Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feeling really good!


So many of you have called or emailed with thoughtful, heartfelt messages of gratitude and encouragement! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I must admit that I felt deeply frustrated by realizing how deeply conditioned Washington County voters are to automatically elect Republicans regardless of the issues or candidates in the race. But that frustration has passed and the future is looking extremely bright.

In fact, if you want to know how excited I feel about the future, check this link to see what it looks like...

I guarantee it will make you smile, laugh and maybe even cry.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A giant thank you and and invite...

Dear friends,

Wow, did we have a wild ride with this County Commission campaign or what? As Alan Gardner said in the Spectrum today "It was THE hardest campaigned commission race yet."

Quite honestly, I am surprised that the numbers turned out the way they did: Alder 34%, Gardner 66%. I thought our hard work would overcome the hard core influence that leads many voters to vote straight ticket Republican.

All day long, friends have been calling with ways to put it in perspective...

Our campaign earned 13% more votes than Obama did in Washington County.

We earned 10% more votes than the highest-earning Democrat in Washington County's recent history.

Supporters believed in our campaign so much that we raised more funds than any other local race so far.

Jim Matheson earned 26% of the Washington County vote during his first Congressional election; he earned 48% this time, his fourth try.

And remember, Gardner is basically a well-liked politician who wasn't really vulnerable to begin with.

Thanks to all of you for these great calls. I really appreciate them and I'm grateful for your outstanding help during the campaign. The voters of Washington County are much more aware of key issues that will affect the future of this beloved country. And now we all get our lives back.

Many of you have asked "what will happen to your ideas for solar power, Vision Dixie, Lake Powell Pipeline vote" and "will you run again." Quite frankly, I need some time to sort out my options before answering that question. I will spend the next 10 days pruning trees in Grafton to clear my mind and spend time in one of my favorite places on the planet for the fall season. My intention is to have much more clarity once the trees are pruned.

I am completely undecided about whether I will stay in Washington County or go away for a time. I'm considering graduate school (MBA or MPA) or a job in renewable energy (I'll look at T. Boone Pickens and Google) or land conservation.

I will be searching for opportunities to apply my enthusiasm, business acumen and marketing/advocacy skills on the business side of the renewable energy field or as an officer for a foundation that grants funds for conservation work. If any of you have leads, I would like to consider them and would appreciate any suggestions.

In the meantime, please know that the conversation we began about Washington County's future is officially moving to the blog at Because our community will now disperse after the election, I want to be sure we stay connected and maintain the network that we created during the campaign. Please chip in and share any comments you wish on the subjects we care most about.

Thanks again. See you on the blog!

Lin Alder

Final results: Alder 34%, Gardner 66%

Wow! That straight party ticket voting sure is a hard habit to break!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gardner's brother-in-law attempts last-minute smear

The campaign for Washington County Commissioner has been unusual this year, not only for its energy, but also because of the civility with which Alan Gardner and I have conducted our campaigns while explaining our different visions for the county's future.

On Thursday, October 30th, Naghi Zeenati, Gardner's brother-in-law, circulated an email that broke from this civil dialogue. Because Zeenati's email includes numerous inaccuracies and false claims which do not reflect well on him or Gardner, I wish to set the record straight.

Zeenati inaccurately claims that I have raised thousands of dollars "from environmentalists all over the country" and will be beholden to their agendas. I have, in fact, made thousands of fundraising requests during this campaign, mostly among County residents. From my requests, a total of 325 contributions have been received. 78% of them are from Washington County, 9% from the rest of Utah and 11% from outside Utah. Only 5 organizations contributed, all were businesses, and none were environmental groups. All candidates' financial disclosure forms are available at the Utah Lieutenant Governor's website for verification.

To launch my campaign fundraising effort in August, I solicited contributions from everyone I know. Zeenati's claim of "thousands of dollars" raised from environmental groups is incorrect. Six individuals who work for 5 different environmental groups contributed a total of $675 from their own personal funds. This is less than 2% of the total raised. Zeenati's suggestion that I do or would owe my allegiance to any environmental group is unfounded.

Zeenati suggests that my promise to "protect our beloved red rock playground" is somehow disloyal to "the interests and needs of local people." My accomplishments show that I understand the clear connection between protecting our signature landscapes and sustaining the tourism and housing industries that depend on these landscapes. Realtors, land developers and contractors know that beautiful scenery translates into money in the bank. My skills and experience can help find the needed balance to protect the best remaining scenery so real estate professionals can continue putting money in the bank years for years to come.

Zeenati says that I advocate for "stunting the economic life of Washington County" by shifting economic vitality to Kane County that would otherwise reach Washington County. Zeenati did not mention my plan for expanding Washington County's economy by helping us become the Solar Power Capitol of Utah. This economic diversification is critical to refocusing and strengthening our recession-prone, construction-dependent economy.

In 2007/08, I led the campaign against the ill-conceived and health-reducing Toquop Coal Plant. After the community—and Representative Dave Clark—stood behind my position, Alan Gardner switched from pro-Toquop to anti-Toquop.

My track record shows a long history of making our lives better through community service. My loyalty to the interests and needs of our community is clear. This is my "real agenda."

Please share this with others. Thank you for your time.

Lin Alder

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More letters to the editor

Alder committed to protecting lands

I am excited for next Tuesday's elections. As Washington County residents we will head to the polls and cast our votes for the next leader of our nation. But just as important, we will head to the polls and choose the next leader of our county.

I am voting for Lin Alder for Washington County Commission because of his commitment to protect the public's right to use public lands, because of his commitment to develop solar and wind power energy as a way of diversifying and vitalizing our economy, and preventing dirty coal-fired power plants from polluting the air we breath.

