Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Nancy Lord is a brilliant and compassionate person.

I appreciated her letter to the Editor last week and she is so correct with her facts.

Carole Hamik, Homer

Homer Food Pantry needs your help

The Homer Foundation David & Mary Schroer Grant generously gifted the Homer Food Pantry $1,000 in 2021. This funding augmented the costs associated with providing fresh, frozen, and canned food for approximately 130 households per week, or an estimated 500-700 people per month. The Homer Food Pantry depends entirely on grants of this kind to meet the needs of Homer residents who face food insecurity.

Each Monday at the Homer Methodist Church, our food pantry provides over 1,000 canned goods, hundreds of loaves of bread, and bushels of fruit and vegetables to those in need. We spend $2,000-4,000 each week on food and emergency assistance expenses. We are running low on food to give and money to buy food. We need your help. Donations can be dropped off at the Methodist church on Mondays or online donations can be made at www.homerfoodpantry.org. If you’ve exceeded your giving for the year, please think of us next year.

Homer Food Pantry board members Jessica Shepherd and Thomas McDonough

What Sarah didn’t learn in the Bible

So Sarah Vance has a degree in Bible studies? Didn’t she learn that when Jesus chose disciples from fishermen, he sided with the poor. He didn’t choose the wealthy few. He didn’t carve out special waters where only they could fish. He didn’t bequeath hundreds of acres of the planet in perpetuity to the wealthiest while they violated God’s natural order as Sarah Vance’s HB 52 does. No, that wasn’t what Christ proposed.

Yet Sarah pushed on in the dying minutes of this year’s Legislature. Sarah’s last legislative breath was to try and attach her HB52 (that gave her buddies exclusive rights to the grounds) to a bill that had a fair chance of passage.

I smell a fish here and not a very Christian one. Vote for a real fisherman, a Bristol Bay driftnetter — Louie Flora — not some politician peddling pinks and parcels under the table.

Gordy Vernon

No legitimate public need to amend existing conditional use classifications

Ordinance 22-68 is being considered by the Homer City Council on Oct. 24. It proposes to convert the following conditional uses to permitted uses in the Central Business District and in many other zoning districts as well: greenhouses and garden supplies, group care homes, assisted living homes, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities.

It also proposes to arbitrarily add a radical new provision which would allow, as a permitted use, up to four buildings on a lot. This use is clearly more objectionable than uses currently permitted outright.

In order to accommodate the additional buildings, maximum lot coverage requirements are also being substantially increased, which alone would have devastating impacts on surrounding properties and the community as a whole.

The problem at hand lies not with erroneous classification of conditional uses but with the failure of Planning Department staff to objectively review conditional use permit applications and recommend either denial or appropriate conditions for their approval. The proverbial fox is guarding the henhouse and the hens are rapidly disappearing along with critical building setback areas, yards, and other green spaces.

Nefarious legislation like Ordinance 22-68 coupled with the dearth of zoning code enforcement is why the City of Homer is rampantly developing as if no zoning code had ever been enacted.

The existing conditional use classifications are reasonable in all respects, have the presumption of validity, comport with the goals of the Comprehensive Plan, and there is no legitimate public need to amend them. The citizens of Homer should attend the October 24 public hearing and demand that Ordinance 22-68 be voted down in its entirety.

Frank Griswold

Most important legislative issue

Really Vance? You think the most important legislative issue facing Alaska in the next years is rank choice voting?

Let’s have a representative from District 6 in Juneau who has their priorities straight. Let’s vote in Flora for fiscal and legislative responsibility.

Thanks to the Kachemak Bay Branch and KBBI for hosting and sharing the candidate forum.

Abe and Kiki Abrahamson, Anchor Point

Education would be at risk!

There are many reasons to vote NO on Ballot Measure #1 to open the Alaska Constitution, and as a mother and grandmother I believe the education of our children would be placed at risk if we open the Constitution.

Special interests want to change parts of education funding in the Constitution. Presently, children are guaranteed the right to a public education, and public funds may not be directly used for private or religious education. With changes, children could be denied the right to a public education, money could be used for religious education, and instead of the state having a part in funding schools, local governments might have to carry the entire load. And it’s important to me that without state funding, there would be no state standards for education — the only standards would be on a local level, totally different from district to district, and could disappear altogether.

Right now, we must not weaken our children’s education system. Our districts are struggling because they face reductions in funding (due to extremely high inflation coupled with years of flat funding, for example), and the pension system does not encourage Alaskans to choose teaching as a profession nor encourage good teachers to come to Alaska. And very importantly, at the present time, many students are struggling due to the impact COVID has had on their education the last few years.

Don’t put our children’s education at risk: vote NO on Ballot Measure #1. If there are changes you think should be made in our Constitution, use the amendment process, which has been used successfully 28 times since statehood. Our kids are the future of Alaska, and we should not risk opening the entire Constitution and jeopardize their education!

Sandra Garity, Homer

Refuting arguments against the constitutional convention

Most of the fearful emotionally driven “vote no” objections to an Alaska Constitutional Convention (Con Con) are easily refuted. For instance:

It’ll cost too much! Answer: Even a $6 million per year expense for several years is a drop in the bucket for Alaska’s multibillion dollar budget. It has pissed-away multiple times that in numerous ill-conceived and disastrous projects and continues to do so on various social programs administered through government entities providing marginal social return.

