Michael O'Meara's cartoon for the Oct. 29, 2020, issue.

Letters to the Editor

Thoughts from readers like you

Homer fishermen supporting Dan Sullivan

The F/V Challenger and F/V Captain Cook are small boats home ported in Homer that commercially fish the waters of Alaska. As the owners and operators of these boats we have supported and raised our families from our back decks and have learned the challenges of being small business owners. Our families’ way of life and livelihoods depend on well managed and sustainable fisheries without overly burdensome regulations. Sen. Dan Sullivan has spent the last six years in Washington, D.C. fighting hard to keep Alaska’s fishing industry strong while working across the aisle to improve it.

When Sen. Sullivan was running for his first term he came to Homer and promised to listen to our needs and fight for Alaskan fishermen and coastal communities. From day one in the senate he came out swinging and his record shows that he has not backed down. The Senator and his staff fought against overly burdensome Coast Guard and DEC regulations, they also introduced and passed a provision requiring seafood to be included in all future trade agreements for the first time. Dan and his team worked to ensure fishermen were included and funded for disaster declarations, COVID-19 relief packages and USDA Trade AID. These are just a few of the many accomplishments he has achieved for Alaska’s fishing families.

Throughout his time in Washington D.C. Dan Sullivan has proven to be accessible and he and his top- notch staff have been responsive to Alaska and the fishing industry’s needs. Dan has been a champion for the fishing industry as a whole and us small boat coastal community fishermen in particular. Given the many challenges facing our industry, Alaska needs someone who has a proven track record of protecting our livelihoods and Dan Sullivan is that man.

Malcolm Milne, owner/operator of the F/V Captain Cook since 1994; Matt Alward, owner and operator of the F/V Challenger since 1992

Mail-in ballot makes voting safe, easy

With a national election fast approaching I have been impressed with the efforts of Alaska’s government and various groups to make it possible to vote. Programs like “Talk of Alaska” provided call in opportunities to answer questions. Opportunities to read about and listen to candidates express their views and platforms have been shared.

With the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic my spouse and I decided to apply for and use a mail in ballot. We found the advantage also gave us a chance to read the informative brochure the state mailed out about candidates, issues, and judges and have it handy to review while filling out the ballot.

While I personally prefer the on site physical activity of voting, I just didn’t want to risk the possibility that illness or other unknowns might interfere with voting. You can still vote early or you can vote in person on Election Day. So be sure to vote.

Don’t forget your mask and distance. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Vote.

Michael E. Murray

Support Biden-Harris, Gross, Galvin, Stevens and Cooper

As a non-partisan who studies candidates and issues carefully, I vote for candidates without regard to party. I reserve my votes for individuals I believe will listen to all constituents and perspectives, study issues in depth, educate the public with factual information, and develop policies based on the best available information for the greatest community good, with equity and sustainability in mind.

This year my votes go to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President, Alyse Galvin for U.S. House, Al Gross for U.S. Senate, Gary Stevens for State Senate District P, and Kelly Cooper for State House District 31. The histories of each of these candidates indicate they are thoughtful, curious, knowledgeable, and empathetic to the experience of workaday people. The wellbeing of Alaska and Alaskans — our economy, our small businesses, our health during a pandemic—depends on our votes during this election. I encourage you to vote on or before Nov. 3.

Donna Robertson Aderhold

Vote Cooper

Hey Alaska Lover,

If you’ve been alert to the Draconian cut backs in our state to our children’s education opportunities, the devastation to our Alaska University system and the Marine Highway system, you are probably experiencing disillusion and hopelessness; but wait. There is an answer and a way for you to make a difference with your vote for Kelly Cooper, a candidate for State House, District 31. She is running on an independent ticket.

Kelly is a resourceful, competent, knowledgeable woman with current experience on how government works, what the needs are and best ideas on how to meet those needs. Being independent gives Cooper a wide range of creative response to building our economy and developing a sustainable fiscal plan.