I am voting for Alder because of his commitment to creating affordable, reliable and practical water supplies, and his belief that if we spend millions of dollars on an unreliable pipeline that the people paying for it should get a vote.

I am voting for Alder because of his past work and future plans to insure a Dixie with smart planning and development. Next Tuesday, vote for the man working for the people of Washington County. Vote for Lin Alder.

Sara Dykman

Candidate offers fresh perspective

First as an outsider, then a "snowbird," now a full-time resident, I have come to love Southern Utah and the diversity of people I meet here. Now, as one happily transplanted from "up north," I hope to share an opinion with your readers.

I've been greatly impressed during this political season to find someone of enormous integrity, commitment and intelligence willing to seek office as a Washington County commissioner. As we all know, a commissioner is no easy job. I refer, of course, to Mr. Lin Alder, homegrown, who is passionate about the land - its history, its people, its promise.

Washington County, now more than ever, stands in need of energetic leadership. These are not the times and this is not the election to be afraid of fresh ideas and solutions. Lin Alder impresses me as someone who would provide wise decision-making. Specifically, I mention his education in natural resources, his world exposure as a photographer, his unflagging commitment to the area - even unto bicycling the route of the Lake Powell pipeline in recent days.

I find him well-equipped for a job too big to trust those whose actions may impose heavy tax burdens on a county already challenged with a burgeoning population.

Ivy Ruckman

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lots of supportive editorial coverage

in the Oct. 28th Spectrum...

Don't let area become So. Calif.

I have just read an article about the Washington County Commission race. Lin's opposition has described how we should view Lin Alder. They have told us that, in part, because Lin has worked aggressively on the downwinder issues of Divine Strake and the Toquop power plant, we should question his loyalties. Further that because Lin has worked actively to promote implementation of the Vision Dixie goals through the local community organization Citizens for Dixie's Future, he is an "extreme environmentalist."

Lin Alder's opponent says the cost/benefit of the billion dollar Lake Powell pipeline is not an issue in the commission race. Four dollar a gallon gasoline is described by Lin's opponent as the more important issue in the race. I question whether the lobbying of our county commissioner can impact the price of oil. However, we do face many local issues where our county commissioner will have an impact on the future of our area.

As one who does not want the future of Washington County to look like Southern California and Southern Nevada, Lin Alder represents the future I want to see.

Dennis Kay

Alder supports a rational growth plan

I was just getting over the drop in the market value of my home and the evaporation of what used to be my retirement fund when I read Ron Thompson's plan for me - and you - to take on a couple of billion dollars in debt for a new water pipeline (Oct. 11 Spectrum).

His "cost-effective" claim is that costs will be borne by new residents through impact fees. That should be easy. Invite another 400,000 people to move in. The trouble is, the economy puts a damper on those plans, and who wants that many more people anyway when no one in charge of this county has a sustainable growth plan and resists defining one, with the exception of Lin Alder, the subject of Thompson's misdirected ire.

But not to worry. We're all signed on to legislation guaranteeing repayment "through a balance of impact fees, property taxes and fees." The last two revenue sources, which Thompson ignores, give me pause. So I'll be voting for Lin Alder, a champion of clean, renewable energy for Dixie and a rational approach to the problem of water in the desert.

Gene Gerstner

Local issues too important to vote straight party ticket

When I returned to Southern Utah a few years ago, I discovered an associate had been elected to a county office. When I congratulated him, he confessed his election had been a snap. Once he convinced "party leaders," the battle was won.

I could never understand how people could simply vote a straight party ticket, for either side, and then think they had performed their civic duty.

If you attend local party conventions, you know that nominees are often selected in a rather undemocratic fashion by a few party insiders and a sprinkling of the party faithful. Often, they are not the nominees you would have picked.

When you vote a straight ticket you are putting great faith in a few party insiders you probably don't even know. And when one party totally dominates a particular area, you are letting a few individuals determine the election.

This year we owe it to ourselves to become familiar with the candidates and issues, especially in county and state races. One race in particular will directly affect our future - the race for Washington County commissioner.

From all accounts, incumbent Alan Gardner is a decent and sincere man. Still, some are asking whether he recognizes that county residents' priorities have changed during his 12-year tenure. Does he still lean towards "quantity" rather than "quality" on issues concerning the county's future?

Gardner says he favors preserving the area's scenic beauty and quality of life. He wishes Washington Fields had been preserved as a green area. But do his actions for the past 12 years speak more loudly than his words and wishes today? Last year he supported the proposed coal-fired Toquop power plant until public opposition became too obvious to ignore. Located just upwind of Washington County, the plant would supply power to Nevada and California.

Gardner supports the sale of public lands in Washington County to allow more private development. He also supports the billion dollar (plus interest) pipeline from Lake Powell to the Sand Hollow Reservoir. Without it, most experts agree Washington County could "only" double or even triple its current population. With the pipeline, the county would have to grow much larger in order to pay for the costliest public project in Utah's history.

To Gardner's credit, he protected pictographs and some scenic views when he sold his family land for The Ledges development. In the end, however, there were Ledges houses visible from the floor of once-pristine Snow Canyon.

Gardner's opponent, Lin Alder, has been executive director of Citizens for Dixie's Future and a leader in the Vision Dixie process. Alder wants a community vote on the pipeline, rather than giving authority for such a major decision to the non-elected Washington County Water Conservancy District. Alder also wants to diversify the local economy, gradually weaning it from dependence on rapid population growth.

If you are happy with the direction the incumbent commissioners are taking us, vote for Alan Gardner. If you think the commission needs a fresh voice, vote for Lin Alder.

Art Porter is a Washington City resident and a member of The Spectrum & Daily News Writers Group.