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City Council discusses Spit parking plan, "No Patient Left Behind Act"

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer
City of Homer

On April 25, the Homer City Council met in the Cowles Council Chambers. In the Committee of the Whole, senior engineer for HDL consultants Stephanie Mormilo, along with Harbormaster Brian Hawkins, discussed Phase One of the Homer Spit Parking Plan study. The goal of the study is to provide more parking with easier access and less traffic congestion on the Spit. Some recommendations were to begin discussions with DOT as soon as possible, the implementation of more paid parking, and turning lots adjacent to Fish Dock road into additional parking. Harbormaster Hawkins said that the Port and Harbor Committee also wanted to make improvements to the Seafarer Memorial and remove parking by the memorial to eliminate vehicular congestion in the right of way. Hawkins says that no further action is needed from the council unless the Port and Harbor commission needs funding for more improvements.

In the regular meeting the City Council adopted two ordinances. The first was Ordinance 22-21 which amended the FY 22 capital budget allowing $13,800 to the City Clerk's office and for equipment for City hall. They also adopted Ordinance 22-22 which would allow for the purchase of a 2500-gallon tender water truck, however City Manager Rob Dumouchel said that the city wouldn’t acquire the water tender for another two years.

The council also discussed Resolution 22-35. It would show City support for Alaska House bill 252 or the ‘No Patient Left Behind Act’. HB 252 was sponsored by over 14 representatives, including District 31 Representative Sarah Vance who introduced the bill. It would require emergency medical providers to allow patients to pick a support person to be present during the patient’s treatment. Councilmember Erickson proposed the resolution for a letter of support from the Council.

“I just brought it forward, because I think that it would be good, that it needs to be addressed,” said Erickson. “Because there's a lot of people on both sides and people that are still devastated and hurting within our community that were not able to be at the hospital with their loved ones when they were dying.”

However, many members of the Council were not in favor of the resolution, including Councilmember, Rachel Lord. She said while it is important for patients to be with loved ones, the issue is safety.

“Because I mean, those are all very heartfelt and real. And I agree with you, one hundred percent,” said Lord addressing Erickson. “[But] they don't speak at all to what Davis asked of ‘what if you have a disease with a fatality rate of 3%’? What if it's Ebola? And when does somebody's right to have a loved one with them infringe on my right to have myself or my loved one be kept safe?”

The resolution failed with a vote of two yes and four no. The yes votes were cast by Councilmembers Erickson and Hansen-Cavasos.

The library advisory commission also named Douglas Bailey to the Library Advisory board. He will be formally appointed at the next council meeting.

The next regular Homer City Council meeting will be May 9, 2022 at 6PM held in the Council Chambers and on ZOOM.

Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Desiree has called Alaska ‘home’ for almost two decades. Her involvement in radio began over 10 years, first as a volunteer DJ at KBBI, later as a host and producer, and now in her current role as a reporter. Her passions include stories relating to agriculture, food systems and rural issues. In her spare time, she can often be found riding her bicycle, creating art from handmade paper, or working in the garden.