Vote ‘no’ on Prop. 1
No, we do not want to pay for a new police station. We are still paying for a botched up pipeline so precariously and dangerously installed in the Baycrest Subdivision that our very lives are at risk. It is quite obvious there was no engineering report done or Enstar could never have hired a contractor to clear-cut on a very fragile eroding bluff (a contractor whose license was expired at the time of the cutting). Walt Wrede also posted a fictitious survey company online that John Sims (Enstar) told me himself they used for the survey. This is only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the lies, collusion, corruption and insulting answers to our questions when our properties were damaged to the point of becoming uninhabitable. Frankly, the real criminals in this town would never see the inside of a new jail cell.
What we really need is a new city manager (her contract expires this year) who truly cares about the residents of Homer instead of protecting Enstar and a public works department that will stop cutting and scraping off all the vegetation that is holding the soil together on the bluff.
What happened to all the money Enstar saved by the shortcuts they took and denials of responsibility for all the damage and claims they refused to pay?
Vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 1
I’ll add my voice to the discussion concerning the city’s decision to hold a special election seeking voter approval for borrowing money to build a new public safety building.
I believe the current police station should have been replaced six years ago. I volunteered to help work on finding a solution to find the best location and design for both the police and fire stations. The fire station’s shortfalls were partially addressed by the Homer City Council using available funds, but the police station costs either required a substantial grant (sorry, bad timing) or a long-term loan. The cost and funding of that last effort (up to $12 million) were decided by a divided council with the mayor casting the deciding vote.
There has never been a question about the need for a new facility. While we still have a council that is fairly split on many issues, they are unanimous in this new, more modest, proposal. Absent this time are a few of the side issues that may have influenced voters in the last failed effort: displacement of existing activities, proximity to a school, an indoor shooting range, and concerns about incorporating a well-aged building.
The time needed for designing, permitting, financing and the solicitation of construction need to be started as soon as possible to meet the 2019 construction season with occupancy in 2020. Time, as they say, is of the essence.
Please make an informed vote on June 26.
Build it now
The community of Homer has been working towards building a new police station for more than a few years. As a long -term resident of Homer and recently elected Homer City Council member, I can reflect on how far we have come towards building that vision.
I have toured the current police station and have seen the need for prisoner and visitor privacy, the lack of separate holding cells for men and women, the lack of adequate ventilation and the cramped office areas. It is pretty obvious that the existing facility is from the middle of the last century. During the tour, Chief Mark Robl explained the many ways the current building is in violation of federal laws for holding prisoners and how problematic the existing structure and systems can be when new technology is implemented. The City Council has looked at many plans with varying costs, and after extensive public discussion Council decided to fund a $7.5 million project, with $2.5 million saved from various city funds, by asking the voters of Homer to approve a $5 million bond that would raise the sales tax in the city of Homer to 4.85 percent. This would be approximately 35 cents for every $100 spent. This tax will sunset out when the bond is paid with a small tax left for maintenance. It is clear that we should move forward on this important issue. This is your opportunity to be a part of the solution. You can help our community move into the future.
I urge all voters to vote “yes” on this proposition.
Pride recognition was in poor taste
The recent declaration made by the Mayor of Homer essentially celebrating LGBTQ exceptionality, I found to be in poor taste.
As Americans we need to celebrate the “oneness” of our laws and constitution, the inclusion and identity as we are all Americans, and equal “under the law.”
When we start identifying our differences we open the door to discrimination.
I recognize that America is a diverse country and is known for its inclusion of all people within the constitution, but I do not believe in the celebration of one group over another. My religion is exclusive to me and my God and is not subject to any other.
Thanks ‘fore’ hospice support
Last Saturday, Hospice of Homer held our ninth annual summer fundraiser, Holes Fore Hospice. We would like to thank the volunteers, sponsors, and participants who made this year a joyous success. Our thanks to The Tips Golf Course and to owners Scott and Esa Woodland for their hospitality and generous support. We also thank Safeway, Baycrest Nursery, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, and The Grog Shop for their in-kind donations.
