Letters

Recall unnecessary; system works

As a new Homer resident, I find this recall effort very upsetting and unnecessary. My wife and I moved here from Kenai where over the years forces, at city hall, repeatedly tried to commercialize part of our residential neighborhood. This despite documented evidence (including 2 ballot propositions) residents city-wide overwhelmingly opposed that commercialization effort. The ballot propositions were necessary because we had no chance at city hall. The council even appropriated money to influence one election against our neighborhood and several sitting council members helped finance an opposing campaign (all documented). It was normal for us to need to play catch-up once the latest commercialization plan came to light, as all drafting was done behind the scenes and then pushed thru as quickly as possible.

So from my perspective, I’ve gotta wonder what is really behind the Homer recall push. The system worked for the recall supporters. They got wind of a resolution they didn’t like, they rallied against it, and they overwhelmingly won at city hall. The e-mail angst makes no sense since all legislation starts somewhere behind the scene.

My wife and I found Homer to be warm and welcoming. We love living here. The divisiveness this recall has caused is not healthy and sets a bad precedent for the community. Please vote “no” on the recall.

Mark Schrag

Election time to make a change

I feel for the three council members up for recall. Having had the privilege of serving my community both on the School Board and the Assembly, I know the amount of time it takes to serve your community. I know the dedication. I know the phone calls that come sometimes 24/7. Local elected officials serve out of love of community, certainly not for pay or gain.

I believe they endeavored to serve the public, and in doing so obviously caught the ire of a few. It happens. But, I do not believe it warranted the expense of a special election, so close to the coming fall election when two of the three would be up for re election. That is the time to make change. Should the recall pass, three new members, would have to be appointed, until the fall election. Unless they are members who have served before, they have a huge learning curve. This is no time to remove half the council.

In my 37 years living here, I think this is the most ugly thing I have seen happen.

I urge city residents to please vote, and vote “no.” Please show these council members your support, by voting no.

And please remember, those supporting the recall took the Hearts of the supporters as their calling card. Do not be fooled by that.

Vote no on June 13.

Milli Martin

Attempt to silence council wrong

I was sharing with a friend why the recall effort is especially haunting for me. I realized that it evokes chilling emotions that I associate with my youth, the novel “Nineteen Eighty-four,” being told, “America, love it or leave it,” and “My way or the highway.” Emotions associated with memories of the playground bully and his followers. A mix of feelings of fear, anger and powerlessness.

In the case of the recall effort, anger and fear are warranted. Three compassionate city council members brought forth two resolutions for our community to consider on behalf of others whose safety, rights and well-being are threatened. The attempt to silence these three is wrong. I’m not powerless with regard to the recall effort. I can speak out against it and will vote “no” on June 13. Please join me.

James Lunny

Misinformation being circulated

I encourage all Homer voters to inform yourselves before the June 13 recall election and not depend upon what you may have “heard” about the resolution in question and the actions of council members. There’s a great deal of misinformation being circulated via blogs and social media. Read the resolution yourselves (accessible on the city’s web page) and consider that it was voted down following public testimony.

The council members who are the subjects of the recall did not lie about anything and did not hide anything. Their communications used the city’s email system and are an example of transparency. They did not represent themselves as speaking for the city as a whole. It is entirely appropriate for council members to research issues and craft resolutions and ordinances in response to constituent requests and concerns.

You may also want to consider the chilling effect ofpunishing elected officials (of any political persuasion) for acting on their principles and engaging in governance. (Do you really want council members who do nothing but show up at meetings and vote for or against what’s put in front of them by the administration?)

And you might think about the advisability ofrecalling council members four months before the general election and thus throwing our city government into disarray. General elections are the time to express our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with elected officials — to re-elect those we have confidence in and choose alternatives if we think others can do a better job of representing our interests.

Nancy Lord

Judge didn’t rule on merits of recall

The decision by Judge Marston to allow the recall election to proceed means only that, based on Alaska statute, the election can go forward. Judge Marston did not address the merits of the case and no decision on any of its issues was rendered.

Now we, the voters of Homer, must decide if we are going to allow this recall to deprive us of the services of these duly elected and hard working city council members who have given so generously of their time and expertise to our community.

If this precedent is set, will future council members be deprived of their right of freedom of speech to bring resolutions from citizens before the council for consideration? When does this divisiveness stop?

We strongly encourage everyone to vote ‘‘no” on June 13 or by absentee ballet in support of our city council members Catriona Reynolds, David Lewis, and Donna Aderhold.

Hal Smith, MD

Susan McLane

How should democracy work?

I am disappointed that our state and city allows recall elections without determining if there is truth behind the stated reasons for the recall. I believe elected officials should retain their seats unless the accusations against them are proven. It doesn’t seem right that anyone can state a complaint, get signatures in a timely manner and qualify for a recall election. The only reasons the city allows for recall are misconduct, incompetence, or failure to perform prescribed duties, but it is no one’s job to validate that any of these actually happened. This is a flawed system.

In Homer, we already elected six people to represent us. It seems crazy that we need to elect three of them again. Differences in political opinion, our personal values, or what we think the city should or should not address are not reasons for recall.

I encourage every city resident to vote “no” on June 13. This is not a vote about political beliefs. It is a vote about how you want democracy to work. If you believe accusations should be proven before a recall, vote no. If you want your council to have the freedom to present your ideas for discussion and a vote, vote no. If you want a thinking, caring, proactive council that does research outside of the packet prepared by the city, vote no.

