Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Oct. 15, 2020.

Letters to the Editor

Thoughts from readers like you

How is it?

How is it we live in the largest state with the most resources with the second smallest population, and we have so badly mismanaged our finances? Answer: We continue to vote in Democrats/RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who just want to spend. And when the revenue stream cannot keep up, their answer is taxes, more taxes. Prop. 1 has already been tried, remember? No, you don’t. Thank you, Gov. Sarah Palin, for the history lesson. It was our responsibility to remember it. And yet, here we are, again. Vote no on Prop. 1 in the state election, for our future.

Our spending level has gone up every year since at least 1992, irrespective of revenue. We need folks who will stop spending like drunken sailors, who will stop lying to the voters about their ideology affiliations and who care about Alaska’s future. I keep seeing those “support our teachers” signs. Huh? No, we need to support our children. Stop throwing them, and their future, under the bus.

Stop with the nonsensical “critical race theory,” 1619 project, BLM curriculum, social/gender engineering and start teaching facts/data/science/biology and the truth about the American idea. Cut public school funding and implement vouchers/choice. Simple. Works.

Beware anyone calling themselves an “Independent.” No such critter. Just code for Leftist. Vote out folks who support the nonsensical “mail-out ballots.” More room for more fraud, taking us in the wrong direction. Vote no on Prop. 2.

Here’s an idea for budget cutting, a lesson from COVID. Our reps don’t need per diem, just Zoom. That way, they stay where their constituents can look them in the eye, and we save money.

How is it half of Americans are eager to throw away liberty for Marxism? Answer: public schools. I lived through the 1950s/1960s when the struggle was to integrate. Now, cities are burning to segregate. Vote Trump for justice.

Duane Christensen

Full PFD = big budget cuts

I get it that promising a full 1980s formula Permanent Fund Dividend and no new taxes is the easy way to attract voters. But as Alaskans, we need to know what these candidates plan to cut and what effect that would have on people and the economy. It is a sign of incompetence to make these promises without a plan on how to pay for it.

A full PFD without new taxes will require a slew of new cuts. Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his backers in the Legislature saw no problem slashing the budgets of the University of Alaska, the Marine Highway system, health care, senior services, road services and more. They didn’t have to figure out how to provide services without money.

It is up to us to elect people who understand how budgets affect lives, that state money leverages federal money, and that as the state grows, services must also grow, and with them the state budget. All of us love checks in the mail and no taxes. But if we want to be a state that attracts large and small businesses and supports healthy families, we need a representative prepared to work to make that a reality.

Kelly Cooper has municipal legislative experience with budgets, communicates with borough residents and understands the importance of working across party lines to figure out how to make government work better. Elections are our opportunity to make changes. I encourage all voters to check out Kelly Cooper for State House from District 31.

Sincerely,

Lynn Takeoka Spence

Abbott family is grateful

We want to thank the many people who reached out to us after our brother Findlay Abbott died on Aug. 17. We appreciate the EMTs, the Homer Police, and Jane at the hospital; Jeff Lockwood for his Standing Ovations tribute; relatives who helped; and the dozens of his friends who stopped to give their condolences and tell us stories.

For those who would like to post a story, go to www.findlayabbott.website. That will take you to a site so you can sign in and add your thoughts.

Gratefully, Findlay’s five sisters:

Gretchen, Becky, Phoebe, Melissa and Meg

Cops pleased with new station

The new Homer Police Station was officially opened for business with a ribbon cutting ceremony last Thursday. We’ve been in the new building for a few weeks now. It’s a fantastic police station and we are incredibly pleased with it. Unfortunately current events prevent us from opening up to the public for tours at this time. We hope to have a virtual video tour on line very soon. I firmly believe this building will serve the needs of our community for decades to come.

Over the past several days I’ve been reminiscing about the long path we travelled to get the station approved and built. It started almost seven years ago when Mayor Beth Wythe got behind the idea and pushed it forward. Since then there’s been building review committees and task forces and meetings upon meetings. The idea blossomed into a project and the project into reality.

Support for the project has been almost universal; very few people voiced opposition. The Police Department and I would like to thank all of the people who contributed to helping make this a successful build. They are far too numerous to name. Many people served on the committees and task forces. Our mayors and councils were all very supportive, the building crew was largely local and top notch, city staff was great and above all, the community support was outstanding.

Thank you, Homer

Chief Mark Robl and crew

Little Fireweed Academy thanks outdoor classroom builders

“If you build it, they will come”… and learn. Now more than ever, Fireweed Academy is living up to its famous adage, “No Child Left Inside!” as it takes the learning outdoors.

