Three council members didn’t attend the June 11 council meeting, presumably because they didn’t want to cause a controversy; they “forced a meeting cancellation” (Homer News).
Here’s the controversy, and it wasn’t created by Mayor Zak, it was created by the powerful lobby against women’s health care and reproductive rights, and also by some people who seem to feel the mayor’s proclamation is a threat to their concept of what Homer supposedly stands for.
The Republicans and others have picked up the issue of abortion to beat up issues they don’t care about, no matter how unrelated it is to reproductive rights. Because Kachemak Bay Family Planning is involved in the Gay Pride Event, the proclamation failed the litmus test of acceptability by the anti-choice movement. Others have set up the litmus test of the present political situation, the election of President Trump to ideas that don’t quite align with his Republican views about LGTBQ rights and immigrants.
Come on, Americans can withstand ideas that might not gel with their own thoughts. The Homer City Council showing compassion towards immigrants or acknowledging the rights of gay people isn’t forcing Homerites to be anything they’re not. Just because Trump got elected president, and is against women’s and gay rights doesn’t mean we all have to march in lock-step, unless we want to abandon our rights and live in a fascist state. Would this controversy even exist if this was about Puppy Pride Month?
Let’s drop the litmus tests and come to terms with the fact we live in a country that supports the Constitution, which often means being tolerant of ideas we might not agree with. So wade into the next controversy, council members, and bravely perform your elected duties. Forcing a meeting cancelation isn’t conducive to the Homer City Council agenda or freedom.
Mayor did his job
Our mayor, Bryan Zak, did his job for our great city. The three council members who did not show for the meeting did not do their job.
They also inconvenienced some citizens who did their work preparing for the meeting and also others who had important input to share.
Homer has had many proclamations over the years. This was another special one that should not have been singled out by them. It deserved to be represented by a fully functioning council.
The last Susan Arnt, Annie Williams and I co-founded the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic in 1983. There was a need in this area for low-cost family planning. Our goal was to prevent unwanted pregnancies and assist the clients in need.
We were able to do this with the help of Mary Lou Kelsey, nurse practitioner, and Dr. Bill Bell. They went to the caring effort to acquire an old office upstairs in the old hospital building. The volunteers who gave their time, also helping people, wer rewarded by seeing appreciative clients.
The clinic continues to grow and assist our community by providing education outreach, low cost birth control and reproductive health care by both women and men.
Aside from happily raising our two daughters, this is one of the most positive and proudest achievements for what we worked hard for our city, Homer. Again, KBFPC’s mission is to prevent unwanted pregnancies by providing education and low-cost birth control.
Mayor Bryan Zak, thank you for your intelligent leadership.
Pride Mayoral Recognition just that — recognition
I can appreciate that Shelley, Heath and Tom might not agree with a proclamation supporting LGBTQ pride, for whatever reasons they might have — there might be many. I am, however, appalled that they would see such disagreement as cause to cancel the entire public forum that is our local government. If a contentious issue were all that was required to cancel city meetings, then we would find few meetings to attend. Council members have a microphone and ample opportunity to speak their objections throughout the course of the meeting. Stifling public comment, input and involvement in our local government in order to pretend we all agree is not what I want from my representatives. Remember, it’s just a Mayoral Recognition: A statement to give recognition to a group that has historically (and clearly still is) persecuted for being different that “normal.” Really? That’s the issue for which you want to undermine local government? Appalling.
Border family separations open old wounds among Alaska Natives
I want to express my appreciation to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for opposing the separation of families at the U.S. border and demanding an immediate halt to this “cruel, tragic” practice. I also want to recognize U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska for requesting a more deliberate bipartisan approach to this issue.
For me and for many, many other Alaska Natives, this issue is personal and resurrects old wounds. As Alaska Natives, we suffered the kidnapping of our children who were interned in boarding schools under the assimilationist policy of the United States. We as individuals and societies continue to suffer the intergenerational trauma from being separated from our families and raised in boarding schools.
When I was six, a missionary kidnapped me in Petersburg and took me to an orphanage in Haines, where I was kept for three years apart from my family. I know first-hand the despair felt by children longing for their loved ones and the terror of being a child alone. I feel my heart breaking all over again when I see children at the border suffering the same trauma today. It breaks my heart to hear their cries.
To the Trump administration, we implore you, we plead with you, to act immediately to stop this barbaric, inhumane act of separating children from their parents and guardians at the border. This practice is morally reprehensible and will become a repeat of previous horrific American Indian policies and practices to eradicate Native cultures. We are proud to be Americans, but this practice does not represent American values and ethics.
Rosita Kaaháni Worl, Ph.D., President
Sealaska Heritage, Juneau
Council service means showing up
As a citizen of Homer, I am deeply disappointed in my three Homer City Council members (Tom Stroozas, Shelly Erickson and Heath Smith) who chose not to take the responsibility inherent in their elected positions.
It is not among council members’ responsibilities to skirt around difficult or even controversial issues that come before them. As a council member, your responsibility is to be present for, and address what citizens bring to you. Then you work through the process as a council, guiding the community through as well.
If things get tough — just don’t show up? Wow, that is some egregious example for young people to emulate in a democracy — the principle of non-participation. Relationships, families, communities and nations fail with non-participation. The bully, the loud voice, the violent prevail in that environment. The council does not just juggle money. You are present for citizen’s input, you listen to all sides, you set a tone and a direction for forward movement.
This letter is not about being for or against an issue. I just want my elected council people to show up. If you can’t show up, then please do not run for re-election. There are so many other positive ways to contribute to our community.
Please know that I appreciate your work, but you can’t do it if you are not there.