We are deeply grateful to all the community-minded businesses that support Holes Fore Hospice as sponsors. (For a list of sponsors, see our ad in this week’s Homer News). We’re excited to announce we raised almost $12,000 to support end-of-life care, the medical equipment loan program, and bereavement support.
Hospice also wishes to congratulate Dr. René Alvarez for his team’s win and Shirley Forquer for her Hole in One. Our thanks to all of the participants and volunteers who joined us on a sunny Saturday to play and to support the work Hospice of Homer does. We’re able to improve the quality of life for clients who are ill and isolated because of each of you. We thank you.
Jessica Golden, Executive Director
Hospice of Homer
Student appreciates scholarship
I would like to give thanks to the Bill and Liz Johnson Education Scholarship fund and donors. It’s always amazing to see the close-knit yet small community of Homer still have so many contributors to the education of the younger generations, and I am honored to receive this scholarship for my time in college.
I will be attending Lawrence University in Wisconsin this fall in order to study education in hopes of becoming a teacher. This scholarship is focused on students entering the educational field of study, and I hope to use this money to give back to students again in the future.
Thank you again,
Writers’ Conference another success
The Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College would like to extend its sincerest appreciation and gratitude to the many individuals, agencies and businesses whose generous grants, donations and in-kind support made our 17th annual Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference such a tremendous success. More than 140 writers, students, teachers, literary enthusiasts and readers from Homer as well as throughout Alaska and the lower 48 spent four days together sharing workshops, informal conversations, discussions, craft talks, open mics and readings. Another 200 members from the public and visitors enjoyed the three evenings of public readings at area venues. Participants left with a renewed appreciation and passion for the written word, new friends, new resources, new tools and incredible inspiration. For 17 years, this conference has fostered a vibrant literary community in our state and, as such, a strengthened understanding of the evermore critical role that literature plays in our complex world.
This highly-acclaimed, educational and cultural experience could not have been made possible without the significant contributions from many, including Atwood Foundation, Advance Printing, Alaska Airlines, Alaska Coastal Marine, Alaska State Council on the Arts, KBC Caroline M. Coons Fund, Barbara Baugh, Bay Excursions, Ravn Alaska, Eleanor Andrews, First National Bank Alaska, Friends of the Homer Library, Grog Shop, Homer News, Mary Hughes, Gary Klopfer, KBBI, Land’s End Resort, Print Works, Peter and Jo Michalski, Connie Ozer, Cathy Rasmuson, Karen Hunt, Lorrie Horning, Beth Rose, Deb Smith, Fran Ulmer, Peggy Shumaker/Joe Usibelli, The Homer Bookstore, Two Sisters Bakery, Tutka Bay Lodge, University of Alaska President’s Office, UAA’s Chancellor office and the Usibelli Foundation. Thank you all.
See you next year, June 14-18, 2019.
Carol Swartz, Campus Director, Kachemak Bay Campus-Kenai Peninsula College/UAA
‘Pride’ is anything but
To my former hometown, Homer;
I’m dismayed and shocked that your leadership would encourage and promote the destruction of our young people. Homer Pride Month, June 2018 does just that, doesn’t it?
For each participant in the rainbow flag, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, you can’t imagine the magnitude of the tears you’ll cry, the heartache and the medical expense down the trail ahead of you. Your activities’ notable increase in medical health insurance costs to all of us is probably beyond your current radar range. I can’t encourage you to get out of your activity as soon as possible. Pride? This is anything but.
Stan Welles, Sterling
I would like to thank the Homer Foundation, the Tin Roof Fund, and the donor(s) for their generous contribution to my education. I am very honored to receive the Beluga Tail Nonfiction Writing Scholarship, and I am excited to see what I can do with writing in my life. I am very thankful that there are people in this community that care about the post-secondary education of students and support us so generously. This fall, I will attend the University of Montana in Missoula to study forestry and climate change acience, and I know writing will be a important part of educating people about important issues like climate change.
I also would like to thank the Homer Foundation and the Homer Community Science Scholarship committee for their generous contribution to my future education. My love of science started in the outdoors at a young age and was nurtured through the years by great teachers and the amazing opportunities our community of Homer provides, including both the dedicated people and the environment of mountains, forests, beaches, and seas. I am so thankful that this community cares so much about the lives of young people and supports us to further our education, particularly in science.
