Former councilmember's request for injunction denied in suit against the city

Dec 12, 2019

From left: Former Homer City Councilmembers Tom Stroozas and Shelly Erickson and current Councilmember Storm Hansen-Cavasos at a candidates forum at Homer Public Library prior to the 2019 municipal election.
Credit KBBI

On Monday December 9, Anchorage Superior Court denied former Homer City Councilmember Thomas Stroozas’ request that the court issue an injunction ordering the council to remove Storm Hansen-Cavasos from the Homer City Council pending resolution of his lawsuit.

Stroozas, represented by attorneys Thomas Amodio and Keri-Ann Baker, is suing the city and the city council asserting that Hansen-Cavasos was ineligible to run as a candidate because she did not meet Homer City Code's one-year residence requirement.

Presiding Judge Josie Garton has since released her supplemental order explaining why the court denied the injunction.
Quoting from the supplemental order:
 “Because Stroozas has not demonstrated a clear probability of the suit’s success on its merits.”

The court did agree Stroozas established that all city voters are harmed by the seating of an ineligible candidate. But said they must also apply that standard to the defendant, The City of Homer, and the council. Voters will also be harmed by a legally elected candidate being prevented from serving, the order says.

Stroozas’s suit asks the court to unseat Hansen-Cavasos and seat incumbent candidate Shelly Erickson in her place but in oral arguments on Monday, court documents say that the request to seat Erickson was abandoned and Stoozas instead challenged Homer City Clerk Melissa Jacobson’s actions in allowing Hansen-Cavasos on the ballot after determining that she had changed her voter registration on August 8, 2019.

In the order, Judge Garton put down the argument that Hansen-Cavasos’s date of voter registration indicates her length of residency in Homer City limits citing Homer City Code.

Quote: “…the residence of a person is that place in which habitation is fixed, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has intention to return.”

The Judge ruled that the date when a Homer resident registers to vote does not define or determine, as a matter of law, proof or disproof of their fixed habitation and so Stroozas request for an injunction was denied.

Calls to Tom Stroozas have not yet been returned. Thomas Amodio, attorney for Stroozas said in a conversation with KBBI that he will be available to speak when the judge rules on the lawsuits.
The City of Homer has not yet been called to their next court date as Stroozas’ suits against the city progress.