LGBTQ mayoral proclamation causes controversy in Homer

Homer City Hall (Photo courtesy of City of Homer)

The Homer City Council’s meeting was canceled Monday after a mayoral proclamation caused some controversy.

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The proclamation celebrated the LGBTQ community in Homer, and declared June as “Homer Pride Month.”

More than 70 emails both for and against the proclamation poured in throughout the day, City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen said.

Council members Tom Stroozas, Shelly Erickson and Heath Smith alerted the city that they could not attend, which forced the cancellation of the meeting.

Council member Tom Stroozas pulled out of the meeting because of the proclamation, he said, 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 said

Mayor Bryan 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.

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,” CAN said in a press release. “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,”

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

This story contained contributions from Aaron Bolton with KBBI.