Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 12:47 PM on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

City election results final: Howard, Lewis



By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

With all 865 ballots cast in the city of Homer precincts 1 and 2 counted, and three candidates for two openings on the Homer City Council up for grabs, the results are:

• Incumbent Barbara Howard, 510 or 72 percent;

• Incumbent David Lewis: 460 or 65 percent;

• Former council member Mike Heimbuch: 420 or 60 percent;

• Write-ins: 21 or 3 percent.

At the end of the Oct. 4 municipal election, Howard led with 72 percent of the vote. Lewis and Heimbuch were separated by a slim 17-vote margin, with Lewis at 400 votes or 64 percent and Heimbuch at 383 votes or 61 percent. However, 98 absentee, questioned and special need ballots remained to be counted.

When the Election Canvass Board counted those on Friday, the margin separating Lewis and Heimbuch increased.

With 4,277 registered voters in Homer, total voter turnout was 20 percent, according to information provided by the city clerk's office.

"I'd say it went pretty good since I came in second," said Lewis of election results. "Unfortunately, it was just 20 percent that voted, so that means, and this is probably politically incorrect, 80 percent can't whine."

Finding a long-term home for the Boys and Girls Club remains one of Lewis' top priorities. The club is currently housed in a city-owned building that was the Homer Intermediate School. The majority of the building provided space for offices and classrooms of Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, until the completion of KBC's new Bayview Hall earlier this year. It now provides office space for some city employees during renovation and remodeling of City Hall.

Lewis is concerned about keeping the club "open until at least June and then trying to come up with a long-term solution, but it will take the whole town to deal with it. If they tell us they really want it, we can do it."

Heimbuch said he was not surprised at the final outcome of he election.

"When it's close and there's no real burning issues in an election, it's a lot easier to just re-elect the incumbents," said Heimbuch. "You can't feel bad that people felt comfortable enough with the way things are to reinstate the same people."

Heimbuch said the ideas he has about the city are fairly widely shared and not reflected in a vote for city council.

"The nature of the town, the economy and how we raise money to support our city don't go away regardless of who is elected," said Heimbuch, adding, "One thing I would like to see that's missing in our election is the presence of the next generation to stand up and be counted, to sign up and serve on our council and commissions."

One reason for the lack of participation is the assumption that "the amount of work required to do a decent job is a lot," said Heimbuch. "I find that idea out of synch with reality. I don't think it takes a lot of time to serve the community effectively on the council or commissions. Younger people should take heart and take notice that the future belongs to them."

Now that all votes are counted, Howard said, "I'm just thrilled to be re-elected. I'm ready to go to work and hopefully do a satisfactory job."

She encouraged residents to contact her with their concerns.

"I need to hear from the folks, what's on their mind, if I'm going down the right path," she said. "If I'm not, let me know. I'm here to represent the folks of Homer."

Election results were certified by city council at its regular meeting Monday. The re-elected council members will be sworn in at a special meeting of the council on Oct. 17.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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