Letters to the Editor – August 11

Better crosswalks equal better business
Driving to town for work every day from Anchor Point, I’m seeing fresh asphalt and gold and white stripes guiding me ever onward to this cosmic hamlet we all love. Where I’m going with this is: We need to brainstorm easy, inexpensive ways to make Homer pedestrian friendly, without years of million-dollar engineering studies and endless bureaucratic permitting.
Wow! New asphalt from Homer to Anchor Point with fresh gold and white striping. Now that we have as clear a road surface as modern man can make to get the tourist here, it would behoove us to make downtown Homer more pedestrian friendly by painting in some decent crosswalks.
The posted speed on Pioneer Avenue is 25 mph. From the window in my office, midway down Pioneer, I watch cars and trucks zipping by. We are not a quiet fishing village. We are 5,000-plus hyper yuppies in the middle of a 90-day sprint during summer to get tourist dollars, get our own gardens in, get our fish and get our next building addition done before winter hits again.
I’ve watched school kids and tourists, seniors and women pushing baby strollers and even our own city manager standing at curbside waiting for traffic to clear enough to get across Pioneer Ave.
From one end of Pioneer to the other, there are only three crosswalks. I drove it and counted. Somebody had to do it. The crosswalks had been driven on so much, they’re about worn out.
We have the most unique bald eagle nest this side of the Chilkat River and tourists wanting to get a picture of it have to dodge trucks while trying to focus their cameras on the baby eagles getting food from their mom. How about a crosswalk there, at our very own bald eagle mini sanctuary. We could add a park bench to sit on, relax and eat your sandwich while watching.
If you want people to relax on their vacation, you need to slow them down. If they spend one extra day in Homer, that’s extra bucks for Homer businesses.  Monte Davis did some good numbers, look it up.
I’m talking about big crosswalks every 100 feet, from corner to corner in a four-square pattern at all intersections.
Downtown Portland has a red brick square; Seattle has a triangle park of grass and trees that breaks up the speediness broad streets tend to bring on. Crosswalks only require paint, not three years of engineering studies and multiple permits from a bureaucratic jumble. Get the art galleries to sponsor artists to make them creative. A few buckets of the gold paint the state highway is using could intersperse with Mariner Blue near the high school.
I do real estate for a living and I think this would enhance the values of the property lining Pioneer Avenue, as well as the entire city.  We, the City of Homer, can be as creative as we allow ourselves. We could become known as the city of broad shouldered walkways. Thanks for listening.
Ken Bergman

Don’t bag the ban
When the City of Homer passed the single-use bag ban, I did my best cartwheel. Oh, the sweet victory of common-sense legislation; of indisputable action. I wasn’t shocked that our town would pass a landmark law. I beamed with pride knowing that Homer is, yet again, the progressive and conscientious community we love.
When I hear naysayers (and I’m hearing less and less grumbles in the check-out line) I want to remind them that those free bags they love so much aren’t free; we pay for them one way or another. Or fervently say that a single-use bag is not “recycled” when used as a trash can liner; it’s just putting off the bag’s inevitable trek to the trash. (Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but a person rarely needs a trash can liner).
Most importantly, I want to drag them to the dump or the beach to see all the single-use bags polluting our area. There are islands of plastic bags growing in our ocean. And that’s the issue most closely linked with our beach community. We live for and on the ocean. I am happy to say that our town is now less of the problem and more of the solution.
I love the bag ban. I think it’s good for Homer, good for the environment, good for us. I encourage you to support the bag ban in the polls on Oct. 1.
Rachel Allmendinger

Community’s generosity knows no bounds
Even in the busy summer months, the generosity of our community continues at the Homer Community Food Pantry.  We have been blessed with generous donations of frozen fish and absolutely green vegetables from local gardeners who planted a row of vegetables for us.
St. Augustine Episcopal Church, Homer United Methodist Church and the Community Gardens have been generous in donating their veggies to us. Thanks to all at the Saturday Market and locals who bring us fresh produce on Monday.
Delta Kappa Gama helped 112 students with school supplies for the seventh year, thanks to locals and churches who pitched in with supplies. We have a generous community.
Recently, Icicle Seafoods in Kodiak and Homer donated a half-pallet of canned salmon. We greatly appreciate this as we look toward the winter months. It’s a beautiful thing when business and community come together to help others. Thanks Icicle, for being a great neighbor.
It is with a grateful heart that we say goodbye to Juanita Cox, who passed away last month. She was our longest-serving board member of 22 years, as well as a most-faithful volunteer. She kept track of the numbers and knew each client by name.
As one client put it so well, “she made it a better place” with her sweet smile and caring heart. We are all thankful to have known her. She loved the Lord and her neighbors. She will be missed.
We are in desperate need of a few responsible volunteers willing to do a job consistently on Mondays. It can be at whatever time is convenient, for however long it is possible. Thanks, Homer, for extending your hand and making a difference.
Diana Jeska and HCFP board

