Letters – March 5

Drathman to be missed by many

The City of Homer is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former City Manager Ron Drathman.
Mayor Wythe, the Homer City Council and the City Administration extend condolences to Ron’s family and to his many friends and colleagues. The City wishes to honor Ron and remember his many contributions to this community during his lifetime.
Ron’s professional life was active, interesting and very productive. His professional accomplishments were extensive and he contributed through many outlets, but he will likely be remembered most by his public roles as a defense attorney, Borough Assembly Member and City Manager.
Ron had many attributes, but the one that stands out the most to those who worked with him was his ability to tell a good yarn and make people laugh. He will be sorely missed by many.
Walt Wrede
City manager

Feeding our families by ‘luck of the draw?’

Alaska’s moose population, as well as other game, continues to dissipate. Meanwhile, once again, approximately 700 Alaskans have lost their constitutional right of access to subsistence meat, along with their right to sport hunt due to “the luck of the draw.” (Anchorage Daily News, Feb. 26).
As such, the State of Alaska has allowed 700 permits to be issued to foreign nationals and non-resident hunters. That gives them precedence over Alaskan’s subsistence and sport-food gathering rights, provided for and guaranteed under the eighth amendment to the Alaska Constitution.
Wealthy local and non-resident big-game guides take in millions of dollars from foreign nationals and non-residents. This is done at the expense of resident Alaskans, who are thus denied their right to gather meat statewide for their families to subsist upon.
How much longer will it take until our alleged Alaska Legislature accepts the fact that our state ceased to be a safari destination for the world upon statehood? No Alaska family should be forced to enter a lottery with foreign nationals and non-residents, hoping to put meat in the freezer for their families by “the luck of the draw.”
John Anderson
Kenai

Questioning the cruelty of the Iditarod

 A few years ago, I visited Alaska to explore the possibility of one day pursuing my dream to participate in the Iditarod. I went home with memories of glorious vistas and the warmth and courage of most of the Alaska people. My opinion of the Iditarod has radically changed.  
 I watched, with my own eyes, a dog being repeatedly punched, kicked and slammed to the ground by a top-10 Iditarod musher. As hideous as that was, what haunts me most is knowing the dogs spend the vast majority of their lives on the end of a chain running circles into the frozen soil. To think about the senseless numbers of dogs who pay with their lives in the quest to breed a champion. The “slow” puppies are shotgun fodder.
 It is 2014, and time to acknowledge the stark truth of the Iditarod’s cruelty. We can and must all work to change this inhumane mindset; please have the courage to speak up with me.

Jane Stevens
Byron Bay, Australia


Keeping Alaskans in a ‘State’ of confusion

The “education session,” the “gasline project,” the “fiscal cliff;” which is it? Can legislators just pick one and get something done during this legislative session? Alaska’s future depends on it.
One need watch only a little of Gavel Alaska to see that partisan politics is in the driver’s seat right now.  Not surprising, since it is an election year. Good leadership is so badly needed.
In his State of the State speech, Governor Sean Parnell asked sides to come out of their trenches and work together. I had a moment of relief, and then he threw his grenades, declared this the “education session,” and submitted SJR9. This amends our state constitution; grenade one.  Then he threw his support to share public school funds with private school choice; grenade two. 
Supporters of SJR9 say it isn’t about money. But it is clearly about money. And, it’s about amending the constitution. What a distraction from the gasline project. Alaskans are now pitted against each other over education funding. Education is near and dear to the hearts of most Alaskans. So, now the war is on. Good job, Governor. I’d say, “bad timing.”
Add to the raging education war, the gasline project and oil tax legislation; both critical to our economic future. To date, no apparent consensus is emerging via legislative hearings. In fact, there is deep division.  Why couldn’t the governor have declared this the “economic session,” I ask myself.  The younger generation must have a job — or better yet, a career. Nothing is more important than a robust economy. 
I have to wonder if the education/constitution grenades were deliberate distractions; a political strategy. I’d say, “focus legislators, focus!”
It is very difficult to listen to the Gasline Project (SB138) hearings. It is incredibly boring, but one message about the complexity of this strange partnership with giant oil producers is getting through loud and clear. Perhaps we, the state, are in over our heads. I don’t know how it’s going to work with so many moving parts. Intelligent arguments are being pitted against the deal struck by Gov. Parnell. On top of that, there is no trust on either side — let alone with the general public. I know we don’t have a lot of time to figure it out. I’d say, “focus people, focus.”
Then, there is the dark and looming “fiscal cliff.” We cannot have a good education system or healthy economy without money to invest in both. I don’t agree with the popular opinion to cut program spending. I do support cutting government size and spending. State operations and the capital budget could be the first step in reduced spending if we had courageous leadership.
Smart budgeting and internal audits would produce millions in savings. However, I don’t see any political will to go this direction. One can only hope. I don’t believe the sky is falling or any other doomsday predictions. I’d say, “start at the top administration.”
In summary, I’m confused. I doubt I’m the only one. Courageous leadership can take us out of confusion and lead us into prosperity. Fortunately, it is an election year, so we get to choose in November. Every election counts. Vote, vote, vote.
Leaddog Alaska, AKA Tara Jollie
Deputy Commissioner, DOL, retired
Dir. Community and Regional Affairs, retired