For several years I worked with Kelly on the Chamber of Commerce board and noted her talent of listening (really listening) to all sides and comments on an issue. She gathered the essence of the wisdom of all and then crafted a unique course of action for which every board member could promote. I was impressed. Kelly’s intelligence and abilities to create solutions for the greater welfare of all Alaskans is the awesome potential here.

We are so fortunate to have a smart can-do experienced candidate willing to do the vital work as our representative, independent of being beholden to any but the wellbeing of us, the citizens and lovers of Alaska.

Make a difference. Vote for Kelly Cooper.

Karen Cauble

Three reasons to vote ‘yes’ on 1 – the Fair Share Proposition

No. 1) To get a PFD (a bigger PFD, or even any PFD in the future) you’ve got to go back to making Exxon, Conoco and BP pay for oil they take out of Prudhoe Bay. The state can’t pay oil credits to these companies, bankroll PFDs and provide schools, ferries, roads, elder care, courts, prisons, fish and game …

No. 2) We tried the promise — Senate Bill 21, the promise of more jobs more oil production, more revenue — it hasn’t worked. After five years we’ve got 5,000 fewer Slope jobs, less oil flowing through the pipeline and we pay them more than we take in production tax. Prop. 1 takes it back to a 10% tax, minimum. In Palin’s time it was 35%. In North Dakota it’s 36%. In Norway it’s 78%. Conoco drills there.

No. 3) While Conoco has worked the legislature to reduce the share they pay, the dividends Conoco pays its shareholders are 168% of the 2016 dividend. During the same time the PFD check has gone from $2,072 to $992 — less than half. Embedded in Conoco’s financial reports is the stark statistic that 68% of their worldwide profit last year came from operations in Alaska.

I’m a Conoco shareholder, but I’m an Alaskan first. Now we don’t need for them to treat us like Norwegians (where they have free health care, free college and a permanent fund 20 times as big as ours that they made in half the time), but they have to play fair, follow the rules. Ever since SB 21 cut oil taxes, the state has has been strangled for funds. Now Exxon, Conoco, BP and Hilcorp are mounting an $18 million ad campaign to keep the tax they pay at the bottom of the barrel while the oil flows out of state. Raise the production tax to 10% — nothing near Palin’s, North Dakota or Norway’s tax — vote Yes on 1.

Gordy Vernon

Trump is the safer bet

Although Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” political philosophy resonated with voters in 2016, since then he’s been largely ineffective in furthering his agenda. The primary reason is because he’s clueless about the cooperative process required to govern a nation. He doesn’t understand that the country’s bureaucracy is unable to respond adequately to uncoordinated and unvetted 4 a.m. stream-of-consciousness Tweets. In a sense that’s good. Although Trump’s worse impulses have him regularly bumping up against institutional guardrails, they remain effective safeguards because he hasn’t figured out how to dismantle them.

Joe Biden, however, with almost 50 years of legislative and executive experience is a seasoned politician. His election would severely threaten the concept called United States of America.

That’s because he’s agreeable to court-packing the Supreme Court to reconfigure it into an instrument of political cronyism. And if the Democrats also take the Senate it’ll unleash the party’s radical leftists. They’ll demand a vast expansion of federal jurisdiction, using the enlarged bureaucracy to institute revolutionary and destabilizing social change within the nation’s institutions, further fracturing the family unit, marginalizing the churches, ceding control of the nation’s cities to mob rule, reducing state sovereignty and surrendering the nation’s borders to potential mass migration by any or all of the world’s seven billion people.

Lastly, although Trump acts bellicose, talks offensively and doesn’t mind knocking a few protestor’s heads together, he clearly has an aversion to engaging the nation in unnecessary war. Biden wouldn’t have the mental or political independence to resist the influence of future warmongers. Trump is the safer bet —- better red than dead!

Larry Slone

Pass Prop 1, Fair Share Act

Proposition 1 is a good start on funding dividends and worthy state services. Oil giants will spend millions to undo the cost. They will fight hard to continue credits now used to reduce production taxes. Each of the three now have credits worth $300 million annually. Naturally they will keep fighting after the election. The present legislature and governor may help them.

