Tag Archives: regionalism

Norman’s First High Density Development Meeting and Info About Form Based Codes

Kaye Beach

June 12, 2012

Last evening the City of Norman Oklahoma held its first community dialog on high density development. The issue is whether or not the City should codify high density development.  Presently, this issue is not addressed in any of the City’s planning documents.  A sudden spate of requests from developers for extremely high density (100 + dwelling units per acre) development is apparently what has brought this issue to the fore.

Attendees to last nights meeting were first given a presentation to inform us on the subject of high density development.  City planners were kind enough to put the presentation online.  You can access it here

The schedule for future meetings can be accessed here.

We were informed that future meetings would be facilitated and met the gentlemen who would be in charge of that task, Bob Thomas from the Xenia Institute, who gave us a few words of wisdom on the art of listening.

The presentation explains why the issue before the community, describes current use and density zoning, explains how density is figured, the pros and cons of high density development and defines terms like ‘infill development’ and ‘redevelopment’.  The presentation also touched on concepts like open space, sprawl, Smart Growth

and New Urbanism

accompanied by pictures depicting the various concepts covered.  Then the meeting moved to questions and answers.

Here is the ‘Pros and Cons’ of density slide.  It is obvious that really cool people are for it and only those whose imaginations run away from them are against it.

Seriously?   There are many pros and cons to this type of development.  When you are doing a power point, you have to just hit the bottom line.  The City of Norman thinks this is the bottom line in this issue.  Awesome people on one side,  jerks on the other.  If you oppose high density development you oppose “quality of life” for your city.  Jerk.

If I were to assign a theme to the questions asked I would say that generally people were curious about what the purpose high density development served.  For example, the first question asked was from a lady who wanted to know where she could find out what high density development was really about.  Another lady wanted to know were we discussing just one high density development or many.

One of the Norman City Council members, Carol Dillingham,  explained that the City currently has no zoning ordinances to accommodate high density development at all and that the purpose of these discussions is to determine whether or not we want this kind of development and if so what we want our ordinance to look like.  Councilwoman Dillingham assured the audience that the City Council has no preconceived notions on the issue.

Here is a write up on last night’s city meeting from the Norman Transcript;

June 12, 2012

High Density development community forum

Another article of interest, also from the Norman Transcript is one published on June 9, several days prior to the first meeting to discuss high density development.

And another article also published in the Norman Transcript on June 9, 2012;

Creating a vision for Norman’s future

When I first read this I was unsure as to what to make of it because it dives right into the notion of a “new vision” for our city before we have even begun the discussion.   This particular vision, emanating from Mr. Blair Humphreys, an urban designer and  the executive director for the Institute for Quality Communities,  is one of form based codes.

The presentation given to Norman residents last evening included information on Smart Growth and New Urbanism and one thing these two concepts of city planning has in common is the use of form based codes.

Norman City Planners would deny that they were setting us up to inplement Form Based Codes but things like this make me wonder . . .The Urban Land Institute explains that, “Good intentions must be backed up by good regulations such as Form-Based Coding,”  and they held a training event to teach people like Norman City Planner, Susan Connors, how to back up their good intentions with Form Based Codes.

(Click on the picture to see just how many Oklahoma officials have been educated on implementation of Form Based Codes.)

So,  what is a ‘form based code’ anyways?

According to Mr. Humphreys, “form-based codes are more effective in guiding a vision than traditional zoning and land use regulations.”

According to others, form based codes are a nightmare;

‘I thought that Forms Based Code was supposed to be an easy, simple alternative but this is a freaking nightmare.’ link

What is this small business owners beef? Well, the new form based code prohibits many of the building features of his business.  His business is grandfathered in under the city’s new form based codes but he knows that no future owner will buy his property should he wish to sell because it does not conform to the form based code requirements and would cost the new owner a fortune to bring into compliance.

With only a little research, the problems with form based code becomes evident.

This article covers some of the  problems with form based codes.  Here is another one – Form-based code is problem, not answer  And one more take on the issue.

Remember that zoning allows the municipality to use its police powers to exercise authority over privately owned property so we want to very careful about instituting any new zoning.