Zak deserves praise
Last week, Mayor Bryan Zak took a step worthy of praise when he read a proclamation supporting Pride Month in Homer. That he had to perform this mayoral prerogative outside a regularly scheduled Homer City Council Meeting was disturbing and disappointing.
Council members Heath Smith, Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas claimed to have the best interests of the city at heart when they determined there was sufficient controversy attached to the proclamation that an atmosphere of confrontation was likely, and therefore a public meeting ought to be avoided. They suggested the proclamation was divisive.
Democracy is a messy affair. Sometimes issues raise emotions, even to anger. Perhaps this meeting would have devolved to that. We will never know.
Such concerns, however, are not adequate reason to have abrogated their duty to hold a meeting. Not only was it an insult to people who may have wished to testify for or against the mayor’s proclamation, forcing cancellation by declining to appear delayed other vital business before the council.
How to charge Trump?
I, Bruce Phillip Chaney, want to file charges against President Donald J. Trump for crimes against humanity. I need to know how a private citizen can go about it?
Bruce P. Chaney
Thanks for showing up
Like so many others, I am sorely disappointed in our three council members, Erickson, Smith and Stroozas, who abrogated their responsibilities by boycotting the last city council meeting. They did so because the mayor was scheduled to make a statement recognizing June as Homer Pride Month. Reasons they have given for bringing council business to a halt in order to prevent citizens from voicing their opinions at the meeting on this agenda item, which did not require their vote, are hypocritical.
The saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” warrants their consideration. It might be time for all three to consider stepping down from the council. At the very least, these council members owe the citizens of Homer an apology and to show up in support of the LGBTQ community at the Pride march on Saturday.
Thank you, Mayor Zak, and councilmembers Lord, Aderhold and Venuti for showing up and going ahead without them.
Smith et al. were wrong
On Monday, 11 June, council persons Smith, Stroozas, and Erickson decided they had to take their ball and go home. They were terribly wrong. Faced with a mayoral proclamation with which they disagreed, instead of presenting their views in council, they abrogated their responsibilities and refused to attend. Their absences did not follow protocol, and because the council was denied a quorum, the main expression of democracy in our city was shut down — a dangerous precedent.
Many of us have had to face galling defeat when our side didn’t have the votes to achieve the outcome we desired. Most of us speak our minds and get back into the fray later to try to get a different outcome. Those who don’t show up do not deserve a voice. The comments those three councilpersons made to try to defend their actions ring hollow.
One justification offered by the council persons is that people said they didn’t like the proclamation because it recognized Homer Pride Month and our LGBTQ community. Not that we are opposed to the rights of that community, the councilpersons seemed to be saying, but those people should stay out of sight and the mayor shouldn’t speak of them. Trying to have it both ways never works well, and this attempt just doesn’t wash.
Another justification offered by the three councilpersons was that they didn’t want to polarize the community or revisit “inclusivity” issues that surfaced around the recall vote in 2017. The community is divided on that issue, but when this matter arises we must refer to what has happened when Homer has voted on such issues. A year ago, Homer clearly found inclusivity to be a good thing.
Is it controversial that we all possess human rights? If so, that is troubling. I support the constitutional proposition that we all are equal. I hope we all support that. Individuals in leadership positions have a responsibility to uphold that concept, even when it’s uncomfortable. Our mayor had the courage to do that, and I applaud him for it. Unfortunately, three council persons couldn’t bring themselves to stand up for one of our most important national values.
Blame belongs on Zak
In response to Rachel Lord’s letter chastising three council members, I agree that the council represents a range of diverse opinions and beliefs and that there is bound to be dissent and debate at the table. That is where my agreement with her ends. Instead of publicly blaming and chastising the three council members, let’s put the blame where it squarely belongs — on Mayor Zak.
