By Yan Kandror
I have lived in Homer for over a quarter century. I have seen a lot of changes, but I still love the view that opens up when you’re driving down Baycrest Hill on a sunny day. I can’t reasonably explain how much I actually do love it. Together with the glorious feeling of awe, I usually experience a faint and subtle sense of pride. I don’t want to deny it. I feel proud to live in this beautiful place that so many people visit in the summer.
But do you know what this feeling turns into as I progress down the Bypass onto Ocean Loop? It turns into a burning shame, as the wind delivers a constant reminder of the ineffectual workings of the Homer Sewer Facility. There’s no getting away from it. It permeates the air; the fuel my personal engine works on.
And not just mine. It includes every one of these tourists; people who drove thousands of miles to get here. (Or were victimized by the latest TSA atrocity and starved on an airplane journey.) Regardless, they’ve exuded effort to get here, and expect some reward and fun.
Don’t get me wrong; I still think it is absolutely worth the effort. The journey isn’t actually that horrific. Alaska in general — and Homer in particular — has an amazing variety of tourist attractions to offer the weary traveler. Most of them are incredibly enjoyable and unique. It’s just too bad that Homer’s comes with excrement flavor.
After a little bit of backtracking and maneuvering, I made my way out east. Soon, my heart was again filled with joy and hope, as I saw the Tardis standing by the road. And I realize the Doctor is in town. He’s most likely here to set things right and correct some hideous, giant, monstrosity of injustice.
I believe I know which injustice it is.
I recently found out that the tenacious City of Homer is still torturing Mike Kennedy by refusing to drop the lawsuit and making him pay fines to the tune of a couple million dollars. And for what? For allegedly offending the senses of his fellow citizens because he has a propensity to collect and salvage building materials, auto parts and pieces of Homer and Alaska history?
He even stores them on his very own land.
Herein lies the injustice: The sanitation department, undeniably a branch, or at least some kind of appendage of the City of Homer, is not just offending, but downright assaulting the sense of smell for thousands of people. What makes it even worse is that it happens immediately after seeing the Islands and Ocean Center. It is another example of the City of Homer applying its funds collected by taxing individuals like you and me. (I can’t say anything about the Center’s educational and scientific value. But aesthetically and artistically, it is classified in my mind somewhere between a proverbial sharp stick in the eye and a sledgehammer to the brain).
And, about that sewer: I may be ecologically challenged and uninformed, but if somebody is trying to convince me there is no efficient and environmentally safe alternative solution available to the smell problem, I just don’t believe it. It may cost some, but isn’t that a better use of city funds than armored vehicles?
So here we have the city getting off scott free on major aesthetic and environmental violations, while — at the same time — trying to shake Mike Kennedy down for millions of dollars. And for what seems to be a much lesser infraction.
Come on! Mike is a super salvager who has helped a lot of people. It seems harassing someone like that at a time when not a single enterprise on the face of the continent makes nuts and bolts, seems not only short-sighted, but I’ll even venture to say negligent and criminal. And if the Doctor’s not going to help, then maybe — just maybe — we the people must do something about it.
P.S. If I am mistaken and there is nothing anybody can do about the sewer, or the lawsuit against Mike was already dropped, then I beg forgiveness from the City. I was acting using “faulty intelligence.” That ludicrous excuse worked for the U.S. Government when they started a war, so it surely must exonerate me as well.)
Yan Kandror is a local business person.
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