"I didn’t feel like the city should subject itself to a possible confrontation in the council chambers."
Most of the members of Homer Alaska’s city council refused to show up for a Pride month proclamation from the town’s mayor.
The meeting was scheduled for Monday at which time Mayor Bryan Zak was going to announce the official start of Pride, but the gathering never took place because there weren’t enough council members to fill the quorum.
Numerous emails denouncing the public announcement were sent to the council; 112 against and 63 for, but they didn't come from Homer’s population, they were sent from Alaska’s Right to Life website, according to LGBTQ Nation.
The rules state that six council members need to be present in order to have an official meeting, and Heath Smith, Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas refused to participate, which meant they didn’t meet the quorum for proper orders of business.
The mayor delivered the announcement anyway, in the parking lot:
“I, Bryan Zak, Mayor of Homer, recognize June 2018 as ‘Homer Pride Month’ and encourage the Homer community to join in celebrating the diversity within the City of Homer.”
Reports say that just before Zak delivered his address a pick up drove through the scene and the driver yelled, “shame on you Bryan.”
Homer Pride is scheduled for June 23. “I’m just happy that we were able to provide the (recognition) in a timely manner,” said Zak.
The council members say they didn’t show up because they thought the proclamation was too controversial and would initiate some animosity within the town. They had just been subject to some contention after declaring their support for immigrants in another meeting a week prior.
“I did not attend that [Pride proclamation] meeting because I did not want to subject this community to any semblance of what happened the last go around,” councilmember Heath Smith said.
Member Stroovas says he didn’t attend either because he, “didn’t feel like the city should subject itself to a possible confrontation in the council chambers, and that’s what I was trying to prevent.”
Erickson, another boycotter, thought the mayor’s proclamation was “divisive” although she didn’t explain why.
Meanwhile, Council member Rachel Lord was disappointed in her fellow panel members.
“We do mayoral proclamations and recognitions for all sorts of things,” she said. “When it comes to my fellow council members, they don’t have to be on board. They don’t have to agree, but it is our job to sit at the table.”