Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's how you can help

Hi friends,

With a big "thank you" to our supporters, our campaign for Washington County Commission is turning a big, exciting corner this weekend as we get ready for a supercharged October. The Lake Powell Pipeline trek enjoyed local newspaper, TV and radio coverage, bringing fun and positive attention to our campaign for more open and citizen-informed decision making. Check the blog at for news links. We now have some great opportunities to win votes face-to-face and we need your help!

Here's a quick list of what you can do (details follow):

* Help pass out flyers at the Swiss Days Parade/festival, St. George Book Festival and/or St. George Go Green Festival
* Learn "How and Who" to talk to in your neighborhood to win votes for Lin on Monday, Sept. 30th between 5:30 and 7 p.m.
* Write a letter to the editor
* Put a lawn sign in your yard
* Bring friends & family to any of 32 scheduled campaign events (including debates)
* Contribute donations to the art auction on Oct. 4th
* Visit with voters in your neighborhood by phone or knocking on their door
* Help us raise the $12,000 we need by Oct. 6th to cover the costs of newspaper, TV, radio, magazine and canvassing expenses--and ask your friends/family to help too!

* Help pass out flyers at the Swiss Days parade/festival

One of southwest Utah's best home town parades happens tomorrow (Saturday) in Santa Clara and you can help Lin's campaign make a positive impression there. Meet at 9 a.m. at the west end of Santa Clara's Main Street. The road will be closed beginning at 6:30 a.m. so you'll need to use the Pioneer Parkway route. Bring your walking shoes and a WinWithLin t-shirt if you have one. Campaign professionals say we're 70% more likely to win over a voter if they receive information face-to-face!

* Help pass out flyers at the St. George Book Festival and/or St. George Go Green Festival

Lin will arrive at the Book Festival (at Town Square on Main Street) at noon tomorrow and would love to "work the crowd" with your help. At 1:30, Lin will travel to Vernon Worthen Park (300 South 400 East) to meet people at the Go Green Festival. You're welcome to help earlier if it is more convenient for your schedule. Please reply to this email or call 435.632.8433 if you're able to help.

* Learn "How and Who" to talk to in your neighborhood

Modern technology has allowed our campaign to identify which of your neighbors are likely to vote for Lin if you talk to them at their door or on the phone. You can learn more by spending a few minutes on Sept. 30th between 5:30 and 7 p.m. We'll supply the brochures and contact lists. You can take democracy into your own hands and make a difference! If Sept. 30th doesn't work for you but you want to help, reply to this email and we'll make arrangements.

* Write a letter to the editor

This simple and high-profile way is a great way to nudge voters in our direction, especially since it comes from your own voice and experience with the candidate. Be Positive and tell readers why you're voting for Lin. Lin is positive by nature and believes any negativity will harm his campaign. Letters must be 200 words or less and should be emailed to (for The Spectrum) and/or (for the Hurricane Valley Journal).

* Put a lawn sign in your yard

You can pick up a sign at our campaign office on the 2nd floor of Ancestor Square on Monday, September 29th from 5 to 7 p.m. If you'd like to arrange another pick up time, reply to this email and we'll make arrangements.

* Bring friends & family to any of the 32 (!) scheduled campaign events

Check out our exciting events calendar at (click on Events). Some of the highlights include:

1. Campaign Countdown Party, Art Auction & Pipeline Trek slideshow, Kayenta Theatre (Coyote Gulch Art Village), 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4th (free and open to the public)
2. Meet the Candidates Forum sponsored by the Washington County Board of Realtors and the Southern Utah Homebuilders Association, Dixie State College Gardner Center Ballroom, Oct. 7th, 11:45 a.m. (luncheon fee is required)
3. Meet the Candidates Forum sponsored by Sky Mountain residents, Sky Mountain clubhouse, 7 p.m., Oct. 7th (free and open to the public)
4. Community Meet & Greet, St. George Library (basement community room), 4 p.m. Oct. 8th (free and open to the public)
5. Dixie State College Homecoming Parade, Oct. 11th (details to follow)
6. 890 KDXU Mike McGary radio call-in show, 9 a.m. Oct. 14th
7. Community Meet & Greet, St. George Library (basement community room), 4 p.m. Oct. 14th (free and open to the public)
8. Meet the Candidates Forum at the Coral Canyon Elementary School, 7 p.m., Oct. 15th (free and open to the public)
9. Meet the Candidates Forum, Hurricane Chamber of Commerce, noon, Oct. 16th, Dixie State College Hurricane campus (luncheon fee required)

Be sure to check the calendar before attending events--we sometimes must make changes to accommodate many schedules and venues.

