to do? What if I were the one who was with her when she died? What could I expect? I was scared, depressed, uncertain about my feelings, and under the most constant pressure I’d ever experienced in my life. A few times I was certain I would go crazy from the strain. Was it normal to feel like this? Hospice gave me support and someone to talk to. Hospice gave me relief. Those few hours when a volunteer relieved me so I could leave the house and go for a walk, get a breath of fresh air, or do errands were what enabled me to go on caring for my mother-in-law when I thought I couldn’t do it a moment longer. The caring, sensitivity and support of the hospice organization helped me to maintain my peace of mind and I am very grateful.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our amazing community for helping Hospice of Homer become the thriving organization it is today and for continuing to help so many people including myself when my mom passed away in 2008.

Jean Hatfield

Castner has integrity

I have always felt that a person in leadership needs to love our town, and want what is best overall for the city. Personal agendas should be put aside. Integrity is critical.

I believe that Mayor Ken Castner is one of those people. He has saved the citizens of Homer hundreds of thousands of dollars, starting with the Enstar contract. He is always looking out to make sure that the money spent is legitimate and is well spent. He has the ability to read difficult and laborious financial statements, and see the money trails which is critical and not many people can do that.

We can not afford for Ken Castner not to be Mayor of Homer in these difficult times we are living in.

It is imperative that you get out and vote for Ken.


Shelly Erickson

Re-elect Lord and Venuti

Please join me in voting to re-elect Rachel Lord and Caroline Venuti.

Both women have served Homer well. They are always prepared, creative, solution driven, thoughtful, respectful of their colleagues and always willing to listen to differing opinions.

Remember too that there is an election for borough mayor.

You can vote now. Whether you are a city or borough resident you can go downstairs and vote absentee in person (I call that early voting) at Homer City Hall, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday until election day Oct. 6..

Angie Newby

State ballot changes were political

All the chatter, articles, and editorials about the Department of Elections changing the ballot for the November election have missed the point. The point is the last-minute timing. This was a purely political decision. And it’s highly unlikely that a lower ranking Department of Elections employee made the decision. Those types of decisions are made at the top level.

The decision was made more than a month ago, but the candidates were never notified. Instead the State of Alaska spent taxpayer money and sent the ballots off to the printer. Then at the last minute when it was too late to do anything about it, the candidates were finally able to see what the ballot looked like.

The timelines for pre-election day voting were too near to print the correct ballot. This likely weighed high in the court’s decision to let the edited ballot stand. What could they do? If they determined that the ballots needed to be re-printed, important deadlines for mailing out ballots would be missed. They were under a rock.

Do they disenfranchise voters by shrinking the time period for mail-in ballots or force the administration to do the right thing? You can’t move the election date. This was purposeful and political and done by the ones in power who will pull out all the stops to stay in power.

Mike Byerly

Why you should vote ‘no’ on Proposition 2

The content of the Hybrid Vote By Mail system was developed by a group of citizens from around our Kenai Peninsula Borough (the Election Stakeholders Group). This group spent lots of time, held many meetings, utilized public input, and finally recommended adopting the vote-by-mail hybrid, which allows for in-person voting as well as voting by mail.

The assembly passed the resulting Ordinance 2020-24 on June 2 with a vote of 6-3. There was a motion to reconsider that vote on June 16, but it lost by a vote of 6-3, so the ordinance stood.

Mayor Charlie Pierce vetoed the ordinance on July 6. The Assembly then overrode his veto on July 7 with a vote of 6-3. Again, the ordinance stood.

But then in spite of popular support and the fact that our duly-elected borough assembly voted to pass this ordinance three times with a significant majority (6-3), a petition was filed to overturn it.

The majority of people in the borough want this ordinance; the assembly voted in favor of it three times, even defeating a mayor’s veto.

Vote “no” on Proposition 2 to stop this ordinance from being overturned. It was fairly passed, three times.

Lani Raymond

Some suggestions on voting

Early voting for the Oct. 6 municipal elections has begun. I hope you will consider the following.

I voted for incumbents Caroline Venuti and Rachel Lord for Homer City Council. Both are qualified, and with a new city manager in place and several vital programs and projects in gear, including the disposition of federal CARE Act funds, their experience is vital. Don’t change horses in midstream.

Donna Aderhold should be our new city mayor. She is a team player, an important attribute for the “face of the city.” Her tenure on the council has afforded her the perspective and experience to be a highly effective mayor.

Linda Farnsworth Hutchings is my choice for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor. She is more qualified than incumbent Charlie Pierce, who has been a divisive force in the borough. Hutchings, a conservative, is committed to education, affordable healthcare and small business. She is the better choice for the municipality’s chief executive.

Lane Chesley is the only candidate running for the Assembly District 8 seat. Chesley is more than ready to serve on the Assembly.

The critical issue facing the borough is Proposition 2, which was placed on the ballot through the efforts of a small group of poorly informed petitioners. I cast and urge a “no” vote.

If Prop 2 succeeds it would undo the ordinance creating the Hybrid Vote-by-Mail system voted into existence by the Assembly earlier this year after a lengthy public process that demonstrated overwhelming support for the idea. Voting by mail has been used successfully in six borough precincts for more than two decades, with no voter fraud. It expands voting opportunities for everyone. The ordinance does not eliminate early or election-day in-person voting. It is not set to take effect until next year.


Hal Spence

Breath is not lethal

Awaken, Homer friends.

Many of us are being duped into believing that we are walking bio-hazards, that our breath is lethal. This is a delusion being perpetrated, for control.

The novel coronavirus has been hyped into a hobgoblin of gargantuan proportions by media’s billionaire owners, who have long since lost any empathy with people like you and me.

We are not all lethal threats to one another. Happy autumn.

Tod Tenhoff