Animal pals test trivia talents

Homer Animal Friends’ first-ever trivia night/silent auction is now history. Thank you very much to everyone who took part in the event and supported HAF. What a terrific evening!
The success of this event would not have been possible without countless volunteers. Special thanks to Gary Thomas for emceeing the event, all of the local businesses that donated prizes and silent auction items, local restaurants that provided delicious food and everyone who played on the teams. It was a spirited competition. We look forward to the next trivia night.
Lynn Kee
Homer Animal Friends

What’s cooking for youth over Spring Break?

The R.E.C. Room is planning some super entertaining and educational programs over spring break and we want youth ages 12-18 to get involved.
On Tuesday, March 11, from 3-6 p.m. at the R.E.C. Room, we’re hosting a Langar FORK Club Cooking class taught by local yoga teachers and cooks, Anna Raupp and Kayla Spaan.
Langar is a traditional concept which includes cooking, serving and eating vegetarian meals together. We will learn to cook an inexpensive, healthy and tasty meal together — all while having a whole lotta fun!
Sign-up for FORK Club is required. Contact the R.E.C. Room. These popular cooking classes for youth would not be possible without support from the Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee.
We’re stoked to announce that Homer will again be hosting another spoken word/slam poetry session with Brave New Alaskan Voices from March 12-15. BNAV is a program targeted for youth ages 13-19 to publicly perform their own written works. The writing workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 12 from 3-5:30 p.m. A performance workshop will happen on Thursday, March 13 from 3-5:30 p.m.
The final workshop is Friday, March 14, and will cover music production in collaboration with Youth On Record AK. This workshop is also from 3-5:30 p.m. A tentative performance is also in the works, so stay tuned. All youth have to do for the writing workshops is show up at the R.E.C. Room at that time.
Bringing this youth slam poetry group back down from Anchorage to empower Homer youth would not be possible without sponsorship by Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Cosmic Agents with support from Homer Foundation’s Willow Fund.
The FORK Club cooking class and BNAV workshops are all free for youth ages 12-18. Get involved, get inspired and get pumped. For more information, call 235-6736 or email: recroom@kbfpc.org

Anna Meredith
Youth Program Manager
KBFPC’s R.E.C. Room

No progress without you

A sincere thank you goes to the Homer Foundation, and specifically the Ashley J. Logan Fund, from Kachemak Ski Club.  Despite the lack of snow this year, we are optimistic, and working on improvements, including development of a new website.  And with your help, we are now on the way to promoting the rope tow and the history of tow, in operation since 1948! 
You are also helping the club with partial payment of insurance, our largest yearly expense.   This enables us to keep our daily fees at the gate low for families and youth of Homer.   
And lastly, we are very excited about having your help to purchase and install a new wireless cut off switch, for the operator at the top of the hill.  This will allow our volunteer operator to stand closer to the tow, and move about, shoveling snow in the tow path and retrieving lost mittens if necessary, instead of being glued to the seat in the little hut.   Thank you Homer Foundation, and the Ashley J. Logan Fund – we couldn’t make this progress without you.
Nell Gustafson

International Women’s Day March 8

We face a new conflict in Europe and the Middle East. Russia has moved troops into Ukraine. The Russian-approved president fled the country. We can’t know whether our country could be drawn into a war, but we know this will reduce justice and democratic trends in Ukraine.
What can we do to reduce the chance that ethnic and religious conflicts will continue across the world? My answer is that we should increase the chance that people across the world will get a chance to obtain food, shelter, education, health care, justice, and freedom.
Kachemak Human Rights Watch is a small, informal group in Homer that promotes justice and equality. To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, we are showing the PBS film, “Half the Sky” Part 1, Saturday at 1:30-3:30 p.m., and Part 2, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 3:30-5:30 p.m. We have tentative approval to show ”Half the Sky” at the Homer library conference room. Everyone is welcome. To confirm the location, please call Amy Bollenbach at 235-6954, or the library at 235-3180.
The film features extraordinary women and men who promote justice for the most abused people in the world: women and girls in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The same abuse including sex trafficking and female genital mutilation follows immigrants to Anchorage, and maybe even to Homer.
The stories of human rights workers may give us hope that we can help transform the oppression of girls and women into opportunities for improved health, education, and justice.
Amy Bollenbach

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Posted by on Mar 4th, 2014 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.

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