In a special election in 2015, voters passed Proposition 1 to suspend for three years the .75 percent of city sales taxes that goes into the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund. That suspension allows the city to use HART sales taxes to fund general government, about $1 million in some years. With the suspension ending next year, the Homer City Council for the past few meetings has debated the future of HART and how that .75-percent sales tax could be used. Should the HART language be changed to allow other uses such as maintenance? Or should a portion of the tax be permanently redirected to the general fund?
As Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson this week prepared petitions for a citizen group seeking to recall Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds, the city attorney at Monday’s council meeting provided guidance on the recall process.
Northerly winds last week pushed ice from the head of Kachemak Bay up against the end of the Homer Spit, choking off the harbor entrance and the southeast end of the Homer Harbor. Some mariners reported being unable to get out of the harbor over the weekend. Brash or slushy ice has been freezing together and begun filling in slips and around the load-launch ramp, but there are channels around larger vessels where they have been moving, said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. Plus 20-foot high tides next week could bring in more ice from the head of the bay, particularly if north to northeasterly winds continue.
The last few winters have featured weather more akin to petulant autumns throwing diminutive snit-fits of snow, wind and bawling bursts of waterfall rains.
A group of 10 Homer citizens on Monday filed an application for a recall petition against Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds. The three council members sponsored an inclusivity resolution at the Feb. 27 council meeting, although only Reynolds voted for Resolution 17-019. Following almost three hours of public testimony, most of it against the resolution, it failed 5-1. The application cites their sponsorship for that resolution as well as Resolution 16-121, a resolution supporting the Standing Rock Lakota tribe and opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, as grounds for recall. Resolution 16-121 passed 4-3, with Homer Mayor Bryan Zak breaking a tie vote that Aderhold, Lewis and Reynolds also voted yes on.
Editor’s note: In public comments lasting almost four hours, more than 100 people spoke on Resolution 17-019, Stating that the City of Homer Adheres to the Principle of Inclusion. Here are some selected quotes:
As they defoliated Sitka spruce trees in Homer and other areas around Kachemak Bay, spruce aphids have been under the watchful eyes of state, local and federal agencies. Although many trees look like they have lost their needles, aphids spared much of the new foliage that developed last year.
The Homer Harbor Deep Water Dock has served chip ships, crab boats, cruise ships, several jack-up rigs, US Navy destroyers and even a Greenpeace vessel. Like the saying goes, it’s a jack of all trades, but not a master of one — except the purpose it was designed for, a fish processing facility.
The Club Bar incident. Removing the Veterans Memorial from WKFL Park. Nuclear Free Homer. Annexation. Banning commercial cannabis. In the 53-year history of the Homer City Council, civic disputes have often flared up into hours-long public testimony that can test the patience of even the most seasoned citizen.
At next Monday’s Homer City Council meeting, the council considers a resolution that “calls on all its citizens to stand against intolerance and resist expressions of hate toward any members of the community.”
Alaskans who had a Moda health insurance plan through healthcare.gov, but who do not yet have coverage, can apply during a special enrollment period for new coverage until March 1.
Writer, photographer, editor, professor, biologist, outdoorsman, scholar, veteran, Alaskan and family man: in the history of Alaska’s post-World War II generation that came into the country and settled the state, Jim Douglas Rearden exemplified the breed. Wicked smart, funny, personable and handsome right down to his neatly clipped brush mustache, he stood as an example in the arts, humanities and sciences.
The public will finally get a formal chance to weigh in on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s invocation practice in March.
At Monday’s meeting, the Homer City Council also awarded contracts for a used van and replacing the high-mast harbor lights with energy-efficient LED lights. The council took these actions:
In a relatively short meeting that ended at 7:30 p.m. Monday, the Homer City Council brought back to the table the continuing need for a new Homer Police Station. After voters turned down an up-to-a-$12 million bond and a seasonal sales tax of .65 percent, newly elected Mayor Bryan Zak said he would keep pushing for a solution that would replace the crowded, 1980s cop shop and jail on Heath Street.
A statewide seizure of imported hemp cannabidiol oil products last week from licensed cannabis stores has shaken up Alaska’s new commercial cannabis industry — and also sown confusion among hemp and cannabis advocates. These are the latest developments:
Sunshine, fresh snow and single-digit temperatures made last Saturday’s Homer Winter Carnival festive but chilly. Several parade entries responded to the theme “Jazz Up Winter,” including dancers with Pier One Theatre promoting its next big musical, “Chicago.”
At the summer Homer Farmers Market, the tradition of selling locally raised farm goods has a high-tech component. Since many farmers don’t have credit-card machines, the market booth lets customers buy with credit- or debit-cards market tokens that work like cash at vendor booths.