Letters to the Editor

Thoughts from readers like you

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

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 CARES 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.

Sincerely,

Hal Spence

Prop 2: Yes for the best

Ordinance 2020-24, as passed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, encourages mail-in voting in an effort to provide more access to voters. But more convenient access should never be encouraged at the price of a less-secure option. As far as security and accountability go, voting in person at numerous polling places is the best method we have — period. One can claim mail-in voting is secure, but whether it’s true or not doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t as secure as voting in-person at polling locations.

I’m asking voters to please consider this before you vote. A “yes” vote will repeal Ordinance 2020-24 and will keep the voting system in place that encourages the most secure method of voting.

Thank you.

Leonard Miller

Yes on Prop 2

Voting “yes” repeals what was sold as making elections more accessible. The reality is they already were. The “hybrid” system that was touted already existed. Any individual who would like to request an absentee ballot could do so for any reason, including the ones that exist today during the pandemic.

If you look at what has happened since Anchorage instituted the vote by mail it has not had a statistically significant effect on overall participation and has only cost them more to conduct their elections.

Mailing out ballots to every person on the voter rolls each election is wasteful. The state does not purge those rolls effectively. And if, I say if, we get a 40% turnout and half of those vote at polling places on Election Day, then 80% of those mailed ballots go to the landfill.

Adding to this, the borough wants to remove the pro/con statements from our voter information packets. This seems counter to informed voting and is a step backwards. Good explanations need to be provided with ballot measures and propositions.

Vote yes on borough Prop 2.

If they want to expand vote by mail then just make it something an individual can enroll in as their chosen way of voting. Simple and way cheaper.

Heath Smith

Support Aderhold forHomer mayor

Anyone who runs for office at the municipal level generally has good intentions, and works hard to represent their communities as they see them. I support Donna Aderhold, as I feel she will represent a broader cross-section of our community. The mayor is not the last word on discussions. Their role is better served when the council freely discusses the matters they each feel are pertinent for the city.

Donna has a great diversity of knowledge from North Slope issues to local ocean issues. I believe she will run a meeting that will cenourage a great deal more participation.

Jack Cushing

Division of Elections ballot timing calculated

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 Division 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

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

Republican supports Kelly Cooper

I’m a lifelong Republican supporting Kelly Cooper for election to the Alaska Legislature. Why? In the fall 1974 I relocated to Juneau with Republican Gov. Jay Hammond as his administrative assistant tasked with recruiting and vetting Alaskans to serve in cabinet level positions in his administration. Hammond was clear about the criteria to be applied in his appointments. The no. 1 criteria was integrity, followed closely by proven experience and ability to do the job, and political party affiliation was several notches down the list.

Applying these important criteria to Kelly Cooper, I am convinced Kelly is the right choice. She has stellar integrity as a person, a neighbor, a business owner and operator, as a Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member, and just three years ago was the Woman of Distinction, based on a multi layered review process by citizens from all walks on the Southern Kenai Peninsula.

Kelly raised her children in our public school system and has a deep appreciation for the many challenges we all face as we ensure our education system, from kindergarten to community college levels, continues as a priority to strengthen all aspects of our economy. In our current challenge with COVID-19, Kelly has demonstrated a deep commitment to knowing what tools we have to keep our businesses and schools open and our health care system on an even keel.

When it’s time to negotiate hard line positions, Kelly is at the table with those who agree with her, but more importantly, she’s at the table with those who disagree with her. She’s there to listen, learn, ask questions, listen some more, and then emerge with workable solutions. Kelly sees the big picture and people with differing ideas deeply respect Kelly Cooper.

Please join me in voting for Kelly Cooper for the Alaska House of Representatives.

Doug Baily

Kachemak City: a city that cares

South Peninsula Haven House, specifically Homer Thrift, recently received funding from the Kachemak City CARES program. This wonderful gift has allowed Homer Thrift staff to purchase the necessary personal protective equipment to continue to protect staff and community members. We are doing everything possible to support our communities on-going efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

Due to the Kachemak City CARES program, Homer Thrift was able to purchase facemasks, hand sanitizer, gloves and proper disposal supplies to keep patrons and staff safe. These items are available for all staff and patrons that arrive without their own personal protective equipment. Everyone that enters our doors will have access to hand sanitizer, and if you didn’t bring a mask, don’t worry, we have one especially for you.

For those shoppers who are not quite ready to venture out, but need something, just call and ask for Liz. Liz and her staff are happy to shop for you. They will take payment over the phone and you can arrange for pick-up.

We want to support all of you during this time of uncertainty. We are all in this together and know that Homer Thrift is following best practices as outlined by the CDC and will continue to follow these practices to keep everyone safe.

Kachemak City is truly a city that cares.

Thank you.

Ronnie Leach, Executive Director, South Peninsula Haven House

Don’t worry about foreign influence

We have been told that “foreign” entities are, once again, attempting to interfere in the 2020 general election in the U.S, with the aim of influencing the result.

Should we be worried?

No.

Firstly, influence is not the same as actually changing the result. There has never been any evidence of widespread ballot stuffing, vote stealing, computer hacking to change results or any other comic book scenario.

Secondly, there are hundreds of individuals and organizations trying to influence how you vote. Always has been. That’s what elections are all about, especially in this country where the campaign season ends only to restart immediately. No matter how pervasive or persuasive the appeals, you still get to decide which oval you fill in on your ballot.

And thirdly, these days there’s only one source that influences an individual’s thinking — our Dear Leader. No matter what he says, a person will either hear “an ominous threat to our democracy” or “crazy cattle kaka.” There is no longer a large clatch of “undecideds” needing to be swayed. That group is as extinct as the dodo.

We hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see. We look for and find evidence for what we already believe. There is very little anyone can do to change another’s firmly held opinion, prejudice or belief. A creationist cannot make an evolutionary biologist accept intelligent design. An atheist will never be persuaded that God exists. A 9/11 truther will always believe it was an “inside job.” Some are totally convinced that J-words control Hollywood and international banking.

So, foreign interference in the upcoming election is not as great a danger as we are being led to believe.

But, don’t let my opinion influence you.

Benn Levine

Student appreciates LFI Scholarship

Dear LFI Scholarship Donor,

Thank you so much for providing me with $500 from this scholarship to take scuba diving lessons. I am so grateful for this opportunity and what experiences this will allow me to do in the future. In mid August I headed to Fairbanks for a week of instruction and completed my scuba certification. The course consisted of three pool sessions and two open water sessions. I was able to do everything according to the plan, which allowed me to finish in five days.

I am now certified in open water diving and dry suit diving. This was an amazing opportunity. I am incredibly grateful that I was able to take this course. Thank you for making this possible. My next goal is to get equipment. I love scuba diving and I will do it often in my future.

I know that this will most definitely expand my opportunities and help me become a marine biologist. This will give me a jump start and allow me to start scuba diving earlier in college. I will also have many more opportunities to participate in potential research in college and recreation dives. Thank you very much,

Sincerely,

Parker Lowney

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