* Contribute donations to the art auction on Oct. 4th in Kayenta

The good folks of Kayenta are putting together a great art & outdoors event to mark the last 30 days of the campaign. Proceeds from donated art items will help our campaign raise the $12,000 we need to cover advertisement expenses before November 4th. To donate, call Julie Peacock at 673.6933. Thanks!

* Help us raise the $12,000 we need by Oct. 6th

It may sound outlandish, but based on what we've already spent to make this campaign happen so far, we know that we will need at least $12,000 more to cover the costs of newspaper, TV, radio, magazine and canvassing expenses. We're convinced that the outreach plan we've developed can influence the number of "old timers" and "newcomers" needed to succeed. But we can't do it without money. Please add your contribution to the Donate link at If you've already donated, we are deeply grateful for your generosity and invite you to add another contribution to this crucial outreach effort. You can extend your contribution by challenging your friends and family to match your donation too!

Thanks for all you do to Win With Lin!

The Committee to Elect Lin Alder

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pipeline Trek finale on Saturday

With only 40 miles left to go, Scott and I can almost taste the Trek's finish line...the Washington/Iron County border. We're really excited (and slightly afraid) about the footage and photos that photojournalist/videographer Blake Gordon has captured since our hiking/biking trek began at Glen Canyon Dam last Friday. Hopefully he'll edit out the embarrasing parts and focus on the stunning action footage he captured while riding along side us on his own bike (shall we say "dangerously") while also holding a special tripod with the video camera only inches away from the ground (and our bikes).

This exciting footage will be shown at the Trek finale on Saturday, Sept. 20th, along with beautiful images of rarely-seen places along the proposed Pipeline route and thought-provoking interviews with some real characters we've encountered along the way. The interviewes are from all sides of the Pipeline issue. The documentary is anything but one-sided, but it will also be a "rough cut" since Blake will have less than two days to edit and produce it.

You can see the documentary at the Gardner Center at Dixie State College on Saturday. The two screenings will begin at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and the event will give you an opportunity to show support for the Lin Alder campaign.

Tuesday's adventures actually began on Monday night at the Honeymoon Trail atop the Hurricane Cliffs after the crowd dissipated following the Alan Gardner/Lin Alder "debate." (The Spectrum story can be seen at: ).

Almost immediately, a steady 25 to 30 mile wind picked up. The obnoxious gusts kept going into the morning even as Scott and I headed down the 1,200 foot Honeymoon Trail descent at 9 a.m.

The wind made it hard to sleep, but by the time sunrise came, I knew for a fact that Washington County has ample resources for a commercial wind farm...if only in a few places. The Black Ridge has long been an obvious spot, but now the Hurricane Cliffs are on my list of places to study for wind power. As a County Commissioner, I would gladly work to encourage the development of wind as well as our more abundant renewable energy source--solar.

Once Scott and I finished the white knuckle descent down the Honeymoon Trail by bike, we experienced our first equipment failure. Flat tire. The rear tire on my bike.

Scott graciously suggested that I ride ahead on his bike to hail our support truck by walkie talkie. I pedaled hard but never reached the truck--their radio had dead batteries. In this absence of radio contact, it seemed best for me to pedal the 8 to 10 miles to Sand Hollow Reservoir so our invited experts on the nasty invasive quagga mussels could begin their presentations on time at 1 p.m.

