LGBTQ mayoral proclamation causes controversy in Homer

Jun 11, 2018

Credit Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

Editor's note: This is an ongoing story. Check back for updates.

The Homer City Council’s meeting Monday was canceled after a mayoral proclamation caused some controversy. The proclamation celebrated the LGBTQ community in Homer, and declared June as “Homer Pride Month.”

The meeting was canceled late Monday afternoon when council members Tom Stroozas, Shelly Erickson and Heath Smith alerted they city that they could not attend.

City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen says well over 70 emails both for and against the proclamation poured in throughout the day.

Council member Tom Stroozas says he pulled out of the meeting because of the proclamation and said that it had remnants of a resolution from 2017 regarding inclusivity. The “inclusivity resolution” as it’s known was the basis for a divisive recall attempt against three council members last summer. Stroozas says Mayor Zak’s proclamation is similarly divisive.

“We’re trying to prevent that from happening again and creating a brouhaha in the council chambers tonight,” Stroozas said.

Smith and Erikson could not be reached in time for this story.

Council members Donna Aderhold and Caroline Venuti said they were both surprised by their peers’ actions.

“I think it’s kind of a slap in the face to the voters particularly and the people of our area that wanted Homer to accept the diversity that we have,” Venuti said. “When they just don’t show up and you cancel an entire meeting, it really is too bad for our city that this can happen.”

Local political group Citizens AKtion Network, known as CAN, also condemned the council members.

“This actually is dereliction of duty, and it certainly seems to be an offense that is worthy of recall. I'm not in favor of recalling these three for a number of reasons, but we need to beat them soundly at the ballot box,” CAN wrote in an internal email forwarded onto KBBI.

Zak still plans to read the proclamation at 6 p.m. outside of City Hall.

Correction: An earlier version of story incorrectly attributed where Citizens AKtion Network’s statement came from. The group stated that the council members’ refusal to attend the Homer City Council’s meeting Monday was a recallable offense in an internal communication.