Form based code is prescriptive meaning that rather than telling property owners what they cannot do on or with their property (which is difficult enough to accept) they are told what they must do with their property.  The purpose of this sort of zoning is to speed up the transition into “sustainable” cities.  That means 3 story buildings built right up on the sidewalks,  retail on the bottom floor and residential on top, high density, low cars (and carbon),  walk-your-big-butt-around-in cities.  If you want more zoning hassles, less control over your property, less choices about your lifestyle and tighter buns-then form based codes are for you!

Achieving sustainability using form based codes (click on picture to see the powerpoint)

AxXiom For Liberty Live Friday June 8 Michael Shaw, Freedom Advocates

Kaye Beach

June 7, 2012

AxXiom For Liberty Live Friday June 8, 2012 6-8 PM CST

Listen Live on  LogosRadioNetwork.com

(You do NOT have to pay or register to listen to the show live.

Simply follow the link I have provided and when you land on the homepage of Logos you will see a series of buttons at the top of the page. Click “listen” and then select 64K to hear the program live streaming on your laptop or smartphone at no charge.  There is an option to register as a member for 3.95 a month which gives you additional features and also keeps the hardworking folks at Logos Radio Network who provide the station and services on their own goodwill and of course I highly recommend helping them out)

Howard and I welcome Michael Shaw founder of FreedomAdvocates.org

Michael Shaw inspired the founding and is President of, Freedom Advocates. He has worked as a licensed certified public accountant, tax attorney, self-employed businessman and abundance ecologist. In the mid-90′s Michael participated in the Santa Cruz County, California Local Agenda 21 program. Now he warns of its dangers and the tyranny of Sustainable Development to audiences around the country. He leads Freedom Advocates, speaks, writes and both hosts and appears as a regular guest on talk radio. As President of Freedom Advocates, Michael leads our efforts to inform on:

  • The ideals of Liberty
  • The nature of personal and family independence
  • Private property
  • Legitimate government
  • How the world-wide Agenda 21 Sustainable Development program is being implemented on the local level in order to establish collectivist world government. Under Agenda 21 Sustainable Development programs, the political recognition of unalienable rights is denied link

Micheal will be visiting Oklahoma City next week on June 14th to speak about Agenda 21 Sustainable Development and PlanOKC.

Details;

Thursday, June 14th 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Seating limited to 300

Character Inn Conference Center
520 West Main Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

Advanced tickets: $15 or $12 at the door.
For more information and to purchase tickets log on to: www.concernedcitizensunited.webs.com

We will devote most of Friday’s show to discussing Agenda 21 Sustainable Development and how it pertains to all of us but specifically to the Central Oklahoma area.  PlanOKC, Regionalism, the role of the Councils of Government (ACOG) in implementing this plan and what we can do about it, will be covered.

The Call in Number is 512-646-1984

Here is brief overview of Agenda 21 Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development is the Action plan being used across America and around the world to implement the United Nations Agenda 21 program. Although the movement’s roots are much older, the United Nations, at its 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, publicly launched the global movement known as Agenda 21. The Secretary General of that ‘Earth Summit Conference, Maurice Strong addressed the gathering and said the following:

“…current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class ‐ involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.”

178 nations were signatories to the 288 page Agenda 21. President George H. W. Bush signed on behalf of the United States. Since Agenda 21 was “soft law” and not a treaty, Congress had no role to perform. Instead, the cabinet agencies of the Executive branch of government were charged with implementing
this ‘global to local’ program.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton established, by executive order, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Since Clinton’s order, every cabinet agency has undertaken its role in advancing Agenda 21/Sustainable Development policy in the US.

In summary, Sustainable Development seeks:
• The step by step abolition of private property, primarily through the
implementation of the Wildlands Project and Smart Growth.
• Education of youth to prepare them for global citizenship.
• Control and ultimate reduction of human population.

Sustainable Developers rally around the concepts within their “three E’s” symbol. The three E’s are Equity, Economy and Environment.
• Equity means to restructure human nature and to enforce that restructure by shifting our system of justice from one that adheres to the principle of equal justice and unalienable rights to one that implements the concept of
“social justice.”
• Economy means shifting from free enterprise to “public‐private partnerships.” It also means establishment of a global economy where goods “freely” cross national borders in order to redistribute financial, natural and human resources in order to equalize the income distribution within and between nations.
• Environment means giving plants, animals and even inanimate objects status equal to or even greater than the rights of human beings.

