OPINION: Letters - May 18
May 18th, 2017 | Staff Report
Yet again, I find myself compelled to write a letter on the upcoming recall and the lawsuit from the ACLU on the city.?
The recalled city council members cry that they have first amendment rights, but if it was somebody else bringing the initial resolution to them, why is it "their" first amendment rights being affected??Questions have come up on their right to sponsor whatever has been brought to them.?I ask this in all sincerity.?What if I had asked them to make this city "officially" a non-sanctuary city, would they have sponsored it??I think not.?
Aside from government overreach in all areas of government, pushing an agenda that was known to be controversial, shows me that they don't have the rights of each and every citizen in mind.?Loss of federal funding, loss of peace and goodwill between our citizens and bringing in heavy-hitters who neither knew our town, our was and quite frankly, don't care about it. Let's not mention all the people that wrote they wouldn't bring family and visitors to Homer anymore. All of these things add up to a selfish, unpopular act that affected negatively more than 50 percent of the population here in Homer.?
To complain that the cost of a recall election brought by the petitioners for the recall show how hypocritical that is when compared with ACLU attorneys?The nation is watching this and the fallout (no matter what happens) makes the future of visits, sales of lodging, food and trinkets questionable. Who loves Homer??I'm beginning to think it isn't them, for sure!
Last week, I graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. I'm so thankful that the perfect college experience for me was available right here in Homer at the Kachemak Bay Campus (KBC) of Kenai Peninsula College?
It all began eight and a half years ago when I was a "homeschooler," and took one of KBC's basic math courses to brush up my skills for the GED exam. Jan Peyton and Lolita Brache helped me with the GED process, and mentioned KBC had college courses I could enroll in afterwards. In my first semester, I took Fundamentals of Biology with Dr. Debbie Tobin, and her enthusiastic teaching made me fall in love with biology. I knew right away that would be my major, even though a lot of math would be required, which I dreaded. I made it through though, with the help of the very patient Associate Professor Sara Reinert and numerous tutors?
My course work was a combination of classes at KBC and distance learning (live video conference and online), with two years of additional upper-level courses on campus in Anchorage. I also had fantastic opportunities for hands-on learning through KBC's "Semester by the Bay" program, which offers upper-level marine science courses; a U.S. Fish & Wildlife internship; and a research technician job through UAA with a veterinary pathologist. I couldn't have asked for a better college experience.
I intend to work in Alaska and am grateful to KBC's wonderful faculty and staff—and to the people of this community and the Kenai Peninsula who value and support education. It's all of you who made it possible for me to prepare for a career in my home state?
Unfortunately, as state funds have been cut for Alaska's university system, tuition and fees have increased. This makes it harder for students like me to afford college?
I hope that our Alaska legislature, as well as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, will not make more cuts to funding for higher education in Alaska. We need a strong university system, which must include community campuses, so that more people who want to live and work in Alaska are able to continue education and training after high school. For people like me — and there are many of us — what is really our only chance to do this can be?— and must be— our first and best choice.?
Trusting the Russians
The American government needs to subcontract out to the KGB or the GRU Russian Intelligence Agency to do the investigation on the connection of the White House with the Russians and the 2016 election interference?They can do it much cheaper and faster? They are the ones who have the most information on this in the first place?
If we have someone from the American government do this, it will cost a lot of money, will be delayed for many years and in the end it will be a political finding instead of a real finding because the American government cannot be trusted.
Artist inspires students
During April 20 to 27, Little Fireweed students were fortunate to have Debbie Piper share her experience integrating art and literature, with not only the students, but as professional development for the teachers. We studied textured paper making techniques and then immersed the entire school in a morning of creating our paper.
We explored various art prints to read pictures taking us through the creative process to develop a collage scene.
After adding the characters, students then crafted a story and shared this whole process with their parents in a celebration that showcased a community of artists and writers. Theodore Roosevelt, the Conservation President, was an inspiration to our final theme celebration making Teddy Bear collages and inviting our teddy bears to tea.
Thank you Debbie Piper and wonderful parent volunteers for helping literature and art come to life.
Mo Wilkinson, Betsy Vanek and Kim Fine
Little Fireweed Academy teachers
Everyone's voice needs to be heard
After spending part of the winter out of Alaska, I returned home six weeks ago and am still a little shocked to hear what feels like a focus on division in our beloved community.
I hear so much talk of "for and against." I personally have valued participating in our public process — mostly because of all of our council members' willingness to hear diverse opinions?
They have helped me understand how to craft needed ordinances, and made so much of their time available to take all forms of citizen input, which fosters the best outcomes.
Some of this seems to be what has been targeted as inappropriate in the recall effort, yet it's the stuff I myself value most. Conflict can always bring greater insight, or it can be destructive; let's not forget how much common ground we have together.
Whatever you think, I hope you will vote in June, so we can get back to hearing from everyone on the issues. I myself will vote "no" on the recall, because I think we need all of our unique and different voices. We need to let our council do their work, if we want to keep our community strong and vibrant.