Homer recall effort fails, council members retain their seats

Jun 16, 2017

Council Members Tom Stroozas, David Lewis, Mayor Bryan Zak, Heath Smith, Shelly Erickson, Donna Aderhold and Catriona Reynolds.
Credit City of Homer

Three Homer City Council members subject of a highly contentious recall effort will retain their seats. Each council member was voted on individually. After the election day Tuesday, each council member obtained little over 50 percent of the regular vote.

Margins widened since the unofficial results. David Lewis and Donna Aderhold both took 57 percent of the vote and Catriona Reynolds came away with 56 percent.

All three council members had one word for how they felt, vindicated. Reynolds was notified of the results by phone.

“I felt elated at that point. I feel like this has given clear direction as to the fact that recall in this situation was not acceptable to the majority of the community,” Reynolds said.

All the council members say they tried not to focus too much on the count as the canvas board worked through much of the afternoon. The results were announced shortly after 5 p.m. Friday.

Several supporters of the pro-recall political action committee, Heartbeat of Homer, attended the entire canvas board meeting. Heartbeat spokeswoman Sarah Vance looked disappointed as she walked out of the council chambers.

“Of course we are disappointed in the outcome that they’re not being recalled,” Vance explained. “Because we feel that they definitely were dishonest in their dealings over the issues, but the people have spoken and we’ll proceed from here.”

Vance is happy with the strong voter turnout, which was around 41 percent. Vance has said Heartbeat isn’t going away, but declined to say what topics it would focus on next.  Now that the recall is over, she said the town needs to be accepting of each other despite beliefs and political views.

“I hope we don’t go back to the way things were before because we need to proceed and find a new normal,” Vance noted.

Lewis, who said he’s not going to the “campfire to sing Kumbaya” at the last council meeting, still thinks it will be hard for the politically divided town to reconcile.

“You know I went back and read some of the articles and we’ve been called Marxists and all sorts of stuff,” Lewis said. “That doesn’t go away.”

Lewis, a three-term councilmember, does not plan to run again in October, a decision he came to before the recall. Council member Reynolds’ term is also up this year. She noted the recall issue made her decide not to run. Reynolds added other commitments have also led her to that decision.

Aderhold, who will remain on the council until 2018, said it’s too early to decide. Aderhold did say she’s excited to have more time in her personal life.

“I write a lot, and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. I’m looking forward to getting back to running, doing some other things that give me peace of mind,” she said.

The city council will hold a special meeting Monday at 4 p.m. to finalize the election results. 

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