Brief Analysis Sustainable Development Flyer

Here are some other helpful materials available at www.FreedomAdvocates.org

Understanding Sustainable Development – Agenda 21 – For the People and their Public Officials

Freedom Advocates Slide Show

Sustainable Development: Global to Local Action Plans

A Look Behind the Green Mask Special Guest Rosa Koire on AxXiom For Liberty Live Friday Jan. 27th 6-8 PM CST

Kaye Beach

Jan. 26, 2012-

Friday Jan. 27, 2012 on AxXiom For Liberty with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen- we will take a look Behind the Green Mask with our very special Guest Rosa Koire, author of Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21

Listen Live Online at Logos Radio Network

Listen to the Podcast with Rosa kiore

Rosa Koire

Rosa Koire, ASA, is the executive director of the Post Sustainability Institute. She is a forensic commercial real estate appraiser specializing in eminent domain valuation.

Her nearly 30 years of experience analyzing land use and property value enabled her to recognize the planning revolution sweeping the country.

While fighting to stop a huge redevelopment project in her city she researched the corporate, political, and financial interests behind it and found UN Agenda 21. Impacting every aspect of our lives, UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is a corporate manipulation using the Green Mask of environmental concern to forward a globalist plan.

Rosa speaks across the nation and is a regular blogger on her website Democrats Against UN Agenda 21 dot com.

More about Rosa Kiore

WHAT IS UNITED NATIONS AGENDA 21?  From the Post Sustainability Institute

And here is what it looks like-

One Planet, One Vision, One City at a Time

Your government is using similar names for all of these plans and they are all the same: Regional.  They are being rolled out NOW.

The adoption date is MID-2013.  ALL OVER THE US.

Most of us are unaware that the plan we are fighting is the same plan, with minor variations, being imposed in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding public transportation, and funding low-income housing.

•All plans include Smart Growth–high density housing with restrictions on personal space and car usage.
•All plans support high speed trains–the building block of Mega-Regions.
•All plans give power to regional transportation and planning boards (MPOs and COGs) through federal and state fund disbursements.
•In all plans housing and transportation are now linked.
•In all plans population projections are hugely inflated.
•All plans will go forward as planned regardless of your input.  This is a planning revolution.

Read This Book!!

Do you want every facet of your life scrutinized, monitored and controlled? Of course not, most don’t but the foundations are in place to do just that to all of us. Unfortunately they don’t announce that part of the “Vision” to us up front or we would, of course, reject it. Ms. Koire’s book will open your eyes to what is really behind all of this pleasant talk about “walkable cities”, “greenbelts” and “smart growth”  Everyone needs to read this book so that they can see what is really behind the Green Mask and stand up to it while there is still time.

Rosa’s videos

The Word of the Day is JURISDICTION

Kaye Beach

June 7, 2011

This from a press released issued by The Western Governors Association  last year on June 28.

Trans-boundary Wildlife Maps to be Completed in 3 Years

WHITEFISH, MONT. – Western Governors reaffirmed their commitment to work across political boundaries to tackle landscape-scale wildlife conservation through the Western Governors’ Wildlife Council and committed their state agencies to complete wildlife decision-support systems within the next three years. link

It is just one of many, many regional initiatives being pushed and funded by the federal government.  In this case, the Department of Energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $3 million for 17 states to develop the wildlife decision-support systems. The information will be accessible not only to governmental entities, but also landowners, conservation groups, industry and agricultural interests. Eight pilot projects across the West were launched earlier this month to begin developing these compatible systems.

Issues involving transportation, the economy, security and  the environment are all offered up as problems that must be managed regionally.  That argument has been made, mostly unsuccessfully, for decades.  The notable exception being transportation.

Back to the press release.

Sally Jewell, President and CEO of REI, said “Ecosystems don’t know political boundaries, so conservation of the most important wildlife corridors, water and forest resources require cooperation across multiple public private entities.”

It isn’t the “ecosystem that doesn’t know political boundaries, it’s Ms. Jewell who is mistaken.  “Ecosystems” don’t exist until somebody decides they do.

What is an “ecosystem”?