Dark/outside money will rule! Answer: The slightest move of any Con Con delegate, whether knight, knave or fool, will be scrutinized to the enth degree by an army of suspicious stakeholders looking over his/her shoulder. A proposal would achieve success only if its benefit is perceived as universally beneficial.

Passion will overrule principle. Answer: Passion is a passing phenomenon. In a deliberate, methodical multiyear process passion will quickly get bored and retire from the scene. Those with deep-seated convictions will stay the course.

Everything will be up for grabs/If it ain’t broken! Short answer: There are a number of vital issues requiring urgent review. Regardless, proven bedrock values (rule of law; one person, one vote, etc.) will endure.

Legislators will dominate the Con Con! Answer: Not if utilizing the Town Hall format, allowing a broad spectrum of individuals too present their credentials as well as their unique insights and solutions.

The fundamentalist will attempt to dominate the Con Con! Answer: Or the progressives may. It’s time to blend religion with modern anthropological science because, depending on your perspective either God or Nature, the moral code for human existence on this earth proceeds from the same SOURCE: The common theme of every human is our shared nature; each is composed of the same ingredient — stardust (carbon).

Larry Slone, Homer

Cognitive dissonance

Two recent letter writers questioned the information I have provided about the potential hazards of the COVID-19 vaccines. I’m sure these letters were well intended, but the writers may be suffering from cognitive dissonance about COVID-19 vaccine hazards. Cognitive dissonance occurs when someone’s established belief system is challenged by newly revealed facts. People tend to respond by rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding new information, in order to cling to their existing beliefs.

These individuals can attack the bearer of bad news if they wish, or they can hide their heads in the sand like an ostrich to avoid new information, but every week there is more and more bad news coming out about universal COVID-19 vaccination. Whether it is last week’s announcement from the surgeon general in Florida advising against vaccination for men under 40, this week’s news that 8% of those previously vaccinated needed some form of medical assistance after getting the shot, or whatever next week’s bad news will be, there appear to be serious problems with these vaccines that the public hasn’t been properly informed about. Maybe this explains why very few people are choosing to receive the latest COVID-19 boosters. So far only 4% of those eligible have chosen to get them. I guess that means 96% of the country has a better grasp on reality than our two local ostriches.

Greg Sarber

Annual Rotary health fair returns

The Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay invites the entire community to participate in the 39th annual Rotary Health Fair. We are particularly happy to announce the return of the in-person health fair, which will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Homer High School.

Those attending will be able to enjoy entertainment, demonstrations, and training; get a free flu shot; walk through Nolan the Colon inflatable colon to learn about colon cancer — and more. Free health screenings that will be available include vision, blood pressure checks, grip strength, mobility, speech, swallowing, and memory. You’ll also be able to review the results of your blood draw with a medical professional.

Please note, however, you will not be able to get your low-cost blood tests done at the Nov. 5 event, which is a change from past health fairs. Those discounted blood draws are happening now from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday through Nov. 4. Appointments are required and can be made by going online at rotaryhealthfair.org. You also can get a free flu shot when you go for your blood draw.

The discounted blood draws are an important part of the health fair because they’re a great way to check in on your health. You can visit rotaryhealthfair.org for test descriptions or more information. You also can call the Health Fair Hotline at 907-399-3158.

Rotary is proud to continue this community tradition. It wouldn’t be possible without our partnership with South Peninsula Hospital, a dedicated team of volunteers, the fair exhibitors, and — most importantly — you. A heartfelt thank you to the entire community for your support.

Kim W. Zook, President, Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay

Voting for judges

The other day I had the opportunity to learn how judges are evaluated for retention. I knew the Alaska Constitution required a vote of the people for sitting judges, but I didn’t know anything about judges.

State law requires the Alaska Judicial Council to evaluate each judge for retention and to give voters information about judges’ performance. Our Alaska Judicial Council is a model for 25 other states because of its transparency, engagement, and fairness.

Judicial retention elections are non-partisan. Judges standing for retention do not run against anyone; instead, they run to retain their positions.

Members of the Council are citizen volunteers who come from different areas of Alaska. Three are non-attorneys who are appointed by the governor, and three are attorneys appointed by the Alaska Bar Association. The chief justice of the Alaska Supreme court serves as chairperson. The Alaska Constitution provides that council members be appointed “without regard to political affiliation.” The Council meets for a whole week four times a year and members serve for six years. The members believe that anyone who comes before a judge should get a fair shake from a quality judge.

The Council evaluates judges on integrity, legal ability, impartiality and fairness, judicial temperament, diligence and administrative skills, and overall judicial performance. The Council uses many methods to collect information about judges’ performance in these areas, including surveys, questionnaires, record reviews, public hearings.

This year there are 29 judges up for a retention vote. All 29 have been evaluated and get a YES vote. Keep in mind that it’s detrimental to vote NO because you don’t know the judge or don’t like judges in general. ‘Also fill out the whole ballot.

View Performance Evaluation at: http://www.ajc.state.ak.us/retention/current.html

I feel confident about voting for judges now that I know.

Cathleen Rolph, Soldotna