Homer council decides to seat new member whose residency was questioned - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 11, 2020
HomePoliticsHomer council decides to seat new member whose residency was questioned

Homer council decides to seat new member whose residency was questioned

Photo of Storm Hansen-Cavasos

The Homer City Council reviewed and evidence and in the end voted 4-1 to seat Storm Hansen-Cavasos, who was elected to the council Oct. 1, but who faced a challenge as to her residency.

The argument on the side of allowing her to serve was that she had testified that she had moved into town, and so had her mother. Council members said they didn’t want to call her a liar, and that she apparently intended to move inside city limits.

But council member Heath Smith said the decision needed to be based on objective information, such as Hansen-Cavasos’ voter identification and the fact that she had signed leases in the borough — outside city limits — and was apparently living there during most of 2018 and 2019. To qualify for the ballot, a candidate must live inside Homer city limits for a year prior to the election.

Smith’s was the lone vote in dissent during the special council meeting held Monday afternoon to decide the matter, which came to light after the Oct. 1 election. A formal investigation had been authorized by the council on Oct. 14, at the same time Hansen-Cavasos was sworn in.

About a dozen people spoke after today’s council vote affirmed Hansen-Cavasos as the winner.

Tom Stroozas, former city council member who lost to Hansen-Cavasos and one other challenger, said the council had become lawless:

“I cited Alaska statute 15.05.020, which simply states the address on a person’s voter registration is presumptive of their residency. She [Hansen-Cavasos] didn’t change her voter registration until Aug, 2019,” said Stroozas. “In her testimony last week she made an excuse, saying she had just overlooked it.”

[Read: Homer City Council winner faces residency challenge]

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • It figures that Homer would be the place to try and make a point about how borders are meaningless and so anyone can do whatever there.

  • “Cause rules are meant to be broken“…………….???????

  • Sue the council, Force the council to obey the law.

  • This is craziness!! I live outside Homer city limits close to where she lives. This now means I should be able to vote in city elections!

  • I’m surprised Homer City Council did not uphold their own laws. Unsure how that will play with people and young adults in the future. What will resonate with others is the fact the City Council selectively applied their own rules. Now I understand a bit more how Zac Brown, upon purchasing his home and land……was then challenged by his “neighbor” for right of way, successfully sued, and subsequently lost.

  • If you can chose your gender, why not chose your residence? After all, illegals are encouraged to get a voter card (D) in California. Its the intent that matters!

  • She identifies as a City of Homer resident, therefore she is. What does it mater if she doesn’t pay property taxes, water and sewer bills, mortgage payments, natural gas assessments, garbage collection bills? She’s been up the hill to enjoy the view. She couch surfs at her mother’s house. She keeps her dogs out of town because she signed a lease. Her husband lives in Hawaii because he likes it there. Her Mom takes a Senior exemption with the KPB but her adult daughter and grand children “live with her” as her affidavit swears. What a tangled web they weave.

  • The Homer City Council basically sent the message that if you identify as a City resident you’re ok, despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. Terrible vetting process – this should never have gotten so far. Wonder when the first lawsuit will be filed.

  • AS 15.05.020(8) The address of a voter as it appears on the official voter registration record is PRESUMPTIVE evidence of the person’s voting residence. It is not DIS-POSITIVE evidence of the person’s residence.
    There are 7 other rules – which primarily involve ‘intent’- that can be applied to determining ‘residence’. The Homer City Council’s decision will most likely stand.
    Go on to other more important battles.

    • Exactly – and her voter registration was changed a month or so before the election. Homer has a one year residency requirement to be eligible to run for elected office. Her previous voter registration was outside of Homer, so according to your argument she was not eligible to run for office. Also, at the special Council meeting it was stated that her PFD applications all indicated her address was outside Homer city limits. She was, and apparently still is, leasing a house out of town. Neighbors and co-workers have stated that she is not a resident of Homer. The City Clerk dropped the ball on this one. Ms. Hansen should never have been permitted to run for office in the first place.
      And yes this is an important matter. Would you want folks who have no skin in the game voting on bonding, taxing and capital construction budgets where bona fide residents will bear the financial consequences? I doubt it.

      • John,
        I reside within the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and served on the assembly. So I understand what you mean by “folks who have no skin in the game voting on bonding, taxing, and capital construction budgets …”
        Unfortunately, I have found the status of one’s residency has little to do with their propensity to force others to pay for government services. (The performance of state legislators also seems to confirm this gloomy hypothesis.)
        We simply find ourselves in a society that has reverted back to tribalism, which means we will have many battles to fight for many years to come. So we have to pick our battles in order to preserve the energy needed to continue fighting.
        Therefore, I was trying to encourage people to read AS 15.05.020(8) in its entirety and consider how the court would probably rule before devoting a lot of time pursuing this particular fight.

        • The Homer City Code calls for a one-year residency in order to run for office. I would have to assume it was written to prevent the situation that we find ourselves in now. If we allow this to stand then I would much rather the City of Homer dissolve itself & instead form a South Peninsula Borough. Then all the folks that live out East End that identify as Homeroids can feel the joy of the additional taxes the City residents currently pay. Then they can run for elected office without hiring an activist lawyer.

  • Homer has become a California sewer city. I would not go there for anything. Make up the rules as you go.

    • Homer is glad you don’t go there. Everyone’s talking about it.

      • What a fool you look like. I am sure Homer is going broke because of me.

  • Let me guess. Ole Stormy will probably be the liberal swing vote on the Homer city council. She could live in Talkeetna and likely still be a “representative” for Homer citizens, as far as many are concerned (enough to seat her). Homer citizens, “gird your loins”, for what’s in your future. Rules aren’t really rules when it comes to dims/libs/socialists. Worst part is, they keep doing it, seeming at will, with none of the consequences that any conservative would certainly face. The dim strategy. All’s fair in power grabs. Voting is just a nuisance.

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