In the Fairy Forest classroom, Kinders weave their way down the magic staircase leading into the forest to write in their nature journals. The Ladybug Forest classroom is alive with the happy sounds of scientific inquiry. In the popup tent classroom, students engage in nature art utilizing the school garden for its beautiful art supplies. The Campfire classroom is a great place for morning circle. And the newly completed Pole Shed classroom, thanks to local builder Jerry Frederick, is the perfect space for taking the learning outside. COVID times call for creative outdoor learning spaces and Little Fireweed Academy is stretching into its local forests and reimagining the school yard to accommodate small groups of students outside learning in the fresh air.

The success of these outdoor learning spaces is in large part due to the energetic and enthusiastic volunteer efforts of many hands. Community members, Fireweed alumni students and parents, and this year’s parent group have showed up with weed whackers, mowers, paintbrushes, sanders, hammers, ladders and nails to help grow the school’s outdoor classroom options. Local businesses have donated time and materials to help provide these classrooms with wood round seating, waterproof sit upons and drawstring “go kit” backpacks with all the tools of a student “outside and on the go”. Moving students outdoors is a great idea and this is the right time for this great idea. The Little Fireweed school community is grateful to all the many who have joined together to make these outdoor learning spaces a reality.

Kim Fine, for Homer Outdoor Learning Initiative

Veterans appreciate support

907VETS Inc. appreciates the ongoing support and encouragement of veterans and family members, community members, businesses, and other veterans organizations. We are excited to announce that we have achieved nonprofit status, received our IRS 1023 letter, and applied for our Kenai Peninsula Borough tax exemption cards. We will continue to offer essential services and support to Alaskan veterans and families.

We would like to thank Joe and his staff with H.A.V.E. for networking to fund and coordinate two charter boats out of Homer in July. The event provided time for veteran camaraderie and an experience for 12 veterans of 907VETS Inc. Veterans expressed gratitude for the time spent together. As one said, “Most fun in decades; couldn’t have been blessed with better company.” We appreciate the captains and crew who willingly participated, along with veterans, with COVID-19 screening.

We appreciate Lois, Disabled American Veteran VSO, a member of 907VETS Inc. for meeting and assisting local veterans with VA benefit paperwork; and Best Western Bidarka Homer manager Francis Kneedham for providing a room for a confidential meeting on short notice.

We wish to express our appreciation to LazerPrint, working under COVID-19 restrictions, taking the time to review the draft and redesign the 907VETS Inc. brochure/pamphlet.

Thank you, Homer veteran Evangelina Briggs, co-owner with her veteran husband Dave of the Truffle Company in Homer, for mentioning the efforts of 907VETS Inc. It is inspiring to hear our outreach efforts are helping veterans get the essential services they earned through service to their country.

Bob Stark, Director, and Bob Hickman, Associate Director of 907VETS Inc.

Mayoral candidate appreciates community support

Thank you, Homer, for the support and love you have shown me during our local campaign season. Your phone calls, text messages, visits in yards and on trails, social media posts, and more have demonstrated the compassionate and caring nature of our Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea. I have been walking on a cloud since Election Day because of all the support I have received.

Thank you for voting in our municipal election, where every vote truly counts. Our elections would not be possible without the dedication and attention to detail of our Homer City Clerks, the election workers who staff the polling stations on Election Day, and canvass board that meets to count the absentee, special needs, and question ballots and certify the election results.

Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our representative democracy and it takes the dedication of election officials and voters to keep it that way. I look forward to continuing to serve you on city council.

Donna Robertson Aderhold, City of Homer mayoral candidate

Open letter to Ninilchik

Something was lost on Tuesday, Oct.6. Something not tangible. Something ephemeral. Something that most voters didn’t realize they lost.

How does one describe it? Maybe it is spiritual which makes it hard to pinpoint. The only way I can describe it is to look back in time. I came to Alaska in 1964 when the Kenai Peninsula Borough was formed. I came to Homer to teach for just one year and am still here after 56 years. I found my place here. There was little government interference in lives. We had an income tax and a school tax. There wasn’t even a police department in Homer. It really wasn’t necessary. People took care of each other. The old cliché, “We are all in this together,” was truly applicable.

The “Last Frontier” has slowly eroded away in the last 56 years. That is the order of things I guess. But still, sometimes we must recognize what is lost and lament it for a time.

I was involved with the Ninilchik Emergency Services for almost all of its 40 years of existence. Maybe that is why the vote to terminate the private service in favor of Borough control was a disappointment for me. I know what we have lost. We have turned over our lives to the government. We have asked the government to take care of us. We are saying that we can no longer take care of ourselves. “Please, government take care of me.” That is the only way I can describe it. To me it is sad.

We are a democracy and the people have spoken. So we will carry on. For some of us, though, we have lost something important.

Steve Vanek, Ninilchik

Thanks to Grace Ridge for OPUS support

It was a bluebird September day in Homer, youth ensemble music was on tap, and a local business’ incredible generosity were the order of the day. In fact, true to Grace Ridge Brewery’s commitment to community, the generosity lasted all month. The Homer OPUS board wish to thank the owners of Grace Ridge Brewing Co., Sherry and Don Stead, for donating their September tips to our youth string programs.

