Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 6:05 PM on Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's not over yet; voters still must pick borough mayor


Here are the take-aways we get from this week's election results:

1. Leave the seasonal sales tax exemption on non-prepared food items alone. Maybe we can quit voting on this issue for awhile. How many times do voters have to say the same thing before they are heard?

2. Don't raise sales taxes — at least not to pay for economic development programs or at least not to pay for them in the way presented during this election.

3. Incumbents are doing an acceptable job. Since incumbents were favored by voters, what does that mean for term limits? In theory, do we favor term limits, while in practice we favor the known candidates?

4. Voters will have two very different candidates to choose from when it comes to electing a new mayor for the Kenai Peninsula Borough on Oct. 25. Our hope is the race between Mike Navarre and Fred Sturman will not become a contest of political philosophies. The mayor's seat is a nonpartisan position and it should remain that way. The person who gets elected should be the most qualified for the job of running the day-to-day operations of the borough government. Period. Political persuasion does not and should not matter.

5. Is Homer City Council candidate Mike Heimbuch right when he says the real story of this week's election is the low voter turnout? How do we explain the low turnout? Certainly, the weather can't be blamed as it sometimes is. No burning issues? That depends on your perspective. Aren't deciding sales tax issues and electing officials who will play an important role in shaping the future of our communities important enough? What does it take to get people interested? Now, that's the question. We would appreciate hearing your answers. If you have been a voter in the past, but quit voting let us know why. What would it take to get you to the polls again? Let us know by writing letters@homernews.com.

The election isn't over yet. The next few weeks will be important as Mr. Sturman and Mr. Navarre continue to get their messages out to voters. It's a time to listen, ask questions and consider the consequences of our actions. Very clearly, the two borough mayor candidates would lead the borough down different paths.

There also are some issues raised by the election. We applaud David Lewis, who was re-elected to the city council, and Kelly Cooper, who lost her first bid to election to the assembly, for highlighting an issue that needs the involvement of the entire community: keeping the Homer Boys and Girls Club open. As it turns out, burning issues are right under our noses, needing community-based solutions. Keeping the Homer Boys and Girls Club open is one of those issues. Having a safe, supervised, affordable place for kids to go after school is important to young families and the community's quality of life.

Congratulations not only to the winners of Tuesday's election, but to all those who ran.