Changes will be made by them. We need to do other things to cut cost of government programs. Eliminate the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and put the core programs in the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Game — fewer jobs and fewer buildings. We should take a serious look at the state authorities and corporations that were created in lush times just as the permanent fund was.

Unlike that fund, these funds have not faced the music of cuts to state programs. Starting with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the Alaska State Housing Authority, we can eliminate eight or 10 of these and put their better parts in the Department of Commerce. Lay folks off and sell the buildings — we can’t afford them now. Altogether they hold as many billions of dollars as the Permanent Fund without adding the Earnings Reserve account which is being steadily spent down because it is easy to get to.

We can make a smooth transition from low payments from the three big oil corporations and high cost of allowing continued excess expenditures by the many state “quasis,” those being a dozen semi-independent authorities and corporations living on our money. Bottom line should be to deposit half of everything we get back directly into the Permanent Fund. In the Fund lies the promise of a more stable economy: with schools, public safety, roads and dividends for all.

Larry Smith

Your vote matters

Whether you are calm, overwhelmed, angry, bored or any combination of emotions, during this exciting current voting season, it is time to buck up. Please hone in on your most focused, mature and attentive mind set. Then decide who, of the candidates running for office, best represents your deepest desire for our future as a state and nation. Then hold that thought and go vote.

Please don’t fritter away your obligation and your right to elect the people who make decisions effecting all of our lives.

Please participate in this important election. If you have not already voted by November 3rd, please go to your polling place and cast your ballot.

You, your voice and your vote matters.

For any questions about how to vote before Nov. 3, feel free to call your City Clerk’s Office. In Homer that phone number is 235-3130.

Kate Finn

Vote ‘yes’ on Ballot Measure 1

Alaskans are once again faced with a ballot measure to increase taxes on the oil industry. Backers of the initiative argue that Alaska is not receiving its fair share of the wealth that is rightfully ours. Gov. Jay Hammond explained, “When I was in office, the state, the oil companies, and the federal government, agreed to split the oil wealth pie roughly one third, one third, and one third.” Initially it worked , but by 2004 the oil industry had lobbied changes to the agreement that reduced Alaska’s share to roughly 19% and increased their share to 53%.

This is our second attempt to recover some of what is rightfully ours. In 2014 voters believed oil industry arguments that promised three benefits to the state for not increasing their taxes:

• Increased investment in the discovery and development of new oil fields,

• Increase in the volume of oil flowing through the pipeline to 1 million barrels per day, and

• Maintaining and protecting the jobs of Alaskans in the oil industry.

None of these promises were kept. Immediately after the election BP cut 475 and more followed. Pipeline throughput decreased and promised investments decreased.

Oil industry arguments today are the same as they were in 2014. Why would we believe arguments that proved to be false then? Why would we trust those who made promises in 2014 that were not kept? Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 1.

Bill Hall, Anchorage

In defense of our heritage

By 1920 Man O’ War was renowned as a champion racehorse and it was becoming increasingly difficult to find challengers. When the owners of a close competitor withdrew their horse from the Lawrence Realization Stakes, in order to promote the event it was announced Man O’ War would be allowed to run the race unrestrained by his jockey. Man O War won the 1-5/8 mile race by more than a quarter mile and set a world record that wouldn’t be broken for 36 years. He’s one of the greatest racehorses of the 20thcentury.

But Man O’ War’s talent was not easily developed, in fact came with considerable difficulty in his pre-race years. Trainer Louis Feustel stated that at times the stallion, “Fought like a tiger. He screamed with rage and fought us so hard that it took several days before he could be handled with safety.”

“Feustal brought the colt along slowly and gradually settled him into a regular routine” (Wikipedia- “Man O’ War”).

In the upcoming national election it’s my wish that those committed to the defense and protection of our constitutional republic and laws which govern it will win by huge margins. It’s an election which will reveal our resolve to the work of maintaining a balance between healthy submission and robust independence, a balance Feustal sought in training Man O’ War. In our republic we can be exceptional in our efforts and be rewarded as long as we submit to laws based on Judeo-Christian principles. That’s our heritage.