Everything turned out well and we learned that Utah's water officials are expecting Sand Hollow to become infested with mussels before the Pipeline is completed. It will be a big pain when the mussels show up and start clogging everything they can latch on to. Water officials aren't sure what the answers will be but mussel problems aren't new to America so they're confident solutions will be found. Expensive solutions--engineering and chemical--but solutions nonetheless.

We then pedaled in to Hurricane and made our way to the Town Park to hear Washington County Water Conservancy District Manager Ron Thompson discuss the pipeline with Utah Senate candidate Brooks Pace. Mayor Tom Hirschi moderated the discussion and a big thanks goes to Councilman Darrin Thomas for help with scheduling the event.

The discussion between Pace and Thompson reveals that differing opinions about the Pipeline are less about facts and figures and more about priorities and paradigms. Can Washington County support its future population with local water supplies? Both speakers would say yes, but they differ starkly about the validity of such an effort. Claims that Washington County will dry up and blow away without the Pipeline are countered with claims that the Pipeline would lead to the kind of community that most current residents would want to flee. Most of the comments and questions from the audience--particularly the "old timers"--suggested that the majority that night side with the latter viewpoint.

Lots of numbers were bantered about but perhaps the clearest distinction between the two speakers is the difference in paradigms regarding a citizen vote. Pace believes that the project cannot legitimately be built without a vote by those who would pay; Thompson suggests that the vote has already been cast by citizens whose elected officials mostly support the Pipeline.

The lively exchange between Pace and Thompson is exactly why Scott and I launched this trek. When asked what he wanted to add to this blog post, Scott simply said "It has been informative to listen to the people and see the places that would be affected by this project."

So, off we go to get more informed. Tonight's event (Wednesday, Sept. 17th) will be historian and former Dixie State College President Doug Alder speaking as LDS pioneer and southern Utah leader Erastus Snow. Alder will discuss the pioneer value of "Living Within One's Means" and its relation to our water future at the Anderson Junction Dance Shell at 6:30 p.m. (The Dance Shell is at the northeast section of the Toquerville exit off I-15). Doug also happens to be my Dad.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pipeline Trek Hits the Sunday Paper

I couldn't quite tell whether Scott's favorite moment Saturday was when we finished our 25 mile ride or when he started into his second dinner at 9:30 p.m. He and I are both really drained from an energy standpoint but, not surprisingly, we're invigorated by the stunning landscapes we've seen in Kane County and the amount of intrigue about the Trek that we encounter everywhere we go.

Part of that intrigue made it to the Sunday editorial page of The Spectrum. The editors encourage readers to learn more about the Pipeline and its alternatives by attending the two debates set for Monday, Sept. 15th (between my opponent Alan Gardner and I) and Tuesday, Sept. 16th (between State Senate candidate Brooks Pace and Washington County Water Conservancy District Manager Ron Thompson. The Monday Alder/Gardner debate will be at a dramatically scenic viewpoint atop the Hurricane Cliffs at the historic Honeymoon Trail (scroll down for a map and directions). This is the route Mormon pioneers followed from northern Arizona to be married in the St. George Temple.

A carpool/caravan will be leaving for the Honeymooon Trail debate site at 6:30 p.m. from a pullout on the southwest side of Highway 59 that is 2.7 miles up the road from the bottom of the Hurricane Fault in Hurricane (just east of the Chums office building). You are welcome to join the carpool/caravan, just be sure to be at the pullout no later than 6:30 p.m on Monday night. It will definitely be a family oriented "citizenship in your community" event so kids are invited.

Here's the map and directions to the Honeymoon Trail event:

A highlight of Saturday's 25 mile bike ride today came as we pedaled through what seemed like a botanical garden full of yellow and white blooming bushes. The colorful plants seemed to cover just a few acres on either side of the dirt road but their contrast with the otherwise gray sage brush definitely caught our eyes. We wondered how long ago some microburst brought extra rain to this tiny patch.

Scott introduced me to a new term today: "potato dirt." It's the light, almost puffy soil in sage brush country that is very easy to work with a shovel. It almost feels like a pillow under foot. Today's ride was almost completely in potato dirt country which means putting in the pipeline would be much easier than at the Cockscomb to the east or the Hurricane Cliffs to the West. But we felt the same today as yesterday--this proposed pipeline route is very, very long and the hills are really, really big.

