To the Editor:
I met someone the other day at a meeting I attended. He told us his name and introduced himself as a concerned citizen. The meeting was discussing energy companies and their attempt to secure easements for windmills and transmission lines from landowners in Palo Alto County. The discussion also included the County wind ordinance and setbacks to neighbors.
This individual sat quietly, listening and taking notes . Shortly before the meeting ended he got up and left, not saying a word. After getting home, I was curious to find who this man was. I googled his name and found out he was indeed a citizen but not from Palo Alto County and not even from Iowa. He is from Nashville, Tennessee and is a professional consultant and public affairs specialist.
This "campaign seasoned veteran" works at The Calvert Street Group, a consulting firm focused on managing and winning political and corporate campaigns. They are the recognized leader in managing successful grassroots campaigns to win controversial zoning and land-use entitlements.
They "work both sides of the aisle" and "successfully navigate clients through the political processes where business and public policy intersect by managing the politics that will shape the outcome". Wow, that is a mouth full. They have won land use campaigns in 46 states and Canada. Their methodology is simple "Control the message--Build support--Win ".
They have offices in Bellingham, WA, Nashville, TN, New York, NY, and Washington DC. Sounds like they would have a real sense and feel of our local, rural county. Perfect to shape the message that wind energy companies want them to portray to our local residents and landowners. I am sure they will be able to accurately tell us how we should think and feel about living in a wind farm.
This gentleman's name is Wooten Johnson. His bio shows he has worked on political campaigns for approximately 20 years, from school board to President of the United States, before switching to land use and corporate campaigns.
Political campaigns--really? I don't know about you, but after watching this last election cycle unfold, I am not sure Palo Alto County citizens really want or need to be "controlled and shaped" by outside, political experts. I think our rural ideas and values will do just fine for us.
Outside corporations try to "educate" us to what they want us to think and do. Do we need this? After all, we are the people who have lived here, live here now, and will into the future, long after the political strategists have moved on and gone back to their urban settings.
(signed) Dean Gunderson