According to the Franklin Institute for Science Learning;

Ecosystems vary in size. They can be as small as a puddle or as large as the Earth itself. Any group of living and nonliving things interacting with each other can be considered as an ecosystem.link

Jurisdiction (this word means something)

There is no such thing as an “ecosystem” except in these people’s imagination and if they want to draw the boundaries on ecosystems then they should concentrate on the ones that are within their own jurisdiction.

From the Legal Information Institute;

The term jurisdiction is really synonymous with the word “power”

Territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power

If you intend to retain your right to representation and your ability to hold your officials accountable then don’t be fooled by the argument that we have all of these problems that can only be solved regionally.

In the event you find yourself evicted from your land so that the Lesser Prairie Chicken can have free run of the place, do you think the Western Governors Association will be responsive to your outrage?  No.  But your governor must be.

Chickens Don't Vote!

One of the pilot projects of the Western Governors Association focuses on the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

Oklahoma and Kansas
Oklahoma and Kansas are identifying crucial Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat across the five LPC states, which includes Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Once crucial habitat for the species is identified across the five-state region, the states will work together to assess risk of habitat loss in relation to various threats, such as wind energy development and agriculture. Ultimately the states will be developing a range-wide mapping tool that could be used to identify areas important for LPC conservation, as well as connecting corridors for population maintenance.

The Western Governors Association is big on wildlife corridors which obviously, like ecosystems, must be trans-boundary.   Of course the animals don’t vote or make campaign donations which makes me wonder why these Western Governors are so keen on locking up more land for them.  Call me cynical but I don’t think these Governors give a darn about the Lesser Prairie Chicken.

I am full of deviousness

The The Western Governors Association also has a “Western States Water Council” that is developing policy to manage this essential resource throughout the region.

The Western States Water Council is an organization consisting of representatives appointed by the governors of 18 western states.

They say that;

There is a growing consensus that, as watersheds
have emerged as the unit for management and action, they have become a rational framework for undertaking integrated resource management.

One question.  Who is they and who elected them to manage our resources in this manner?  They are blaming it all on the watersheds.
“watersheds have emerged as the unit for management . . .”  What does that mean?  The watersheds jumped up and volunteered?  How did the watersheds just  become a “rational framework” for what is a pointedly political “undertaking”?  They can’t even take responsibility for their decisions that are insulated by “consensus”.  Undertaking is right.  They are the Undertakers for the representative form of government that they are killing.

OK.  That was more than one question.  It appears from reading the WGA’s blurb of Water Strategies that the reports and recommendations were drawn up and later approved by the Governors.  It doesn’t say by whom.  In fact the blurb tells us that “the reports” made the conclusions!

If it all goes wrong you will know who to blame right?  The  “watersheds” and the “reports” who are obviously in cahoots on some grand water conspiracy.

Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future 

Two WGA reports, Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future (2006) and Next Steps (2008) concluded that there is substantial stress on the water sector today even in the absence of climate change.

These reports, approved by the Governors, include consensus recommendations for how the Western states can work with federal, local, and private sector partners to address these challenges. The reports address a range of issues, including providing water supply to meet future demands, maintaining water supply infrastructure, resolving Indian water rights, preparing for climate change, and conserving endangered species.

Read more

When regional governance is legitimized that means you have compromised a little more of your  personal, state and national sovereignty.  Regional governance is the stepping stone to global governance and these days, those stepping stones are increasingly GREEN.

Central Oklahoma Going “Metro”?

Kaye Beach

May 30,2011

Regional Governance, also called “New Regionalism” or Metro Government,  is getting a boost from the federal government with the passage of the Livable Communities Act which made law a partnership between HUD, US DOT, and the EPA.  The Livable Communities Act  created a new office within HUD, called the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. This office is  distributing billions to local governments through Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants.

The Move to Regional Government

In most U.S. cities, the smart-growth coalition described in the preceding section has little political power over the suburbs. Most suburbs have a long history of resisting annexation or merger with their central cities. To overcome that resistance, smart growth advocates support regional government agencies with authority over both the central city and the suburbs.

Some writers are explicit that the purpose of regional government is to prevent local areas from democratically resisting smart-growth proposals.

