I’ve lived in Homer for more than a quarter century. I have seen a lot of changes, but I still love the view that opens up if you’re driving down Baycrest Hill on a sunny day. I can’t reasonably explain how much I actually do love it. Together with the glorious feeling of awe I usually experience a faint and subtle sense of pride. I don’t want to deny it. I feel proud that I live in this beautiful place, that so many people come visit in the summer.
But do you know what this feeling turns into as I progress down the Bypass onto Ocean Loop? It turns into a burning shame, as the wind delivers a constant reminder of the ineffectual workings of the Homer Sewer Facility. There’s no getting away from that, it permeates the air, the fuel my personal engine works on. And not just mine, every one of these tourists, people who drove for thousands of miles to get here, or were victimized by the latest TSA atrocity and starved on an airplane journey. In short, they’ve exuded effort and are expecting reward and fun.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think that it is absolutely worth the effort. The journey isn’t actually that horrific, and Alaska in general and Homer in particular has an amazing variety of tourist attractions to offer to the weary traveler, and most of them are incredibly enjoyable and unique. It’s just too bad that in Homer it comes with excrement flavor.
Here we approach the most enigmatic and mysterious part of my letter, but those in the know will understand what I am talking about. After a little bit of backtracking and maneuvering I make my way out East, and soon, my heart is again filled with joy and hope when I see the Tardis standing by the road, and I realize the Doctor is in town, most likely to set things right and correct some hideous, giant monstrosity of injustice. And I believe that I know which injustice it is.
I have recently found out that the tenacious city of Homer is still torturing Mike Kennedy, by refusing to drop the lawsuit and making him pay fines to the tune of a couple million dollars. And for what? For an alleged offense to the senses of his fellow citizens, that ensues from Mike’s propensity to collect and salvage building materials, auto parts, pieces of Homer and Alaska history, and such like, and storing them on his very own land. So, here lies the injustice.
The sanitation department is undeniably a branch, or an arm, or some other anatomical appendage of the city of Homer. And here it is, not just offending, but downright assaulting the sense of smell of thousands of people. Not to mention that it happens immediately after one’s sense of sight is ruthlessly and cold-bloodedly violated by seeing the Islands and Oceans Center to which the city of Homer also has applied its funds collected by taxing individuals like you and me (can’t say anything about its educational and scientific value but esthetically and artistically it is classified in my mind somewhere between a proverbial sharp stick in the eye and a sledgehammer wallop to the brain).
About sewer: I may be ecologically challenged and uninformed, but if somebody is trying to convince me that there is no efficient and environmentally safe alternative solution available to the smell problem, I just don’t believe it. It may cost some, but isn’t that a better use for city funds than armored vehicles?
So here we have the city get off scot-free on the major esthetic and environmental violations and at the same time trying to shake Mike Kennedy down for what seems to be a much lesser infraction. I mean, come on. Mike is a super salvager, who helped a lot of people and it seems that harassing someone like that at the time when not a single enterprise on the face of the continent makes nuts and bolts seems not only short-sighted, but I’ll even venture to say negligent and criminal.
And if the doctor is not going to help, then, maybe, just maybe,we the people must do something about it.
If I am mistaken and there is nothing anybody can do about the sewer and the lawsuit against Mike was already dropped, then I beg forgiveness from the city. I was acting using faulty intelligence, and that ludicrous excuse worked for the U.S. government when they started a war, so it surely must exonerate me as well.
Yan Kandror is a longtime Homer resident.