What benefits the community as a whole?

By Monte Davis

I have called Alaska home for over 40 years. Anyone who has been here that long knows that we are a resource-driven state – fish, oil, gold, coal and other minerals, timber – unless and until we tap those resources we starve and freeze in the dark. It’s the only reason we have roads and schools and so many of the services we take for granted.
A contingency from Homer fights this, and almost every kind of economic development that isn’t farming, at every turn. I don’t believe they speak for the majority. More often than not they have moved here from somewhere in the Lower 48 in the last one to eight years and will tell you that they know what is best for everyone, all the while pointing fingers at “outside interests” when the oil and gas companies have been here much longer and, in a lot of cases, been better citizens than they. It reminds me of people who get a certain type of religion and say that if you don’t get their type of religion quick you are doomed. Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to have a job, eat and stay warm.
Every week I see letters saying we shouldn’t be bringing gas to Homer because… We should be looking at alternative energies… we’re running out of gas… it’s too expensive… .
First of all we ARE looking at alternative energies. Everyone is! The truth is at this point the technology is not there. It barely makes economic sense for one individual, let alone a community. We are working on a Tidal Incubator Project here in Homer as we speak, but the name ought to tell you how far that technology has evolved … Incubator!
Secondly, we are NOT running out of gas. Period. Easy gas from Cook Inlet and the North Slope might be running out until more finds are made, but worldwide there is a glut of natural gas and no matter what it will stay considerably cheaper than fuel oil which is what most of us heat with now.
The one other thing I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is how much cleaner natural gas burns than fuel oil. This should be of major concern to those folks talking about alternative energies!
Third, too expensive. Really? Somehow the average Homer resident with a home and a job manages to fill a 300 gallon fuel oil tank twice or three times a year at $4 plus a gallon. Doing the math that comes to somewhere between $2,400 and $3,600 a year. According to the figures on natural gas the average homeowner will save 60 percent of their fuel costs. Let’s just look at the $2,400 figure. 2,400 X .6 = $1,440. $1,440 divided by 12 equals $120. So you could get a home equity loan for the costs associated with having gas brought into your home and replace or refit your furnace and hot water, make $120 a month payments on that loan, thereby paying exactly the same amount as you are right now on an annual basis. At the end of that loan you would see a reduction in costs of $120 a month or $1,440 annually. No more outlay than right now, with an end in sight of much lowered costs!
This IS the bridge we need to get us from here to there. Is the entire assessment fair to every single person? How would that ever be possible? Is it as fair as can be? I think the Homer City council has taken an almost impossible task and done as good a job as possible so that the community as a whole benefits.
Wow what a concept – the community as a whole – they must be leaders or something.
Oh, that’s right, that’s why we elected them!

Monte Davis is executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

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Posted by on Feb 6th, 2013 and filed under Point of View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses for “What benefits the community as a whole?”

  1. wake up says:

    I have a hard time believing information coming from what appears to be a conflict of interest.

    Why did the Chamber of Commerce ask (and get) even more money this year from the City Council, who then wanted to tax Homer citizens on groceries?

    Didn’t Buccaneer donate to the Chamber of commerce too?

    Seems like the businesses in town have a bit of a good ole boys network, taking from the rest of us, working to promote each other and ways for business to make more money. But the citizens of Homer always get the shaft.

    If you were such leaders, the business community would not need Homer citizens to subsidize you.

    Now, I don’t think that jack up rig is good for tourism, do you?

    Would a spill from a horribly incompetent company be good for tourism?

    What would a spill do to the fishing industry?

    Is it right to give Buccaneer water rights over Alaskans so you can have cheap fuel, because they are using their false scarcity lie to give away our rights. I don’t trust this company, or any of the leaders who have been lying and there have been many.

    One more thing, Forcing people to pay a corporation for gas lines whether or not they want natural gas is fascism. Fascism is the marriage of government and corporation. It is not some great accomplishment by our City Council. Good Grief!

  2. homer local says:

    monte davis came to homer a couple years ago, after years feeding off the cruise ship industry. he trotted in with his tie dye sweat pants, so hippie, but his true colors show here. now, the cruise industry is pushing through legislation to pollute our coastal waters, and monte is drawing lines in our community between our quality of life and big oil. thanks but no thanks. our chamber can and has done better. don’t let the door hit ya….

  3. Mairiis Kilcher says:

    I agree with “wake up”s comments above 100%

    I have lived in Alaska for 70 years, 30 years longer than you Mr. Monte. YOu lived here only since the oil came on the the scene I have lived here before oil changed Alaska, not necessarily for the better. I am also a farmer all my life, inlcuding living the subsistenc lifestyle on a local homestead . Your letter is an insult to farmers everywhere, but especially to those hard working locals and old timers and pioneers without whom there would be no productive ag lands, no local produce, no farmer’s market or natural beef, not to mention year round jobs and livelihoods for growers all over the Kenai.

    I dont know what planet you grew up on, but without a healthy environment there will be no healthy food, no healthy fish, (there goes that pristine industry!) and no healthy people. We cant eat gas and oil . We use fuel for farming, true, but its not cheap, thanks to the profit hungry oil industry who now on top of it want even more tax breaks or they will all go away?. give me a break! Shame on you , I want an apology for insinuating so blatantly that farming and clean fishing grounds and alternate energy sources are anti progress, anti development or anti anything. We are FOR a sustainable, renewable, and healthy Homer, which is why it is already such a very special place and tourist attraction, (also creating jobs, generating income for HOmer, promoting diversity and healthy lifestyles)

    I think you should resign from the chamber of commerce (of which I am– up to now– a member) as you do not represent all of us!

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