Douglas Porter (1991) of the Urban Land Institute writes “about the gap between the daily mode of living desired by most Americans and the mode that most city planners and traffic engineers believe is most appropriate” (65), He supports “regional agencies [with] substantial powers to influence local decision making on land use issues”

. . .a regional government made up of local government representatives “can take controversial stands without making its individual members commit themselves to those stands. Each member can claim that ‘the organization’ did it or blame all the other members”

Is Urban Planning Creeping Socialism?  O’Toole

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant

On October 14, 2010, HUD announced that it is awarding nearly $100 million in Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants to support more livable and sustainable communities across the country. Forty-five regional areas will receive funding through a new initiative intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation.

HUD press release: HUD Awards Nearly $100 Million in New Grants to Promote Smarter and Sustainable Planning for Jobs and Economic Growth

In addition to helping to push sustainable development policies that run counter to the tradition and law of the US, the grant also makes it a point to reinforce regional governance mechanisms. Only “multijurisdictional and multi-sector partnership consisting of a consortium of governmental entities and non-profit partners.” are eligible.

Regional governance makes government more remote from the people and sets up numerous boards, councils and commissions of unelected bureaucrats.

Charlotte Iserbyte, in her book “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America” writes,

THE DAILY WORLD OF NOVEMBER 8, 1975 CARRIED A VERY INTERESTING ARTICLE ENTITLED “Planning Is Socialism’s Trademark” by Morris Zeitlin.

We have no regional government and no comprehensive regional planning to speak of. Regional government and planning remain concepts our urban scholars and planners have long advocated in vain….

. . .In socialist countries, metropolitan regions enjoy metropolitan regional government and comprehensive planning.

. . .The economic and functional efficiencies and the social benefits that comprehensive national, regional and city planning make possible in socialist society explain the Soviet Union’s enormous and rapid economic and social progress.

The Daily World (newspaper of the Communist Party USA) was formerly known as The Daily Worker and was founded in 1924.

The importance of this article lies in its blatant admission that regionalism, which is gradually becoming the accepted method of unelected governance in the United States (unelected councils and task forces, participatory democracy, public-private partnerships, etc.) is the form of government used in democratic socialist and communist countries.

(Page 134 of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyte)

On August 10, 2010 the City of Norman, Oklahoma passed a Resolution in support of ACOG’s (Association of Central Oklahoma Governments) application for federal money under the Sustainable Communities Initiative that would be used to create a regional plan for Sustainable Development.

In a paper entitled,  The Promise and Perils of “New Regionalist” Approaches to Sustainable Communities, Lisa T. Alexander writes;

“The Grant Program’s unique targeting of regions as sites for regulatory reform, as well as its multijurisdictional and multisectoral emphasis, make it an example of what scholars and policymakers call “New Regionalism.”

The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program is an attempt by the Obama Administration to resurrect federal incentives to facilitate regional collaboration as a condition to receive federal funding

Yet, other than the 1960’s housing and transportation programs mentioned previously, there is little precedent in our federalist system for this type of federal/regional regulatory cooperation.

 http://ssrn.com/abstract=1818030

Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

ACOG, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments applied for funds from HUD’s Communities Regional Planning Grant.

ACOG Seeks Partners for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program

Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is seeking regional partners for the new HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program

To kick things off, on July 19 ACOG hosted a Sustainable Communities Workshop on the Chesapeake Energy campus.

According to HUD, the regional planning grants will be awarded competitively to regional partnerships consisting of state and local governments, MPOs, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations.

Read more

The consensus seems to be that Metropolitan Planning Organizations are the natural choice as a vehicle for regional governance and that coordination of land use transportation, housing and economic development are the areas of society that must be integrated. 

“Responsible for planning and programming transportation investments, metropolitan planning organizations [MPOs] are the most widespread form of regional governance in the United States today”…. Myron Orfield  American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality, (The Brookings Institution Press,Washington, D.C., 2002), p. 137

ACOG is one of eleven regional councils of government in Oklahoma and one of only two that is a federally recognized as an MPO, a Metropolitan Planning Organization.

With only a few unique exceptions nationwide (such as the MPO in Portland, Oregon), MPO policy committee members are not elected directly by citizens. Rather, a policy committee member typically is an elected or appointed official of one of the MPO’s constituent local jurisdictions.

From Wikipedia

Of course, federal money will be provided for this endeavor and as shown above, federal money is contingent upon the regionalist approach to these endeavors which largely bypasses both the participation and notice of the average taxpayer.