Did you notice?
The city’s wishlist has a gaping hole. For the last four years, a Homer Education and Recreational Center has made it onto their CIP list. Where is it? What are we doing about this?
When speaking to city council members and city employees, they somewhat agree. Their response is that they have not heard from the people of Homer; the citizens who live here. Well, I am here to tell you, it is time to become involved. With all this talk about public safety and Green Dot communities, the fact that we currently can’t figure out how to have a Boys and Girls Club operating in our community is sickening.
The issue of space is the problem. What to do (or not do) with the HERC building (the old middle school) seems to have stalled everything. It is time to move on from this building and set our sites on a new goal.
Since April of this year, (after the City Council work session about the HERC building), a group of concerned and passionate folks have been meeting. Recently, we decided to call ourselves “ReCreate Rec.” Our mission statement is, “To assist the growing recreational, wellness and extracurricular needs of the citizens of the Southern Kenai Peninsula through support and growth of social, artistic and recreation programs, as well as the establishment of an indoor recreation and community space.”
As communities all around us make community and Recreation Centers a reality for themselves (Sterling, Seldovia), I am envious and hopeful that Homer can do the same.
What is the right path? Do we finally give Parks and Recreation its own department within the city structure, instead of housing it as an off-shoot of public works? Do we ask the City of Homer to pass the recreation responsibilities over to the borough and create a Rec Service Area which generates money through a REC tax? (Much like the hospital and emergency services areas).
I don’t know. All I know is, the kids and parents of Homer and the surrounding area have to figure out what to do after school on their own this winter. Senior walkers have to go to the high school commons before school starts. Toddler playgroups, pickle ballers, wrestlers, karate and gymnastic classes — and anyone who uses a gym in a school district building — have to be moved or cancelled whenever something else is happening in this coveted space.
By working with the Kenai Peninsula School District, they make it work. They get through and continue meeting, but the problem of lack of space is not going away. In the spring, the lack of field space presents a similar problem. Why haven’t we made any headway on this? It’s complicated. There is no money. We don’t know what people want.
In order to move forward and try to get some answers,  the Parks and Rec Commission has requested that the city manger include in his budget a Parks and Rec needs assessment. We at ReCreate Rec support this request and hope that this vital needs assessment will help us collect valuable, unbiased information about our recreational scene here in the Homer area.
Where do you come in? Help ReCreate Rec in Homer. Attend the next meeting, Wednesday, Sept 25, from  3:30-5 p.m. at the Homer Public Library Conference room. Voice your concerns. Ask yourself, “How do I stay sane all winter?” If any of it is by attending any number of community recreation programs like volleyball, indoor soccer, basketball, belly dancing or ceramics, think about what it is worth to you. Do you have a child, niece, nephew or grandkids who would be at Boys and Girls Club if we had one?
As our city possibly embarks on building a new public safety building, I wonder if it would also make sense to be proactive in our community and give our kids, adults and seniors a place to learn, socialize and practice healthy lifestyles.
If we do this, hopefully, down the line, we can proudly point out how our new public safety building is getting less and less use as the years go by.
Kate Crowley
Head Organizer, ReCreate Rec

Stupid is, as stupid does
To help Syrians, to protect them, to bring them “democracy,” and for the world’s safety we need to bomb their infrastructure back to the stone age with collateral murder.
With peace prize “O-bomb-ya’s” targeted countries of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria, as well as culvert destabilization all the other countries in the region, is it not apparent/obvious to even a stupid politician that we are in these oil-rich regions with ulterior motives and agendas? That the “intelligence” our governmental officials receive may be outright misinformation with the purpose to further said agenda? Could it be that we want control of the region so bad that we would even manufacture events to give us an excuse to invade, to NPR dupe an American public and congress to wave the flag to destroy? To switch America’s attention from it’s police state future and governmental corruption by entreating WW3 nearly unilaterally.
It is well known and documented that we are, and have been, supportive of and allied to the “supposed” bad guys (Al-qeada).
When will congress get nerve enough to say no to more war? When will we see past the phony frontal appearance of “righteousness” with our president the majority voted for?
Rev. Richard Olson

Thank You Homer!
On behalf of the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, I want to thank the community of Homer for making the 19th annual Breast Cancer Run a success! The funds raised by this event assist in the clinic’s ability to provide low-cost and free breast cancer screenings and mammograms to hundreds of women in the community each year. All of the funds raised stay here in Homer, offering KBFPC the flexibility to meet the individual needs of our clients with the care and compassion that our agency has always been known for. I am consistently amazed by the generosity of our community. Local businesses, volunteers and run participants truly make this a wonderful and meaningful event!
Morgan Sicilia
Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic
Board of directors

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Posted by on Sep 10th, 2013 and filed under Letters to the Editor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses for “Letters to the Editor – August 11”

  1. stand up Homer says:

    Thank you Kate. What I find particularly disgusting is that they would say there is no money to transform the HERC building or provide another location for the Boys and Girls club and community rec…then declare $300,000 available to study a police station in the exact same location that will cost 15 million.