Your vote matters here in Homer. Please take time to vote.

Lynn Takeoka Spence

Reasons to vote ‘no’ on June 13

Homer voters should reject the recall petition on June 13. There are several clear reasons for voting “no” on the recall:

1. If voters do not care for council members’ views, there is a regular election every October.

2. Using the recall procedure for political reasons to attack council members for their political views, is a poor way to conduct city government — it is wasteful, chaotic, expensive, destabilizing, and serves only partisan interests.

3. In Alaska, the recall procedure was created to give voters the opportunity to remove from office elected officials who are corrupt and self-serving. Our targeted council members are neither corrupt nor self-serving. They are good people. They certainly have committed no crimes or misdemeanors — the Superior Court judge declared as much when he ruled only that the people should vote, not that the council members had done anything wrong.

The recall procedure sets terrible precedents, especially when used for partisan ends. If it succeeds, where will it end? Who will be next? Council members must not have to serve in an atmosphere of intimidation and retribution for the views they express or put forward on behalf of their constituents.

Vote no on June 13 and allow our duly elected Homer city government to continue to serve the interests of the whole community.

Michael Hawfield

Thanks to all council members

I believe that the elected council members care for our community and make thoughtful choices. Donna Aderhold has spent hours ensuring that Homer is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. She has supported using HART funds to maintain and create sidewalks. She is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on airspace and safety issues. Catriona Reynolds has worked tirelessly on the beach access policy. She has spent hours in work sessions on the opioid epidemic. She has also worked on sidewalk issues along with bike lanes. Her time spent on road and trail planning is great. Dave Lewis worked on the development of the new Port and Harbor office. He worked diligently to keep the Boys and Girls Club open. He helped create the Homer hockey rink along with the youth job-training program.

And that’s just for starts with all three.

All three mentioned council members worked on a resolution that, bottom line, stated that Homer accepts all people. That, to me, is not political. It should be a given.

I thank all council persons for volunteering their time for the betterment of our community and look forward to seeing our community prosper under their continued leadership.

John “Johnny B.” Bushell

Thanks to key contributors

The Homer High School Athletic Department would like to thank a few key contributors this semester.

First off, I would like to thank Asia Freeman for coordinating the first ever yoga class this semester at Homer High School. We were able to have guest instructors from our community for 18 consecutive weeks. Adding this course has really strengthened the physical education department at Homer High School, some variety to the offerings. More and more individuals are turning to yoga for health and wellness. The following instructors helped make this happen: Asia Freeman, Britt Huffman, Sarah Olson, Lucas Thoning, Anna Raup, Melisse Reichman and Kayla Spaan. Thank you for donating your time and knowledge to our students and we look forward to practicing with you in the future.

We are also grateful for the Kachemak Running Club. Once again, they supported the 9th Grade Decathlon Unit by sponsoring local gift certificates as prizes for our stupendous results in our classes. This type of community support really is appreciated.

Finally, we just hosted our first Region III Track &Field competition in over 20 years. We had over 50 volunteers and I would like to thank everyone who helped time, spot, rake and mark over the past weekend, we could not have pulled off such a grand event without you.

Chris Perk, athletic director

Homer High School

An improbable recall scenario

I imagine this scenario: three Homer City Council members discuss drafts of a resolution by email and then propose a final resolution at the council meeting. The resolution is in support of President Trump’s health care proposal, which will increase costs of health care, and/or remove availability of health care for thousands of Alaskans.

Furthermore, the resolution supports President Trump’s call to decrease funding for poverty-related programs and increases funding for the military.

At the council meeting, I, and others, give public comments against the resolution because I do not agree with these proposals. The resolution fails. I initiate a recall petition stating that the council members were “politically active” by supporting President Trump’s political agenda, and this is “unlawful and unethical” and therefore grounds for a recall.

Also the recall claims that this resolution has caused irreparable damage, because it supports policies that will increase health care costs and be detrimental to thousands of low income Alaskans The recall petition gets enough signatures, is certified and a recall election is scheduled.

This scenario sounds unbelievable, and it should be. The current recall of three council members seems to be based on personal and political views and seems to have no bearing on the work council members are elected to do, which is to base their decisions upon their values and by listening to the public who they represent.

Resolutions made by elected officials can be about any subject. When I do not like the values/beliefs/views of elected council people, I will vote against them in the next election. I will not recall them because they did their job, even if I do not like what they did.

Please vote no on June 13. Let us support our council members for their time, effort and hard work in serving our city.

Vivian Finlay

Elected officials represent us

As a citizen I have the right to vote and elect officials to office, and I have the right to expect them to stay in that office until their term is completed. Along with my fellow voters, we have chosen these people to represent us for that given period of time. This is the American system of electing people to do the work so that our government functions and reflects the will of the majority of our people.

Very occasionally, an elected official — due to illness or personal situation like moving away — needs to leave office before their term is up, and on those very rare occasions, it is a small handful of citizens who then decides who will be the replacement. But this is, and should be, an extremely unusual occurrence.

Also when an official has been proven to have been guilty of corruption, bribery, or other illegal actions, there is a recall process which would remove that person because a law has been broken. This should also be extremely rare.

Although we need to accept those unfortunate situations when someone needs to leave office prematurely, the expectation in America is that since we citizens voted them into office to represent us, they will stay in office until the next election. To take away this right undermines a basic tenet of our American democracy. Citizens should be represented by the people they elect.

Lani Raymond

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