From an editorial in the CHATTANOOGA NEWS-FREE PRESS of November 18, 1972, about the perils of accepting federal funding for local needs;

“Philosophically, local governmental dependence upon federal grants through revenue sharing lessens the independence of action and decision by local government, thus becoming… (a) threat to the degree of freedom we have experienced and should guard carefully.”

In the future, State and local governments will look to the federal government to provide them with funds rather than to their own initiative. As a consequence, they will become increasingly more dependent upon the federal government and increasingly more impotent themselves.

Forcing Change

Sustainable communities present three problems:

(1) the initiative for a community to become a sustainable community almost always comes from outside the community;

(2) the comprehensive plan through which a community is transformed into a sustainable community always infringes, and in many instances completely destroys, private property rights; and

(3) the local community rarely knows anything about the plan until it reaches the final stages of adoption

This process, of course, is by design. In communities that have been transformed, individuals may discover that they cannot build a house for grandma on five acres of their own land because the county’s comprehensive plan requires no more than one home per 40-acres. Many communities discover that their comprehensive plan includes a provision to incorporate by reference the entire set of 13 different codes developed by the International Code Council. Each of these codes amounts to government dictating human behavior.

These codes go far beyond building and fire safety codes. They include: residential, property maintenance, energy conservation, wildland interface, and other behavior modification codes.

. . .Sustainable development is coming to your community, or is already there. Your property rights have been diminished, or soon will be. The only way to protect your community and your property and profit is to reject the entire concept of government-dictated land use and behavior codes.

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/forcing-change/010/11-sustainable.htm

Is Urban Planning “Creeping Socialism”?

Kaye Beach

May 21, 2011

The following paper deals mostly with urban and suburban physical planning and exposes some of the most glaring aspects of the flawed logic of smart growth.

It is one of the most coherent articles on the topic that I have found and I highly recommend it to anyone who is trying to understand things like how in the world increasing density in a city is supposed to reduce congestion and pollution.

And if you ask the planners,  they tell you things like this;

Myth: SmartCode increases traffic congestion.
Truth: SmartCode uses narrower (but straighter) streets and on-street parking to slow traffic. While you might think this would increase congestion, just about everything you need on a daily basis would be in/near your neighborhood, so why drive to, say, the grocery store when you can walk or bike safely to it? Having neighborhood schools and reliable public transit to employment centers could eliminate the need to drive on a daily basis altogether

Link

Now this is how I used to handle my kids when they would ask questions that I would  rather not answer. Redirection and suggestion are powerful tactics when you are dealing with children.  I don’t know how long that is going to  hold with taxpaying adults but let me venture a guess.  About as long as it takes for the nonsense to come to their neighborhood.

Trying to understand “smart growth” has made me about as frustrated as trying to understand how spending money keeps you from going bankrupt

or how the tax system is voluntary but not really.

I guess that’s why we need to leave all of this complicated stuff to the experts.

Is Urban Planning “Creeping Socialism”?

by Randall O’Toole

Socialism is commonly defined as government ownership of the means of pro
duction. With the exception of a number of services that are viewed as natural
monopolies, such as sewer and water supplies, socialism in the form of government ownership has never achieved prominence in the United States. Instead, governments here have relied on regulation as a way of obtaining the same goals that socialists claim to seek: efficiency, equality, and control of externalities. If this approach is socialism, then urban planning has represented creeping socialism since around 1920. But it has recently accelerated and is now running rather than creeping.
Moreover, it has such a head start that lovers of freedom may not be able to halt it, much less turn it around.

Read More

Private Property Ownership in Oklahoma Barrier to Sustainable Development

Kaye Beach

May 9, 2011

If you are looking for some clarity regarding the confusing cacophony surrounding “Sustainability” efforts in Oklahoma, you should read this.

In 2004 The Oklahoma Academy set their sights on Oklahoma’s Environment: Pursuing A Responsible Balance, a 208 page compilation of essays, opinions and ideas given by experts covering sustainability issues mostly in the context of gaining acceptance for Sustainable Development practices.

