Homer City Council backs away from ‘resist’ resolution

Homer, Alaska dock scene. (Photo: Homer Visitors Guide)

‘LIVE AND LET LIVE’ PRINCIPLES REMAIN

The coast is clear: People of all political opinions and social views may enter the town of Homer, where the tradition of “live and let live” is alive and well. The push by a few liberals to quash opposing political viewpoints has been quieted, at least for now.

It was standing room only Monday night as more than 100 people came through the Cowles Council Chambers at Homer City Hall to give the council a piece of their mind on a “resist Trump resolution” sponsored by three of the six council members.

In the end, most members of the Homer City Council said the resolution, which started as a statement of rebuke against the Trump presidency, was too divisive, even in its softened version. The vote was 5-1 against Resolution 17-09.

Testimony, which went about three to one against the resolution, ended at 9:40 pm. That’s when the council members took turns making comments and stating how they would be voting.

Council member Donna Aderhold, one of the sponsors of the resolution, thanked people for testifying and explained that a lot of their testimony was inaccurate. She felt the resolution had been misunderstood and added that it was her job to bring these types of issues to the council. In in the end she said she would be a “no” vote, because there was too much friction over it.

Council member David Lewis, another sponsor of the resolution, backed away from supporting it as well.

Council member Shelly Erickson expressed her sadness that the resolution had divided the community and caused hurt feelings and damage. She, too, would be a no vote.

Another who said he’d vote no was council member Tom Stroozas, who noted that with over 100 people giving testimony, not much was left to be said.

In the end, only council member Catriona Reynolds remained in favor of it, saying that “folks who were for the resolution were probably not able to come.”

Hal Spence, a former news reporter, is a Homer resident who had worked on the draft. It came as a result of unhappiness with the election of Trump, he told an AP reporter, and he intended it to create debate.

Some who testified said that, although the second version was much softer, they were not able to forget the origins of the resolution, which was a harsh rebuke of the Trump presidency. In the 2016 election, Homer had actually swung for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, 779 to 613.

The original version of Resolution 17-09 revealed the drafters’ deep antipathy toward President Trump, as shown here:

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF HOMER, ALASKA, STATING THAT THE CITY OF HOMER ADHERES TO THE PRINCIPLE OF INCLUSION AND HEREIN COMMITTING THIS CITY TO RESISTING EFFORTS TO DIVIDE THIS COMMUNITY WITH REGARD TO RACE, RELIGION, ETHNICITY, GENDER, NATIONAL ORIGIN, PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGARDLESS OF THE ORIGIN OF THOSE EFFORTS, INCLUDING FROM LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL AGENCIES.

WHEREAS, A new administration is in power in Washington, D.C. without a popular mandate;

WHEREAS, During his campaign, President Donald Trump made statements offensive and harmful to the rights of women; immigrants; religious, racial, and ethnic minorities; veterans; the disabled; LGBTQ citizens; and the general public; and that such statements have continued since his election; and

WHEREAS, The President on numerous occasions has stated clearly his disregard for freedom of speech; freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; and freedom of religion, particularly with regard to Muslim Americans; and

WHEREAS, The President has not disavowed his intention to create a registry of Muslim Americans and now intends to ban Muslims from entering the United States; and

WHEREAS, The President now is following through on his promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, including millions brought here as children who have grown up to know no other life than that of an American; and

WHEREAS, The President now is following through on plans to build a wall on the border separating the United States from Mexico without apparent regard to its cost, its effects upon our nation’s economy, or its sociological ramifications, and to impose an ideological test for entry into our country; and

WHEREAS, The President has promised to repeal federal regulations protecting LGBTQ citizens; and

WHEREAS, The President already has issued executive orders to effect the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which provides tens of millions of Americans with health care insurance coverage; and

WHEREAS, The President has issued executive orders to rescind certain women’s reproductive rights; and

WHEREAS, The President has promised to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and to remove other environmental protections instituted under the previous administration, and has begun a process to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency; and

WHEREAS, Before and especially since the election, some citizens have been emboldened to express overtly an intolerance of diversity that is opposed to the views of most Homer residents and most Americans; and

WHEREAS, The President’s cabinet nominees have expressed views similar to those laid out in the whereas clauses above and thus are largely out of step with the attitudes of most Homer residents; and

WHEREAS, The presidential election has exposed deep social and political divisions among Americans and these divisions threaten the general peace as expressions of intolerance rise; and

WHEREAS, The City of Homer recognizes that while the minority community here may be relatively small, it may be vulnerable, and that if those residents feel in any way threatened simply because they are minorities, the City should be on record as opposing all such intolerance; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Homer unequivocally rejects expressions of fear and hate wherever they may exist, and specifically rejects harassment of women, immigrants, religious minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ individuals.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer embraces all people regardless of skin color, country of birth, faith, sex, gender, marital status, or abilities; and that the City of Homer will not waver in its commitment to inclusion and to continuing to create a village safe for a diverse population.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer will resist any and all efforts to profile undocumented immigrants or any other vulnerable population.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer will cooperate with federal agencies in detaining undocumented immigrants when court-issued federal warrants are delivered.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer shall steadfastly defend the United States and Alaska constitutions, especially with regard to the former’s precedent-backed right of privacy and the latter’s specified right of privacy (Article 1, Section 22), and safeguard the rights declared in the Bill of Rights.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer will continue its staunch support of our local police in their ongoing efforts to enforce law and protect our community and its visitors in a just, unbiased and transparent manner.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer will declare itself a safety net for the most vulnerable members of and visitors to our community.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Homer calls on all its citizens to stand against intolerance and resist expressions of hate toward any members of the community, and thus to set an example for the rest of the nation, demonstrating that Homer residents and Alaskans adhere to the principle of live-and-let-live.

The revised version, which failed passage, is here.

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