GUEST EDITORIAL: Anderson explains position in running for District 3

■  BY DICK ANDERSON

I am Dick Anderson, and I am a candidate for the Lee County Commission District 3. My candidacy is motivated by the legacy we will leave to our children and grandchildren. Are we the generation that will preside over irreversible damage to our unique fisheries, waterways, and natural landscape through uninformed and short-sighted decisions? Our current and future citizens deserve better.

I intend to provide the leadership that our community is demanding. The economic value of maintaining our water supply, water quality and natural areas is not properly recognized in our land-use decisions. In less than 20 years, Lee County will have one million residents! Now is the time to decide to protect our future quality of life.

My 40-year professional career has been spent in Southwest Florida. I am an environmental educator, urban planner and businessman. I co-wrote our first Lee County Growth Management Regulations, the preservation ordinances for Lovers Key and Six Mile Cypress and the original ballot language for Conservation 2020. I developed and taught a course at FGCU entitled, “The Economics of the Environment.”

My opponent, Larry Kiker, is leading the effort to overbuild Lee County in contravention of the will of our citizens. Conservation 2020 is now used as a slush fund ($40 million pilfered to “balance the budget”). This is yet another example of malfeasance to the detriment to our community. Cuts to impact fees (growth paying for growth) have resulted in a loss of $50 million in school and road funding over the last three years.

I will work full-time on the Lee County Commission for the following:

• Stop the brown water! I will work with local, state and federal agencies along with nongovernmental organizations to expedite a specific set of solutions necessary to save our estuaries from freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee.

• Uphold the Lee County Comprehensive Plan. Density increases in areas such as the DRGR are short-sighted and do not factor in the community cost of urban sprawl.

• Restore and promote Conservation 2020. This is a quality-of-life issue. I was a member of the original grassroots committee that founded Conservation 2020. It is essential that we continue to acquire and manage key properties that offer natural resource benefits (including water supply, water quality, flood attenuation, open space, recreation and wildlife habitat), especially in the face of continued growth pressure.

• Address our transportation infrastructure. This is a public safety, economic and quality-of-life issue. Since 2012 the Lee County BOCC has intentionally cut transportation funding, creating an economically disastrous future shortfall in funds to deal with continued growth pressure. Clogged and unsafe roadways are already impacting our all-important tourism and real estate industries.

• Restore a long-term/natural resource-based approach to all decision making. Our economy relies on the quality of our unique environment. This requires a return to planning for sustainability, where all policies are evaluated based on long-term effects on our quality of life.

I know local history, issues, the personalities and understand the type of leadership needed at this critical time. Our community is feeling the effects of growth, especially the impacts on our environment.

I respectfully ask for your vote at this crucial time in our history.

Dick Anderson