The Oklahoma Academy report addresses the definition of sustainability in the second essay, Moving Toward Sustainable Progress by Will Focht

The most commonly cited definition of sustainability was offered in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


The Brundtland Commission is the unofficial name of the World Commission on Environment and Development, which was chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland , a former prime minister of Norway. Created as an independent commission in response to a United Nations General Assembly resolution of 1983, the body was given the general mandate of proposing ways in which the international community could achieve sustainable development that would both protect the environment and fulfill the aspirations of the poorer countries for economic development.   From Answers.com

For the truth about Sustainable Development, I recommend Understanding Sustainable Development For the People and their Public Officials by Freedoms Advocates

www.freedomsadvocates.org

Sustainable Development has become a “buzz” term that refers to a political agenda, rather than an objectively sustainable form of development. Specifically, it refers to an initiative of the United Nations (U.N.) called Sustainable Development Agenda 21. Sustainable Development Agenda 21 is a comprehensive statement of a political ideology that is being progressively infused into every level of government in America.

Taken from Understanding Sustainable Development For the People and their Public Officials

Further into the Oklahoma Academy report, the problem of private land ownership is addressed.  The problem is, according to this report, is that too much of it is privately owned in Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma, which ranked number forty-two in 1995 among the fifty states in percentage of land owned by Federal and State governments (National Wilderness Institute 1995). Only eight states had more land under private ownership than Oklahoma. “

Beth Schaefer Caniglia, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sociology at Oklahoma State University and member of the Board for the Oklahoma Sustainability Network gives her advice to overcoming  the  “long-standing sentiments regarding private property rights as symbols for democracy and freedom” held by Oklahomans.

“Many landowners resist the perceived slippery slope of conservation mandates and retreat behind constitutional takings provisions, . . .”

 

The Constitution protects property rights mainly through the Fifth Amendment’s Takings or Just Compensation Clause: ‘‘nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.’’

link

Drawing upon her experience as a “consultant for the NGO Steering Committee to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development”, Ms. Caniglia offers some suggestions to overcome the problems that arise from the friction between sustainable development goals and the rights of property owners.

 

“These recommendations flow from my scholarly and professional experience as an environmental sociologist studying sustainable development policy making at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and in various sectors of society.  They are also informed by my involvement in Oklahoma sustainability-related organizations and initiatives”

Oklahoma, according to Ms. Caniglia, need some work on its “cultural framework”, noting that

“Recent decades have witnessed increasingly heated debate over efforts designed to harmonize environmental protection mandates with private property rights.”

Ms. Caniglia comforts sustainable development enthusiast by pointing out that,

“Oklahoma is not unique in its need to reconcile sustainable ecological management with private property rights, since Texas, Nebraska and Indiana, among others have even higher percentages of land under private ownership.”

Specifically she recommends work in three areas to aid in adjusting Oklahoma’s faulty cultural framework.

Recommendation #1:Facilitate Place-based Environmental Education for All Citizens in Oklahoma

Recommendation #2: Increase the Scope and Authority of Citizen Engagement in the Creation of Oklahoma Sustainable Land Management Policies

Recommendation #3: Calibrate the Creation of Collaborative Comprehensive Plans and Implementation of Land Use Standards

But education alone is not enough…

“Unfortunately, education alone is not enough to overcome the adversarial character that often pervades discussions of private property rights and sustainable ecosystem management trade-offs, . . .”  (See some of Ms. Caniglia’s other work below)

Understand that “citizen engagement” is not for the purpose of giving you a voice-you already have one.  It’s called the US Constitution which guarantees your natural right to own your property.  This is the law (bastardized though it has been)

Citizen engagement is to give them the chance to change your mind.

“There is an oft-heard adage that planning is neither a highly respected nor a politically powerful field in our state. Such an argument deserves consideration, since comprehensive planning is cited by the World Health Organization, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 as central to the achievement of sustainable development, including public health, profitable industrial growth, and ecosystem integrity.”

Ms. Caniglia correctly recognizes that due to the high percentage of private property ownership in the great State of Oklahoma, there is no way around the citizens.

“With the ownership of our lands predominately private, we can best foster sustainable ecosystem management by engaging our landowners in the process.”

