Don’t rush into home-rule plan
I was one of the biggest (and most vocal) opponents of the push for a home-rule charter in the 1970s. My mind hasn’t changed in the ensuing 35 years.
The current problems being experienced in Homer are from too much government power — home-rule would give the city even more power. Why in the world would you want to do that? I know from sad experience that another shot of whisky will not cure your hang-over.
Drafting a new charter is a laborious, divisive and lengthy process. The problem, as I see it, is the arrogance of the city manager and the current council in dealing with individual members of the public (for example, Mike Kennedy, Ken Halpin, the Bayview Inn, etc. ad nauseum).
You get a chance at new council members and a new mayor on a regular basis.
What is needed is to get rid of the manager system and institute a strong full-time mayor. That can be done in the next election by an initiative petition, putting the matter on the ballot. (AS 29.20.460-480).
The manager system guarantees an outsider from a very limited and elite (or elitist) group of people will run the city. S/he serves at the pleasure of the council. If the council does decide to fire/replace the manager the dollar cost is considerable, as is the dollar cost of finding a replacement.
I trust the voters to make better choices than the council. Is the mayor doing a good job? Re-elect them. Bad job? Vote for a new mayor.
I’m sure some folks will declare that since I haven’t lived in Alaska full-time for 20 years that I don’t deserve an opinion, much less any influence. Well, I still pay Homer property taxes, a goodly amount of city sales taxes, and dozens of my family members live there.
I have served on the city council, the borough assembly, and continue to keep abreast of state, borough and city politics. I have earned the right to an opinion.
Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, why don’t you put an issue on the ballot affirming the current zoning ordinance — as is? Zoning actions against the individual people seems to be the source of many (most?) of the problems.
Go ahead — I dare you.
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