The Alaska Dispatch News ran a survey this past winter to find out how Alaskans felt about climate change. Here is what they discovered: 24 percent of Alaskans worry “a great deal” about climate change, 26 percent worry “not at all” and the rest of the respondents fell almost equally into the “worry some” and “don’t worry much” camps. This timely poll helps inform Kachemak Bay Conservation Society’s Alaskans Know Climate Change education campaign.
I want to express my deepest appreciation and respect for the commitment and hard work our three Homer City Council members, Catriona Reynolds, Donna Aderhold and Dave Lewis have given this community. I have worked with each of them over the years in circumstances both in and outside their council positions and have always regarded their efforts highly.
I want to express my appreciation for the often thankless work that is done to benefit our community by city employees and elected officials, in particular the three council members who are currently under attack for having brought forward a resolution to reaffirm Homer’s commitment to tolerance, inclusivity, and safety for everyone. Although an early draft of the resolution produced controversy, I believe the final draft would have spoken well for Homer.
Within any group of people there will be differing opinions. The people that volunteer to be city council members ideally will represent all of the people in our community. This would include not only those who oppose Resolution 17-019, but also, all of those citizens who were in favor of the resolution, as well.
I find it disappointing, to say the least, that a recall effort has begun against Homer City Council members Catriona Reynolds, Donna Aderhold and David Lewis. They have done nothing to merit such action or disrespect. Some may have disagreed with the aim of the inclusion resolution or the resolution concerning the pipeline, but bringing to the table matters constituents have urged the council to consider is precisely what representative government requires.
It is time for us to all talk about the Elephant in the Room. The giant pink, 10,000-pound elephant that is truly responsible for the chain of events leading up to this profoundly sad recall effort of three council members in Homer.
The elephant, my friends, is Donald J. Trump.
Homer is a microcosm — a mirror — of what is happening all across this country. A nation divided to an extent that I cannot recall ever before in my 58 years. This new Administration has polarized us in a way that is truly unprecedented.
Search team saves day
As a 62 year old, lifelong Alaskan, I have rarely witnessed as much dysfunction in a legislative session as occurred in 2016. The inability of our elected representatives to craft a budget with even a glimpse of sustainability for the future was appalling. It made Vecogate pale in comparison.
I have worked with the Homer City Council, with city commissions, and with various city staff people over the last five years around practical challenges like Old Town and Pioneer Avenue revitalization, trails and sidewalks to schools. I believe every sitting council person, then and now, cares deeply about our community. Each represents a different Homer viewpoint. A council is designed to have different voices, and to be stronger as a result. They must work with each other, even when — especially when — viewpoints are different.
We are neighbors. We might have different beliefs, interests, concerns, struggles, lifestyles. We might practice a different faith or none at all. We might be from a different social group, a different income bracket, a different age group, but we are neighbors. As your neighbor I will do my best to not let these differences affect my ability to listen, respect, tolerate, share and support you when and where I can. I will try to do this even in the most difficult times, because that is what good neighbors do.
Mr. Lewis, Ms. Reynolds and Ms. Aderhold are wonderful people. They would help out anyone in a jam. This idea of a recall is just throwing salt on an open wound. These are troubled times. We are not united. But to attempt a petition for a recall is adding to the divide. Let’s talk it out. Agree to disagree, but let’s work together to continue our journey with peace in our hearts. Move forward Homer, because in the end, that is what we all really want.
I’ve been trying to sort out the Sanctuary City/Council member Recall issues. Here’s my take: It’s clear that what we’re witnessing with these related issues is a very emotionally induced action and reaction, a venomous and radical swing between two mutually exclusive and antagonistic parties, the ultra-liberal element and its antitheses, fundamentalist conservatism.
Both parties propose, or have proposed, to use the machinery of government to restrict, if not downright suppress, the influence of the other.
Being a city council person never has been easy. There are three factors that the newly elected often find challenging. First, the jobs are hard. A person has to read a great deal of difficult material before every meeting, and officials must work not only with those who agree but also with those who do not. The jobs take a great deal of time. Second, new officials often are dismayed to find how strictly their personal power is curtailed. A city council member has no authority on her own; only when the entire council passes a measure is any “power” expressed.
I appreciate David Lewis, Catriona Reynolds and Donna Aderhold sponsoring the recent resolution that in my mind reflected what Homer represents — caring, compassion and respect for all. It simply restated what is already law as a reminder. Resolutions are not laws, they are opinions. Being able to have a resolution brought to the council is a free speech issue. Constituents sometimes write them, council members introduce them, and we the people debate them.
After hours of testimony on the controversial invocation policy, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Member Stan Welles read a long, eloquent, moving and persuasive account of how, during a particularly acrimonious debate at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin called for prayer. George Washington (who presided) and the other members of the convention then spent a long time in public prayer and the convention was saved and produced the Constitution, the foundation of our country and our body of laws.
Since I don’t see much reporting about what is happening in Juneau, let me attempt to illuminate.
The muskrat coalition, let by Paul Seaton and Gabrielle LeDoux, is frittering away Alaska’s future. Currently, our annual budget is approximately $5.5 billion, and we are about $3.3 billion short in revenue. With no mind for the future, they are attempting to balance our over-bloated government, not by trimming the budget to match the current revenue, but rather through the wallets of every man, woman and child resident.
I strongly disagree with the recall effort targeting Donna Aderhold, Catriona Reynolds and Dave Lewis. They are upstanding citizens in our “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.” We are very lucky to have one of the most balanced city councils at the moment — maybe ever. They represent both sides in these divisive times. I applaud all the Homer City Council members and thank them so much for their public service.
I was shocked, appalled and more than a little disturbed by Lynn Spence’s Point of View in the March 9 edition of the Homer News. I have long known that there is an insidious undercurrent of malice and ill will hiding deep beneath Homer’s beautiful and friendly face, but every time it breaks to the surface and shows its ugly face I am shocked and dismayed.
Heads up about an unintended consequence of the travel ban!
Our business is already seeing a decline in bookings because of the executive order creating a travel ban for certain peoples. We have lost spring business, which is very important to the success of our year, because travelers from Mexico and Canada were unsure about what to expect in the United States, and unwilling to put up with possible disruptions in their itineraries. They canceled their trips.
If you are asked to sign a petition to recall any one of our three city council members, I respectfully urge you to politely refuse. If you are considering circulating one of these petitions, please don’t. Instead, please do your part to put an end to this discouraging and pointless endeavor to shame three fellow citizens who have made a commitment to public service. To continue to encourage citizens to make the sacrifices necessary to run for local office, we must honor and appreciate those who do.