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Homer residents weigh in on local election

Shahla Farzan/KBBI

Across the Kenai Peninsula today, residents are heading to the polls to vote. In Homer’s city election, community members are deciding whether to prohibit thin plastic bags. They are also choosing which candidates to elect for two seats on the city council.

Homer voters are passionate about the issue of whether or not to ban thin plastic bags.

“The one [issue] that sticks in my craw the most is probably that one because it has been voted on,” said Homer resident Charles Anderson.

In 2012, the Homer City Council passed a similar ban. But the ordinance was in place less than a year and was repealed through a citizen’s initiative. Anderson says he voted to abolish the ban back then and today.

He doesn’t think the ban will make an environmental difference.

“I have to have some bag go into my garbage in my bathroom,” he said. “And so when I don't get to recycle a bag, I have to go and buy garbage bags. And so the reality is that the use of bags may be hidden, but there’s still are going to be plastic bags used.”

Resident Margaret Lau also hopes that this issue can be put to bed.

“I hope we don't have to have another election to eliminate them,” she said.

She feels strongly that the bags should be banned.

“I feel that the wildlife that we have in the water and on the roads and everything is more important than a plastic bag and I have cloth bags,” she said.

Also on the ballot today are two seats on Homer city council. Resident Lynne Burt was swayed by candidate Storm Hansen-Cavasos. The political newcomer focused in part on investing in youth recreation and bringing back the Boys and Girls club, an afterschool program for kids.

“I was so sad when that closed,” said Burt. “It was awful. So, whatever we can do to get that happening again.”

She also likes first-time candidate Joey Evensen. Evensen is a geologist, and Burt says she likes what she considers his scientific approach to the council.

“He seems less driven by his agenda, an agenda for the town, and more like what is the overall scope for the whole future?” she said.

But Resident Dennis Bird isn’t so enamored with the new candidates. He’s voting for incumbents Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas.

“Well, if they maintain the same stances they’ve taken in the past, I'll be completely satisfied,” he said.

He says he appreciates their fiscally conservative standpoints. Resident Jeff Murphy feels the same.

“I've just had interactions with them in the past, and I agreed with their viewpoints and outlook,” he said.

KBBI will be announcing the unofficial results of the election tonight on air, on and on Facebook.

Kathleen Gustafson contributed to this report.

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.