    They are lying and not helping because they don’t want a community center. The city council and authoritarians in general do not want us little people to gather as we might organize to overthrow them and create a better community.

    They have received a lot of extra money this year from Buccaneer,sales tax is still providing record breaking revenue…this is not about money because they seem to have it when they want it for something like their ipads, their furniture, etc.

    But when we ask for something it is ‘we’re going to raise tax on food’. They are shameless hypocrites and greedy sociopaths and they need to be stopped. It shouldn’t be difficult as they are not particularly intelligent, just mean. If we can overcome their rudeness and have a real debate, they will look like the immature self centered egoists that they are.

    • new ideas needed says:

      Thank you for starting ReCreate Rec group to address this situation.
      Since the city council has proven to be useless and uncaring, we need a plan that does not involve them until they can all be replaced with true public servants.

      What this group can do is start small, find a new location to host the Boys and Girls club, and perhaps a teen tech lab for starters.

      There are so many buildings in town that can be bought or rented for a very minimal price. We don’t need to spend millions just designing a building, waiting for years, begging the legislature for money, setting up a new tax district. There are plenty of buildings that would work that we have right now, that can be purchased right now.

      Citizens of this community can donate time and supplies like happened in Sterling, furniture and everything else needed.

      We can ask the city council for the money, perhaps embarrass them into doing their jobs actually working for the community.

      If that doesn’t work out REcreate Rec can set up a Kickstarter site (or something similar) and advertise in the paper asking the community to send in donations to cover the costs.

      Everyone can then spend their permanent fund check outside of Homer without guilt, saving all kinds of money on sales tax, then donate the saved money to this project. Instead of giving tax money to the city in sales tax, we bypass them and give it to the kids.

      I know that for myself, the more authoritarian and fascist this council gets, the more I want to spend my money outside of Homer so that they don’t get a dime of it for their pet projects while ignoring the rest of us.

      The Boys and Girls club cannot wait three years to reopen, and we need something for teens in the community right now, not ten years down the road.

      Just as a dream, if we happened to raise quite a bit of money, this building would be perfect with a dreamy amount of acreage for expansion….

      On the other hand, we could find a cheaper alternative and fix it up

      It would be nice if someone would donate a space for the community to use.
      Tax write off anyone?

      Even though we have allowed bad people to take over our city government, we can change this path. We have been given the most beautiful place on earth to raise our children. We owe it to God and to future generations to make things right.

    • new ideas needed says:

      The Boys and Girls club and a place for teenagers really cannot wait for years for the City Council to begin to care about the needs of youth.Had this been done before the high school party last year, perhaps a rape could have been prevented.

      This group can use kickstart or another way to generate donations in order to rent a building that is already built. There are plenty of rentals. We do not need 10 million dollars and years of waiting time.

      In all the talk about the party and what happened in homer and how the community has implemented changes….why hasn’t anyone mentioned the Homer Prevention Project?

      The Homer Prevention Project got one million to prevent teen drinking and the director is just pocketing the money in a huge salary, travel expenses, office expenses…and they are doing absolutely nothing but running ads in the paper.

      This money from the Homer Prevention Project belongs to the people of Homer, not the director that planted themselves there and is taking all of the money.

      The money from the Homer Prevention Project would go a long way toward rental of a building for a Boys and Girls club/Teen center.

  2. who do they work for? says:

    on the Recreation center that has been requested of the city council on several occasions….

    “Their response is that they have not heard from the people of Homer; the citizens who live here.”

    What happened last winter when you gave someone $15,000 to tell us it would cost 10 million for a rec center and that it was never going to happen? Is the city council experiencing collective amnesia?

    The city council has been hearing from the people of Homer about the need for a Boys and Girls club and community rec center for quite some time now. They have been asked and they have condescendingly and consistently denied what the community has asked for.

    Now all of a sudden they are asking for 15 million for a new police/fire station in the exact same location that everyone wanted to use. And they are going to pretend they had no public input on the community center?

    Where is the group that has been going to city council meetings asking for a huge new and incredibly expensive police/fire station?

    There isn’t one. The public has not been asking for this. The public wanted a rec center and we get a huge new jail instead. What is wrong with this picture?

    • interesting says:

      On the one hand the city says that they have not heard from the people of Homer that they want a rec center….then in another article in the paper…

      “The council is anticipating public outcry about the loss of facilities for the city recreation program”

      They know what the public wants, they just don’t care.

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