But I won’t always get what I’d like, so will try to remember Louis Feustal and Man O’ War when I’m in challenging political situations with someone who shares a common concern for people and this country but disagrees with my political philosophy. I’ll try to “bring them along slowly,” the way I’d like to be treated. I believe Man O’ War’s potential as a champion racehorse was most effectively advanced through the method in which he was trained.

If we cease to care for those who disagree with us politically the enemy wins.

Leonard Miller

Vote ‘no’ on Ballot Measure 2

Ballot Measure 2 should fail on its face for combining two entirely different components of elections in one question. No voter should be faced with two issues in one ballot question. It does not allow for the merit of the individual issue to carry the vote.

Case and point is that much of what is advertised on this ballot measure speaks to the “dark money” issue but completely ignores the fundamental change to the election process should it pass. Please vote No on Ballot Measure 2. Send a clear message that conflating such issues is bad form. As an electorate we expect better thought out ballot measures that don’t allow dramatic changes to be lost in unrelated debate.

Heath Smith

Open letter to Gov. Dunleavy, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Rep. Young

Citizens of all political parties have become fearful of the possibility of electoral chaos, voter intimidation and suppression and the prospect of weeks of uncertainty following Nov. 3, partly due to the coronavirus, mail-in voting and due to statements made by the administration. Since the foundation of the Republic, Presidents have accepted the will of the people as expressed by the vote. It is unprecedented to have a President who refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if the vote doesn’t go his way. Some of us are concerned that he will stop the vote count and manipulate the outcome.

The right to vote and to have our votes counted is enshrined in the Constitution and is fundamental to our democracy. Every vote must be counted. Every voice must be heard.

We call upon Gove. Dunleavy, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Rep. Young to publicly commit that every vote will be counted and that they will uphold the Constitutional right of each person to vote and have their vote counted without interference.

Respectfully,

Susanne Ratcliffe Wilson, Ginger Bryant, Art Koeninger, Roy J. Wilson

An open letter to Don Young

I am a 79-year-old nonpartisan voter who has been in Alaska since 1967, living in Dillingham, Koliganek, Kenai, Soldotna, Anchorage, Kodiak and Homer. I am appalled by the behavior of the current Republican Party. The party used to treat people with respect and integrity, working in a bipartisan manner to solve our country’s problems. Now it is party first, country and its citizens not as important. That attitude will destroy us. I have never been so fearful of the demise of our democracy.

I was appalled that you labeled the Democratic Party as socialists when you were in Homer. That is an example of the problem. I should then label the Republic Party as fascists. That is equally productive.

Catherine McCarthy

City appreciated for keeping HERC open

Thanks to Homer Community Recreation, the City of Homer and the Homer City Council for keeping the HERC open got recreational purposes. As a 72-year-old resident, and an avid Pickleball player, I appreciate the opportunity for safe, indoor activities. As one who’s also concerned with COVID-19 cases in our community, I appreciate the extra steps the City has taken to keep us safe while playing indoors — the additional commercial fans, hand sanitizers and outlined protocols.

Janie Leask

The Great Misnomer

On Oct. 17, an African American man was attacked by radical extremists. He was peacefully demonstrating in the streets of San Francisco when several white individuals assaulted him, knocking out several of his teeth and permanently destroying his dental health. They called him the n-word while they did it, a classic sign of racial hatred.

That man was Philip Anderson, and while the media may have conditioned you to expect he was attacked by one of the white supremacist militias they keep fear mongering about, he himself was a Trump supporter — and the racists attacking him were aligned with antifa.

Members of antifa will often claim that membership in antifa does not exist, that is just an action you take against fascists. While antifa does take hostile actions against fascists in the United States on the rare occasions they show up (the KKK and the Aryan brotherhood have around 2,000 and 15,000 total members each according to the FBI), the overwhelming majority of those they take action against are not racists or fascists.

According to people who call themselves antifa, fascism is essentially anything to the right of American liberalism. It is the belief that borders should exist. It is opposition to socialized healthcare. It is the belief that all humans of all races and sexes are equal, so we should not penalize people of one race or sex to benefit people of another. It is the belief that all people should be allowed to speak their minds, that no idea is illegal and that no man or woman should be silenced for saying something that the groups disagrees with.

