I enjoy taking phone polls. I enjoy answering the questions, and not answering the boxes the poll tries to fit me in. For example, when I am asked for my race I have to answer “American,” because that is what I am. I am an Alaskan. I am a Homerite, a resident of 99603.
I am unsure which topic I wanted to address in this column because I am passionate about many topics.
I am concerned about our community. I want to see more togetherness, especially concerning real life issues that directly affect the people. Issues such as financial problems and drug addiction, both of which cause some major problems within families and their homes.
Questions raised last week as to whether Homer City Council candidate Kimberly Ketter is eligible to run for office as a result of her felony conviction for driving under the influence were based on false information.
Ketter can run for the city council seat while on probation.
The city’s declaration of candidacy form requires a candidate to declare that he or she is a qualified voter in order to run for office. Ketter is eligible to vote, and therefore is eligible to run for city council, because she has not been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.
1. What is your vision for Homer?
Mayoral candidate David Lewis: First, I envision Homer as a Four Season Destination for recreation that includes eco tourism, outdoor activities and the arts. Second, we should strive to become the main destination for large vessel haul out and repairs, Third, if we get the East boat Harbor funded and built we may become home port for many new vessels.
Kenai Peninsula Borough voters will decide whether future seniors should continue to get $350,000 in property tax exemptions or if the borough’s portion of the exemption should be phased out.
As Kenai Peninsula Borough and Homer voters face a slate of bond propositions and tax changes, KPB Proposition 2 could be an easy sell for voters for one simple reason: It won’t take a dime from taxpayers.
The proposition asks voters to approve a general obligation bond of up to $4.8 million to expand South Peninsula Hospital’s Homer Medical Clinic and install a new hospital operating room air handling and ventilation system. Because of increased property values in the SPH Service Area, that won’t require a mill rate increase.
In considering Homer Proposition 1, a proposal to borrow up to $12 million to build a new Homer Police Station, the controversy isn’t whether or not police need a new station.
Even opponents of Prop 1 say it’s clear the 39-year-old station needs replacement. The debate is over the cost and how to pay for it.
“I think they deserve a new facility,” said Homer City Council Member Heath Smith. “I think the community can afford to provide that, but I don’t think we should have to afford what’s currently being proposed.”
Two candidates are running for Homer Mayor and three candidates are running for two, 3-year Homer City Council seats. The city also will hold an election on Proposition No. 1, to approve general obligation bonds for a new police station and a 0.65-percent seasonal sales tax increase to fund the bonds.
For profiles on the city candidates, see pages 5-7. In the Sept. 22 issue candidates will answer questions posed by the Homer News, and in the Sept. 29 issue we will publish commentaries by them.
Running for mayor in order of filing are: Bryan Zak and David Lewis
Kimberly Ketter moved to Homer in May 2015 from her hometown of Cranberry Township, Pa., looking for a fresh start.
Following a painful custody battle which ended with limited rights to see her son, Ketter moved to Homer to live with a family friend who had retired and moved into a house on West Hill. In addition to giving her the chance to gain a handle on her life and find her career path so when she could see her son, she would be more stable, she was able to help the friend with the upkeep of his house.
When Homer City Council candidate Shelly Erickson says that Homer is her home, her words refer to roots that go deep into past generations. Both sides of her family have been in Homer for close to 80 years.
Three candidates — Erickson, Tom Stroozas, and Kimberly Ketter — are running for the two seats open on the city council. The two candidates with the highest number of votes will win those seats. Incumbent Gus VanDyke and Bryan Zak are not running again, though Zak is running for mayor.
Tom Stroozas is a transplant from the Lower 48, similar to many Homer residents who visited, were captured by Homer’s beauty and decided to make a home here. Now, he looks to the city council as a way to serve the town he has called home since 2006.
“I believe that you should live your life so that when you’re gone it will have mattered and if by being elected to the city council in Homer I can make a difference in the quality of life of everyone who lives here, then that’s a good sense of well-being,” Stroozas said.
With his 3-year term expiring this October, veteran Homer City Council member Bryan Zak chose not to run for re-election and instead shifted his focus to another city office: Homer mayor.
Like opponent David Lewis, Zak was first elected to the council in 2008. Zak, 60, won a 2-year seat that came open when former council member Lane Chesley resigned, and then won re-election to regular 3-year seats in 2010 and 2013.
Three-term Homer City Council member and Mayor Pro-Tempore David Lewis said he’s running for one simple reason.
“I thought about it for a while. I wanted to see who put their name in,” he said. “I don’t think it should be a giveaway job. I think there should be competition.”
Lewis, 62, faces fellow council member Bryan Zak in the mayoral race. The most senior members on the council, both bring extensive experience to the race. While Zak has been running a strong campaign with yard signs and advertising, Lewis has been out of the country on a tour of Mongolia and Japan.
After a resounding win Tuesday in the Republican Party Primary for the House District 31 seat, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, looked ahead to the challenge of the next session.
“We’ve got a big problem to solve. Our biggest concern is making sure we solve this fiscal problem in a way that’s sustainable over time. I think we can get there,” Seaton said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
Despite a well-funded, negative campaign by political action committees against him, incumbent Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, easily won election in Tuesday’s primary for the District 31 House seat.
Seaton said negative campaigning backfired and probably helped him in the three-way Republican contest.
With no other candidates running in the general election, barring a write-in campaign, Seaton, 70, will be elected to an eighth term in the Alaska House of Representatives.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add that David Lewis has filed to run for Homer Mayor.
Erickson files for city council; Lewis files for mayor
In two debates last Friday and Tuesday, Republican Party candidates for House District 31 representative answered questions on everything from books to marijuana to support for seniors. But it was another “b” word — the budget — that dominated discussions at debates sponsored by the Friends of the Homer Public Library and the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
For almost 12 years I have had the privilege of representing the City of Homer which has prepared me well for the current financial situation facing us at the state level. The financial integrity of the city has been a large focus of my attention and actions that I have promoted have resulted in:
• General fund reserve balances compliant with governmental accounting standards;
• Budget reductions;
• Establishment of the Homer Permanent Fund;
• Reinstatement of the Economic Development Com-mission;
• Reduction of property taxes; and,
You have a choice to make — Outside and Industry money is being used for negative ads and I feel I should respond to those distortions.
I have been a Republican all my life. I believe in the big tent philosophy with a diversity of views — but in the spirit of President Eisenhower, I am leery of the military industrial complex and corporate monopolies having undue influence on our political process.
As we head into the final days prior to the election, we are faced with troubling and very difficult decisions. Whom do I cast my vote for? Representative Seaton, Mayor Wythe, or Businessman John Cox?