In fact, a hilarious moment happened yesterday when Scott and I were so tired during a water break that we could barely talk, much less think straight. We tried calculating the number of pounds of water the Pipeline pumps would have to lift each year. So many zeros!! We'll need to re-check the math once we've rested up but we think its about 3 billion pounds each year. That means a LOT of electricity.

After catching much needed showers and carb-heavy dinners last night, we ventured over to the Kanab City Library where a crowd of about 50 members of the Kane County Taxpayer Association and unaffiliated Kanab residents were gathered. The highlight of the evening was a very spirited debate between Kane County Water District Manager Mike Noel and Citizens for Dixie's Future Executive Director Paul Van Dam.

My take home message from the debate is that citizens involved with the conversation about the Pipeline are becoming more informed and empowered to challenge the establishment thinking about southwest Utah's water future. One of my favorite highlights was when Mike Noel said that Ron Thompson has no influence over who is selected to serve on the Washington County Water Conservancy District Board. This statement drew an immediate response from Paul Van Dam. "That's a falsehood," Van Dam said, completely deadpan.

Our next leg of the Trek involves about 10 miles of hiking from Highway 389 west of Fredonia to Highway 89 at the Kaibab Paiute Reservation and then another 10 miles of bike riding on 389 almost to Colorado City. Luckily we don't have any blisters so far but I could use some lotion for my sunburned face!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow, it's a LONG way...

Today Scott Hirschi and I logged 55 (!) miles on our bikes from Page, Arizona to a spot near Kanab where we'll start a 16+ mile hike tomorrow. Scott said it best after the ride today: "Lin, it is a LONG way from Lake Powell and we're not that far along the route."

I have to agree and must admit that I'm very, very tired at the moment. We had a great visit from reporters with The Spectrum and KCSG-TV at Church Wells. Jon Andrews, the Deputy Director at Utah's School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), was on hand to discuss the pros and cons of developing a community on SITLA land near Big Water and storing portions of Utah's Colorado River water share underground. He offered a very balanced view in support of increasing earnings from SITLA's 55,000 acre Big Water property while also protecting SITLA's assets in Washington County.

An insightful paper from Dixie State College geology professor Gerry Bryant was read to the small gathering of people at Church Wells. His assessment of the possibility for aquifer storage called for more detailed studies.

Later, after riding to the Cockscomb near the Paria River, Allysia Angus, Landscape Planner for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument reviewed the systematic processes used to determine which visual impacts of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline would be allowed in the Monument and which would not.

Kanab businesswoman Susan Hand also offered a passionate explanation of why visual impacts are just one of the reasons she opposes the Pipeline. She points out that there is no "door" that can close a community to newcomers as some "old timers" say newcomers are prone to do. The Pipeline does not represent a door. It would actually be a conveyor belt that would force communities to draw in new residents in order to pay the exorbitant cost of the proposed project.

Scott was a major trooper today. His first-ever time on a road bike turned into a 55 mile slog. He'll be sore tomorrow but ready, as always, for another adventure.

We owe a big thank you to Dave Poffenberger, our support vehicle driver and fantastic cook, as well as Blake Gordon, a good-natured photojournalist/videographer who is producing a documentary of the trek. Dave and Blake helped out a bunch and even performed a miracle by locating Blake's cell phone after it disappeared in the Glen Canyon Dam parking lot and was run over by a car.

More adventures tomorrow!

Trek begins: Utah's Top Water Official Says Pipeline "Could be Eliminated."

The Lake Powell Pipeline Trek kicked off with a subtle but surprising bang on Thursday. Utah Division of Water Resources Director, Dennis Strong, spoke with Glen Canyon Dam to his back on a perfect September day. He said that if the communities of Washington County changed their landscape planting and watering ordinances, the Pipeline could be "delayed or eliminated."