I don’t believe the Mayor is ignorant enough to believe that there would be no reaction to this proclamation. After all, this is part of a national agenda that fits right into the national (and local) Resist Trump movement. We saw what happened when a sanctuary city proposal was not-so-innocently introduced at a council meeting. In this event, Mayor Zak acted irresponsibly in trying to involve these council members in his public dog and pony show. A wise leader would have handled the proclamation in a less volatile way. Now ugly comments about Homer abound and who knows how much more ugliness is coming. There will certainly be time wasted. The mayor and the council should be working for unity and for the good of the community, and not for division.
Disappointed in Zak
After seeing the amount of activity on social media regarding Mayor Zak’s Pride Proclamation, I must voice my disappointment in the mayor’s leadership, or in this case his lack of leadership. I don’t believe that he or any of the Homer City Council members are so naïve that they were not aware of the turmoil this would create. Just as the council is split between conservatives and liberals, our town is also split. We must respect each other’s values and beliefs, and overall our community has that respect and works well together.
After the uproar of the ill-advised sanctuary city ploy I would like to believe that our city leaders would strive to knit our community together. Instead Mayor Zak decided to stir up trouble by joining the national activism agenda — activism that is driven by the #Resist movement.
Those in leadership have a responsibility to work for the good of the community. I pray that the mayor will do a better job of working together, on the city’s business, and not cause division as this has done.
Smith should feel shame for not doing his job
It seems that on June 11 someone harboring a lot of anger and hatred took it upon himself to enlist similar people from all over the state to email the city council regarding the mayor’s proclamation naming June Homer Pride Month, nonsensically linking it to support for abortion. Heath Smith, Tom Stroozas, and Shelly Erickson, forgetting that their constituents are Homer residents, panicked and conspired to force cancellation of the meeting, thus depriving a number of people, both pro and con the proclamation, of an opportunity to speak their minds and preventing testimony on a host of other issues. Consequently, the mayor’s proclamation was the only piece of city business executed that evening.
Last week a letter from Heath Smith appeared in this paper referring to “nefarious narratives” surrounding his absence from the council meeting. Merriam Webster defines “nefarious” as “flagrantly wicked or impious, evil.” It would be interesting to know what Mr. Smith believes is evil about proposing that he do his job. Perhaps he believes it’s wicked to suggest that forcing the cancellation of a council meeting amounts to dereliction of duty. Maybe he thinks it’s impious to label running away from a contentious issue cowardly. Mr. Smith apparently feels “labeled and shamed,” as perhaps he should for failing to do his job.
Mr. Smith claims to have “no issue with recognizing June as Pride Month,” but goes on to say that he hopes the city will learn to choose its words more carefully “so as not to strike sensitive cords (sic) that play a very unpleasant tune.” He wants to recognize June as Pride Month silently so as not to offend those haters who instigated the email barrage from outside Homer? If Mr. Smith has a plan to “recognize and honor specific groups” — in this case the LGBTQ community — “without challenging the convictions within others,” let him come to the council and put it on the table for discussion. That, Mr. Smith, would be doing your job.
Fund moves forward
The Educators Professional Development Fund began as a group of educators with two purposes: (1) honoring working education professionals on the lower Kenai Peninsula, and (2) a means of recognizing the myriad contributions and legacies left by those professionals no longer living. This will be a way to memorialize their career commitments to teaching and learning.
A third part of the fund’s purpose is to promote the necessity and importance of education to the general public. Lastly, and of interest to current educators, the fund will provide professional development opportunities to enhance and support classroom teaching.
To establish a fund at The Homer Foundation, the group committed to raising the requisite $10,000. Thanks to the many donor contributions, that goal has been met and earnings from the fund will be available for grants, albeit modest at first, to local educators in the near future. Professional development applications and guidelines for this new program will be available at the Homer Foundation office beginning August 1. Area schools will receive information regarding the program as it becomes available.
Please consider a donation to the fund in honor of a living or deceased educator who has made a difference in your life. Donations may be made online or by check to The Homer Foundation for this fund at P.O. Box 2600, Homer, AK 99603. If you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, contact Elaine Grantier at 907-299-1424.
On behalf of the Steering Committee,
Elaine Grantier, Mark Robinson, Shirlie Gribble