In short, anti-fascist is a misnomer. They do not oppose fascism — they oppose a representative republic. They oppose freedom of speech and expression, they oppose American culture, and they will commit acts of evil against those who stand in their way and they will express vital racism against those who dare stray from the set racial stereotypes they lay on minorities like Mr. Anderson.

Antifa is not anti-fascist, it is anti-American.

Robert Martin

Anchor Point seniors appreciate Homer Foundation

The Anchor Point Senior Citizens Inc (APSCI) has been working hard to keep our seniors and residents connected during this time of pandemic. Every day APSCI touches base with community members to assess needs and work hard to find solutions. Since the full closures in March, APSCI has provided thousands of pounds of fresh fish, produce, fruit, and more to the community at no charge every week and the kitchen has been busy with providing takeout meals.

APSCI would like to publicly express our thanks and appreciation to the Homer Foundation for their generous financial support. We are particularly thankful that the Homer Foundation has reached out to support APSCI as a neighboring agency of Anchor Point. Networking draws our communities closer and with cohesiveness comes a greater sense of security and support. The Homer Foundation has routinely checked on our agency, to ensure that we may continue to provide many services to the community of Anchor Point. For this we are grateful.

The Homer Foundation has also contributed to our fundraising efforts towards converting to natural gas. This conversion will save us thousands of dollars in heating bills over the years. This conversion to natural gas has been a discussion in our organization for quite some time and we are now on step to accomplish this. Even the pandemic setbacks will not deter APSCI from moving toward sustainability.

We are very appreciative of the support from the Homer Foundation and the community.

Sincerely,

Cindy Burns, Anchor Point Senior Center

Homer Foundation supports Bunnell

Bunnell Street Arts Center sparks artistic inquiry, innovation and equity to strengthen the physical, social and economic fabric of Alaska. We are grateful for an Immediate Response Grant this year from the Homer Foundation, empowering us to do this work. A $2,500 grant from Homer Foundation enabled us to promptly replace one of our computers. Bunnell strives to be a responsive organization that supports artists and connects isolated audiences even in times of pandemic. We aim for weekly newsletters and multiple social media publications.

In addition to producing these posts, the media computer also streamlines marketing/media/design and inventory management. It archives the documentation of all Bunnell events, and manages all art inventory of the 70+ artists in Bunnell’s retail gallery. This computer has supported one of four staff members at Bunnell Street Arts Center. With all the online demands of Bunnell operations made more intense by the pandemic, we needed this computer to maintain earned revenue through Bunnell’s online store, promote programs including Zoom artist talks, weekly conversations and online workshops.

Thankfully, with support from Homer Foundation, we promptly replaced this computer and proceeded with operations almost seamlessly. We are all fortunate for the ways Homer Foundation strengthens our community, connecting visionary donors with non-profits so we can achieve our missions, especially in times of pandemic.

Sincerely,

Asia Freeman, Artistic Director, Bunnell Street Arts Center

World Arts Fest support appreciated

The dust has settled from our first virtual Alaska World Art Festival and we’ve come up for air to say how grateful we are to all of the folks who helped make the festival possible. Our core team included finance manager Linda Gorman, graphics/marketing/web developer Debi Bodett, Zoom technician Cathy Stingley, and me.

Our stunning literary program could not have happened without coordination by Nancy Lord and support from the Atwood Foundation. 100 performers and presenters representing more than 20 countries brought art and culture to our virtual stage this year. Our Alaskan audiences were joined by attendees from across the globe.

We are thankful for the support of our major art-loving donors and sponsors: Land’s End Resort, the Homer Foundation (Opportunity Fund), Homer Art & Frame Co, Halibut Cove Live, AK CARES, the Atwood Foundation, KBBI Radio, the Homer Chamber of Commerce, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

I am fortunate to live in a loving and generous community that embraces making global connections through culture and the arts a reality.

Thank you,

Sally Oberstein, Producer of the Alaska World Arts Festival

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