Homer City Council candidate Joey Evensen poses for a photo on Sept. 6, 2019, by Beluga Slough at his Homer, Alaska, home. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Homer City Council candidate Joey Evensen poses for a photo on Sept. 6, 2019, by Beluga Slough at his Homer, Alaska, home. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Point of View: Think Tank solutions for Our Hamlet by the Sea

Empty your mind and picture a City Council created just for us. Imagine one that’s designed special here at the End of the Road. A thoughtful group comprised of dedicated, capable locals who are steadfast about developing our Community in smart ways. In ways that continue the theme (branding) of Homer in order to strategically drive our economies. Engines of revenue that tie closely to our incredible natural resources or our Community expertise involving “all things marine”. Not idle talk. Six folks honestly working for best outcomes. And then forming them into timely solutions. Six, among whom each is entirely independent of the next (also known as a small-town version of checks-and-balances). Perhaps this sounds like a Think Tank? One designed special for you, the citizen who chooses to live here, the Homerite who has history and insight here – and likely – who deeply cares about Homer, too.

So when good opportunities emerge, six encouraging voices chime in… Six engineers ensure the machine runs smoothly. When something negative arises six spokespersons have your back. To prevent something terrible from affecting Homer. Vital professionals who “snow or 20-knot blow” help keep Homer running and working well.

Of course what I have described is the founding design of Homer’s City Council. It is meant to be fastened with independent thinking (times six). But as you know, recent council activities don’t always appear to reflect core principles. It’s as if speed has gone to idle, progress has slowed, and lowered expectations are trying to take root.

Homer has typically led by example in our State. With multitudes of talent based here including practical business visionaries we can be a unique community indeed. I’d like to see us get back to the design and function of our City as intended. This includes helping our City Hall Think Tank run smoothly. As a research geologist I’ve been brought into multiple think groups. Scientists, engineers, lawyers, and say analysts would be put together — toward a single goal. Worksessions became productive, creative and fun. And we always produced solutions (sometimes a jaw-dropping innovation). Practical fixes none of us alone foresaw. After all, true collaboration leads to amazing things.

Like dancing in our beloved Nutcracker, willingness is crucial for any collaboration. Being prepared and fully present seems as key to me as being movable in your position. Like a backup outboard on the skiff, the “movable” safeguard allows for you to be convinced of re-direction — and possibly to motor that direction if needed.

Similar to what is often called operational efficiency, I believe some 15% revenue growth (per business type) could readily result from small improvements that tie thematically to our natural resources. Just ideas, but these are easy and well within reach. For example, a few streetside spruce along a treeless roadway may sound minuscule at first. But example after example shows us that minor beautification along urban spaces definitively leads to revenue boosts for resort communities (such as our own “Aspen of Alaska”). Even for challenging issues that may come along I know, as a research scientist, if we actively search for a solution fate may just help us find it. Somewhere on the shores of Kachemak Bay.

Our City Council is designed to revolve far away from self-interest. This Election Day is about putting into office individuals who really care about finding solutions for their community and its members. It’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s about Homer. It’s about problem-solving. And it’s about independent thinking.

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