Strong said that reducing outside watering is a decision that can and should be made by city councils. Washington County's communities could do this and free up enough water for future residents. This would eliminate the need for cities to sign water contracts for the Pipeline.

Strong pointed at me when acknowledging that many people in Washington County have recently pointed out that significant local water exists to support future growth. I took his gesture as a reference to the scores of people who have made this point in public meetings and letters-to-the-editor. His acknowledgment surprised me because of its context at the beginning of our trek to raise awareness and create dialoge about the controversial project.

Because the trek is about offering both pro-pipeline and pro-pipeline alternative viewpoints, Richard Ingebretsen, a physician and physics professor at the University of Utah who Chairs the Glen Canyon Institute also spoke. He pointed out that an average of 30,000 dump truck loads of sediment is added to Lake Powell every day. St. George will last longer than Lake Powell due to this sedimentation, so depending on it as a water source needs to be considered very, very carefully.

It is clear that the earth's temperature is rising, he explained, regardless of the cause. Every reputable climatologist suggests that future flows of the Colorado River will decline compared to historical flows. This means that sediment trapped in tributaries will more quickly fill the main canyon if and when reservoir levels go lower over time. So not only is the supply of water from Lake Powell suspect, the future of the reservoir itself is seriously in question.

Scott Hirschi and I jump on our bikes in a few hours to begin the muscle-powered trek to the west. Tune in later today for a report from the field.

What's next with the Pipeline Trek?

Check out KCSG-TV's coverage of the trek today at 5 and 9.

If you want to hear Paul Van Dam and Mike Noel debate the pipeline's merits, be at the Kane County Library in Kanab at 7 p.m. this Saturday.

My opponent, Alan Gardner, and I will be speaking about Vision Dixie, Sprawl and the Pipeline where the Honeymoon Trail meets the top of the Hurricane Cliffs at 6:30 p.m. on Monday (it's a great family night event, see the attached file for directions).

Ron Thompson, Washington County Water District Manager and Brooks Pace, Candidate for the Utah Senate, will debate the pipeline's merits in the Hurricane City Park, 200 North Main, at 6:30 on Tuesday night

Save the Date: September 20th at 4 or 6 p.m. (two showings), Join in the Trek's Grand Finale including photos, video and stories from the trek at the Dixie State College Gardner (Student) Center Ballroom and a way to support Lin's County Commission Campaign.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Peach Days

Hurricane Peach Days was a great event, and we got the word out to vote for Lin Alder!

Why is Lin hiking & biking 170 miles this week?

This 7 day Lake Powell Pipeline trek from Sept. 12th to 18th represents a lot of work at a time when some people say I should be "campaigning." But this week is set aside for something very important--expressing my commitment to a new kind of politics in Washington County. What our County needs are leaders who engage the citizens in the decision making process instead of cut citizens out of the process by deciding behind closed doors before the public is heard.

My fellow hiker on the 170 mile trek is Scott Hirschi, Director of the Washington County Economic Development Council. He is a pro-pipeline opinion leader in our community. I am a pro-pipeline alternatives candidate. Scott and I are intentionally spending this week listening to nearly two dozen experts who support and oppose the pipeline. Our intention is to hike and bike our way to a more informed community. In fact, the subtitle of our trek is "Creating Dialogue to Facilitate Informed Decisions."

We're lucky enough to have newspaper and TV reporters and a documentary filmmaker/photographer on the trip as well. So our intention of raising awareness of all sides of issue is coming true. By September 18th, I believe the public will be more informed about the most important decision we need to make together as a community--the fate of the Lake Powell Pipeline.

So should I be campaigning this week instead? If I were a traditional, more-of-the-same candidate, maybe I should be. But this trek sends a clear message to voters: Lin is willing to go the extra mile (or 170 extra miles) to engage the public in a new kind of well-informed, bi-partisan politics.

And as a supporter said of my campaign yesterday "Finally, not a good ol' boy!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

After School Pool Party

Last week's pool party at the Avenna center was a huge success! The word is out at Dixie State College about Lin Alder, and we've got newly registered voters ready to rock the vote! Here are a couple of pictures of some of our great young supporters!