Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Jan. 21, 2021.

Letters to the Editor

Where we are headed

Dear Editor,

There are only two kinds of people in America right now.

1) People who are celebrating their political opponents being purged from social media.

2) People who have studied history.

Respectfully,

Greg Sarber

Give him the boot

Gov. Mike Dunleavy continues making decisions that prove he is unfit for office. Begin with closing the Homer DMV (and others). The DMV in Homer is making a profit. Homer is growing. Homer is becoming a retirement community with many senior citizens who find driving 150 miles round trip to Soldotna a serious danger to their safety especially during winter months. Many citizens lack access to internet services. Did Dunleavy reach out to local elected officials before making this decision? Nope. If the services are privatized, the company (a Dunleavy friend?) will be able to take that $333,921 profit and spend it where? Is it to fund Dunleavy’s campaign coffer?

Another poor decision is to overturn the ban on Jet Skis in Kachemak Bay. This is a political decision with no valid evidence and runs against recommendations provided by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists. Thousands of comments from members of the community, visitors from around the country, small business owners and the City of Homer are being ignored. He has decided in favor his special interest friends.

Another poor decision was recently announced about stripping Alaskans of their right to keep water in wild salmon streams. Dunleavy decided that his special interest groups will still get to take water out of the streams and hold the rights to these streams. Fortunately, the Alaska Constitution prohibits such a poor distribution of Alaska’s resources and he and his cronies will be challenged in court. How many times has Gov. Dunleavy been sued? How much state money is being spent to cover the costs of his poor decisions?

There are more examples of his incompetence and malfeasance. He needs to be removed from office. Go to https://recalldunleavy.org/ or call 1-866-SIGN4AK to “Give him the boot.”

Patricia Cue

400,000 have died

Thank you, Sarah Vance, for vocally supporting the Tutka Bay hatchery and the Cook Inlet fishing fleet.

I have a question or two. Why do you think you are representing Homer when you still refuse to wear a protective mask? Are you not really caring at all about our community?

Why, Sarah?

I think a good many of us would like to hear your reason.

Sincerely,

Carole Hamik

$5,000 PFDs?

The math doesn’t add up. It subtracts.

I don’t think Dunleavy is that dumb.

He just counts on you being that.

Don’t dumb levy the Permanent Fund.

Don’t you recall lies of super-sized PFDs with no budget cuts in the past?

Recall the big liar.

Gordon Vernon

Vaccine clinic was excellent

I wanted to say a huge thank you and huge well done to everyone involved in the recent vaccine clinic. Planning, execution and workers’ attitudes were excellent. Thank you.

Mike Treesh

A community event like no other

I am compelled to give a heartfelt shout out to all who worked to pull off the event of hope with the first COVID-19 community vaccinations. I hesitate to identify who was responsible for orchestration of such a monumental undertaking for the chance of overlooking a person or organization. Be it known that we benefactors are eternally grateful, appreciative and inspired by all who were part of this community event.

With the welcoming, “can do” attitude portrayed by the organizers and participants a sense of relief and pride was evident. In the past year, amongst our politically charged COVID-19 battle, I’ve noticed a divisiveness and anxiety of spirit manufactured by our isolated social media presence. This felt like a direct salve for the true, personable, authentic community in which our small town thrives.

So, with a lightness of heart and spirit, I drove away with a new understanding, the reason why we have all chosen to live here. It’s the people and the resilience they possess which make this a place to be admired, revered and honored. We are truly fortunate to be alive in this place and time. A job well done.

Tim Daugharty

Re: proposed closing of DMV

The Homer News headline “Dunleavy proposes closing Homer DMV” certainly drew my attention.

A budget identifies expenses, prioritizes needs, identifies sources of revenue and attempts to get it to balance.

Many services such as law enforcement, fire protection and road maintenance do not generate money. We pay for these via taxes, state owned resources sold or leased, and fees to offset costs.

The Homer Division of Motor Vehicles office generates more money than it costs to operate. The same is true for other communities the governor has identified to be closed. Haines did not break even with a small loss of $968 in 2020, an amount that could easily be offset by DMV’s generating more than they cost to operate.

We are required to have a license to drive, license the vehicles we drive and demonstrate that we know how to drive. A nearby convenient location to accomplish this is an obvious need.

The impact on the community residents in all the communities would be severe. Many must take time off from work or school just to get in line at the DMV. If the DMV in Homer were closed the nearest one would be in the Kenai/Soldotna area. Instead of taking a couple hours, a whole day or more would be needed. People needing drivers’ tests would require transportation to and from the facilities and incur the added expenses of driving back and forth and time away.

Closing the DMV in Homer, Eagle River, Tok, Delta Junction, Valdez and Haines would both decrease revenue to the state and inconvenience residents considerably. Why it is even being proposed is very disturbing.

Michael E. Murray

Thank you!

I could not be more proud of South Peninsula Hospital and the city’s collaborative effort on all things COVID-19. Having been one of the very lucky ones to have received a vaccine on Jan. 15, my husband and I witnessed a truly well orchestrated process that only intensive planning and hard work can produce.

It was heartwarming to see staff from SPH and the city, right along with retired health care volunteers, Rotary members, people from the Homer Fire Dept., Parks and Rec. Dept., and others who stepped up to the plate to help make this event as smooth running and efficient as it was. Everyone was prepared, efficient and super friendly. The venue was perfect, parking was plentiful and convenient, there was no wait and the shot itself was quick and expertly handled. I didn’t feel a thing. The second vaccine was scheduled before we left. What a totally positive experience. It gives us great confidence in our local healthcare venues and supporting city leadership. Thank you to all of you. It was phenomenal.

