What follows is an open letter to Mayor Beth Wythe of Homer Alaska. This letter was composed and offered here with all sincerity and love of community.
By Chris Story
It’s come to my attention that the city of Homer is currently engaged in a lawsuit against Mike Kennedy concerning his property on Ocean Drive Loop.
I’ve driven past the property prior to the city zoning enforcement action, and after his subsequent clean-up. His argument for homesteader status not withstanding, it would appear the city got what it wanted. The property is cleaned up and surely the neighbors are happy.
It’s my understanding that Mike is facing fines to the tune of $1.86 million. Perhaps there will be a negotiated settlement and some kind of suspended collection of said settlement.
The purpose of this letter is to ask you to intervene on Mike’s behalf, as well as for the citizens of Homer. This type of fine and collection action is unwarranted to say the least, and tyrannical to say the worst.
We are a small community of neighbors and Alaskans that will come together and pay $300 for a pie at a charitable auction to support a fellow Homerite in need. Mike, in fact, is known for his love of community and generosity. If the city of Homer found it necessary to bring the big hammer down with threat of fines to get action, so be it. Now he’s complied and it’s time to back off.
Not only is it onerous, it’s a ridiculous amount in total or part. We are all living here in this “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea” together, right?
So what you are doing as a city is effectively spending my and everyone else’s tax dollars to ruin a man’s life, and that is exactly what this kind of action is.
Now if I have it wrong, and the city of Homer is not imposing a fine structure of close to $2 million, then please correct me.
But it’s my understanding that Mike faces the long arm of the law on June 26. I’m asking that you stop the suit, drop the case and let him go about his life. Should he violate the zoning code again, then action can be taken to obtain compliance again.
There seems to be an endless supply of money for law suits, and you have a manager who is inviting litigation; see the Ken Halpin case against the city for a prime example.
Ken told me and our entire audience on live radio that Walt Wrede, Homer City Manager told him in regard to his home being flooded with sewage to “sue the city.”
Rather than mix up the issue at hand, let me reiterate that my point in writing is to formally and personally request that you, as mayor of Homer intervene in the case against Mike Kennedy, drop any and all action in collecting fines for zoning violations.
This community is facing serious anxiety over the gas line USAD procedure, as well as many, many other serious legal cases. This is a case that can be easily dismissed and viewed as a win-win situation for the entire community.
The neighborhood won because the lot is cleaned up, the city won because the zoning code is being complied with, and the people will win when you stop spending good money after bad in court against a good man, and a man of the community.
Please consider my request. This is fast becoming an issue that will not be ignored by the people.
Chris Story is a lifelong Alaskan, and broker and owner of Story Real Estate. He is also host of “Alaska Matters Radio,” heard Tuesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on KGTL.
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