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.
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.
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.