To see the many faces we haven’t seen in such a long time made this whole process one we will remember always. We look forward to seeing you in February.

In the meantime, we wish all of you continued health and safety. All of you deserve to be very proud. You did an amazing job. Thank you, thank you.

Rika Mouw

Vaccine delivery a big success

Kudos to the South Peninsula Hospital staff and the small army of health care volunteers who did such a fine job organizing and executing the vaccine clinic for those 65 and older this past weekend, and thanks go to Christian Community Church on Bartlett Street for hosting the event. The online registration for the clinic was intuitive, straight forward and easy.

Friday morning, I arrived early and was first in line to receive my COVID-19 Moderna vaccine. I was very impressed with how well prepared, organized and informed the clinic staff was. Everyone with who I interacted was professional, friendly and clearly eager to make this clinic accessible, inviting and low stress. Thanks to having access to the spacious areas offered by the Christian Community Church there was plenty for room to spread out for check-in, vaccine delivery and post delivery monitoring.

There is even an app, which you can easily access via QR scanner on your smart phone while you are in clinic, that allows the healthcare staff to check in with you to monitor any post vaccine reactions and keep you informed and reminded about your second vaccine shot, which will be delivered one month later on the weekend of Feb. 12 and 13. In addition to receiving the much-needed and highly welcomed vaccine, one of the nice side benefits for attending the clinic was being able to visit with people who I had not seen for many months. There were many smiles all around.

My many thanks to all those who made this vaccine clinic happen and in such as terrific fashion.

Taz Tally

A closer look at the numbers

In Leonard Miller’s letter to the Editor in the Homer News, he thanked voters for repealing the hybrid vote-by-mail law that the Borough Assembly passed in 2020, referred to as Proposition 2 on the ballot. In his letter, he implies that voting in person is the most efficient way to run elections. But voting in person is only one way. You can also vote absentee (by mail), fax or on-line delivery and if you have special needs, you can get more accommodations. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, we have been doing vote-by-mail in remote areas for over 20 years. Five states have been doing mail-in voting for a number of years. Anchorage has been doing it for the past few elections. Voting by mail is secure and safe. What isn’t secure and safe is misinformation.

Leonard said that 60% of the voters were in favor of repealing Prop 2. In reality, that 60% of the people,was based on a 28% voter turnout. So out of 51,761 registered voters on the Peninsula, only 8,460 voted to repeal Proposition 2. That is a little less than 17% of the total registered voters on the Kenai Peninsula.

Let’s have honest conversations about voting, so that we can all support a system that is fair and secure and makes voting easier and we can get more people to vote.

Alex Koplin

Homer and other Alaskan communities are fortunate to have Al-Anon

Many of us have friends and family members that suffer from the disease of alcoholism and addiction. Homer is fortunate to have Al-Anon meetings twice a week on Zoom, and there are many other online and phone meetings available throughout Alaska. Al-anon is a program for friends and families of alcoholics and addicts, and it helps members to learn how to live rich and happy lives, whether the alcoholic or addict is still using or not.

Sometimes, by getting the help we need, by accepting the realities of the disease and by focusing our attention on improving our own lives and character challenges, we can aid those suffering from the cunning and baffling disease of alcoholism. If you would like some information on this truly remarkable program of self-help and self-improvement, visit www.al-anon-ak.org for a schedule of online and phone meetings throughout Alaska and an introduction to this free, non-religious program.

Forty percent of our members are referred to Al-Anon by local professionals, and many of us have found peace and serenity though Al-anon, one day at a time.

Susan Houlihan

Thank you for vaccine clinic success

Dear Folks Who Helped with the Covid Vaccine Clinic for Seniors,

Thank you.

I took my 93-year-old mom to the Christian Community Church for her appointment. She was a little apprehensive about getting a fast tracked vaccine and leaving her lockdown bubble. Like most of us, her heart was heavy watching recent news events, hearing troubling reports from friends afar, and realizing people just like her were suffering from COVID-19 in huge ways, all over the world.

Well, leave it to Homer, Alaska.

Each person she encountered greeted her with a huge reassuring smile. She was whisked in and through in no time flat. The needle was tiny. She didn’t notice the short wait after (to ensure she had no reactions) because the local doctors visited with her like she was an old friend. The Fire Chief happened to be walking her way and pushed her wheelchair to the car.

Homer’s Senior Vaccine Clinic, with every detail finely tended to, restored her hope in the world. Thanks for that shot in her arm.

Sue Christiansen

Murkowski helps advance clean energy in Alaska, nationwide

Energy is a critical economic driver for Alaska. Innovations in clean energy in particular are helping secure a more sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy future for all Alaskans. From increasing development of renewable energies to investing in energy efficiency and grid technologies, modernizing Alaska’s energy infrastructure will help power a stronger economy.

That is why it was so encouraging to see Congress pass the Energy Act of 2020 as part of the omnibus spending bill that was signed into law late last year. Representing the first major clean energy innovation package passed by Congress in more than a decade, the Energy Act of 2020 will invest in clean energy, grid modernization, battery storage, and more.

Alaskans should be thankful to have a leader like Senator Murkowski representing our interests in Washington, D.C. She not only helped lead the effort to include the Energy Act of 2020 in the omnibus bill but was also responsible for around 10 provisions within the legislation. By working to advance bipartisan, commonsense energy solutions, Senator Murkowski is helping Alaska’s energy industry continue to find innovative ways to meet our state’s unique energy needs.

While passage of the Energy Act of 2020 was critical, there is still much work to be done to strengthen and modernize our energy infrastructure—here in Alaska and in the lower 48. Senator Murkowski’s leadership and support of Alaska’s energy industry should serve as a model for Alaska’s entire congressional delegation.

Gwen Holdmann, Director, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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