This tremendously thoughtful gift will help pay for operating costs of our school-based programs, Fireweed Frescoes and Paul Banks Preludes, and our community-based program Homer Youth String Orchestra Club. We deeply appreciate Don’s and Sherry’s commitment to contribute to Homer’s nonprofits, enhancing our quality of life in Homer.

“Building a stronger community by creating music together.” Thank you, Grace Ridge, for helping OPUS achieve its mission.

Sincerely,

Lyn Maslow on behalf of the OPUS board

Not much gained from ‘debates’

To tell the truth, not only do I object to using the term “debate” to describe recent political spectacles we have witnessed from those vying to become our top national leaders, but I seriously doubt that there is much to be gained by putting forth the expense and effort involved in staging further of these so-called “debates” among the current political candidates. Inflicting such non-edifying performances upon the public is simply punishing the American people further in a time of so much difficulty for all of us.

Not only the rule of civil discourse, but any relationship to honest traditional debate as it is meant to be practiced have, in my opinion, been completely absent from the remarkable spectacles of these last weeks on both sides of the political fence.

In a long-ago past, I joined my college debate team in order to begin to learn the basic elements of expressing and defending a position on points of discussion likely to come up in a democratic society. Subjects such as the development of nuclear weapons, ongoing participation in national and international organizations, the usefulness of trade agreements, equal pay for equal work, the correct use of public funds, etc. were the kinds of subjects we were called upon to debate. Being able to understand and articulate pro and con arguments on any proposed course of action was considered a basic skill to be developed in order to learn to work together in the democratic process so as to arrive at consensus for action. Debates could become heated, and passionate positions were often forcefully expressed, but lack of civility would quickly throw you and your team out of the game. In college debate competitions, teams actually exchanged positions after a first round of discussion. Those arguing “pro” a given position, now were required to argue “con” on the same issue, and so forth — a tactic which helped develop the ability to examine an issue from more than one perspective. The national “debates” we are witnessing have none of these characteristics and in my (debatable) opinion, serve no purpose other than to dishonor and discredit the entire democratic process upon which our country’s government is intended to rest.

Yours truly,

Carol R. Dee

Don’t attack people for wearing masks

When Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing could save lives in the hospital setting it was the middle of the 19th century. Centuries before that there was anecdotal evidence that hand washing could save lives. During the Black Plague Jewish people died at a much lower rate because of their religious ritual of hand washing. Despite these obvious indications of the benefits of hand washing, when Dr. Semmelweis pushed for instituting hand washing to save lives, he was shunned. He left the medical profession a broken man and died in an insane asylum.

Fast-forward to today and you can see a similar situation, in my opinion, in mask wearing. Despite scientific and anecdotal evidence that masks help slow the spread of diseases that are spread through the air, there is great animosity shown toward those who advocate for wearing masks and those who choose to wear masks.

Recently I learned of an experience a friend had while wearing a mask in an indoor public space. A person screamed at her for her mask wearing and after going off on her stormed out of the building without giving my friend a chance to respond. Earlier this summer a person without a mask on walked into a local store that required masks. When an employee approached the customer he said, “I don’t wear a mask, but I do carry.” No doubt these folks are unabashedly bragging about “standing up to big government” and “protecting their freedom.”

Someday, people won’t think twice about putting on a mask during a pandemic. In the meantime, I will ready myself for the attacks that may be directed at me when I wear a mask and focus on keeping calm and not escalating the situation.

Charlie Stephens, Kenai

Not forced to vote for Trump

When does an opinion become irrelevant?

Quite simply, when it’s b******t.

We are living in extraordinary times, and I suppose it’s only natural that some find it fitting to use extreme language and outlandish metaphors to describe them. The irony laden in Mr. Martin’s letter published Oct. 8 is that the very president he is being “forced” to vote for is not-so-subtly encouraging these metaphorical bayonets to manifest into a very real militia of voter suppression and intimidation. “Might see support from the far right?”

Forty-five has given rise to the foulest of scum this country previously pretended it had rid itself of. White supremacists proudly wear his words — “Stand by” — frothing at the mouth for an opportunity to ignite a second civil war. His supporters have plotted to kidnap a governor and blatantly murdered peaceful protestors in Kenosha. This is a bleak reality that supersedes metaphor. Property doesn’t breathe or bleed. Burn it down. Yes, Black lives still matter.

Aside from the obvious absurdity that our only choices are now, and all too often are, two very old and very creepy white men, I am of the opinion that it is far more absurd, and in fact dangerous, to continue to lift up deeply misdirected voices like that of my compatriot here. Let us not underestimate the power of language. An editor’s job is to weed out the psychobabble. I can only hope you’ll print this in an effort to balance the scales.

Tara Findlay

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