Ms. Caniglia proposes to “surmount the radical flanks of private property rights” by  educating,  visioning, dialoging,  and facilitating  the people of Oklahoma into  a more “balanced” perspective of their natural and legal right to ownership of property which really means behaviorally engineering you into fatally compromising an essential human right that undergirds all others-the right to work, acquire and own and use and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

“Given that citizen landowners continue to be engaged in the comprehensive planning process more than many other citizen engagement opportunities, they should be a focus of our efforts to harmonize private property interests with sustainable land management.”

Here is what the proponents of sustainable development always seem to miss;

“One of the most fundamental requirements of a capitalist economic system—and one of the most misunderstood concepts—is a strong system of property rights. For decades social critics in the United States and throughout the Western world have complained that “property” rights too often take precedence over “human” rights, with the result that people are treated unequally and have unequal opportunities. Inequality exists in any society. But the purported conflict between property rights and human rights is a mirage. Property rights are human rights.”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PropertyRights.html

I encourage everyone to read Ms. Caniglia’s short article.  It begins on page 74 of the Oklahoma Academy’s Town Hall publication of 2004.

http://www.okacademy.org/2004_research.pdf

You may also want to become familiar with the Oklahoma Academy as they are involved in many interesting projects aimed at policy development and have been since the 1980’s.

http://www.okacademy.org/

The Oklahoma Academy’s paper came out in 2004.  Overall, I would bet that they are pleased with the progress on “sustainability” since then.  The federal government is working hand in glove with non-government organizations all over the state giving the whole movement in Oklahoma a real boost.

Here is just one example;

ACOG Association of Central Oklahoma Governments

ACOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred planning organizations across the country.

http://www.acogok.org/About_ACOG/

Board of Directors

http://www.acogok.org/About_ACOG/Board_of_Directors.asp

“. . .regional sustainability planning is ACOG’s latest project!”

Grassroots to massroots

OKC Downtown Monthly – October 2010

. . It takes brave, fearless leaders to tread into the collaborative world of sustainability planning. One such remarkable group is the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG). ACOG is a voluntary association of city, town and county governments within the central Oklahoma area, including Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian and Logan Counties

. . .This kind of coordination among so many member municipalities is really very cool. Also, ACOG’s structure, functions and level of partner participation make it the perfect mechanism for coordinating regional sustainability efforts. And regional sustainability planning is ACOG’s latest project!

. . .In the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress provided a total of $150 million to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a Sustainable Communities Initiative.

. . .But how do we get some of that $100 million, you might ask? Well, ACOG is writing a grant application, of course! ACOG’s regional sustainability planning will mean that citizens from ACOG member cities such as Luther, Jones, Nichols Hills, Oklahoma City, Moore, Slaughterville and Newcastle will leave their comfortable city “bubble” to meet and greet citizens from other municipalities to collaborate in developing sustainable plans to benefit us all.

. . .ACOG’s work on these planning efforts folds perfectly into the ongoing efforts of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network and our municipal sustainability commissions.

Read more

ACOG is a member of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)

“The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism.”


National Associations Congratulate HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Awardees

WASHINGTON, DC (October 14, 2010) – The National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Smart Growth America (SGA), the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI) congratulate the cities, towns, communities and regions which today were awarded Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

One last thought.

“The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.


Other works of Ms Caniglia;

Informal Alliances vs. Institutional Ties: The Effect of Elite Alliances on Environmental TSMO Networks  http://www.mobilization.sdsu.edu/articleabstracts/061caniglia.html

“Caniglia  found that transnational environmental organizations with informal ties to international agencies played more central roles in transnational social movement networks by helping channel information and pressure among disconnected social actors.”

Handbook of Social Movements Across Disciplines pg 47

Globalization and Resistance: Transnational Dimensions of Social Movements

(As a contributor)

http://www.rowmanlittlefield.com/Catalog/SingleBook.shtml?command=Search&db=^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0742519899&thepassedurl=[thepassedurl]

Centralization of Power in Modern Russia

Centralization of Power in Modern Russia Print

Russia’s current system of government is characterized principally by the centralization of power.  Politically, economically, geographically, and culturally, virtually all power resides in “apparatchiks” or elites – wealthy individuals who are close to the Russian White HouseKremlin.  Vladimir Putin orchestrated this consolidation, serving as President from 1999 until March 2008.  He was then forced by term limits to move into the role of Prime Minister.  Although his former post is officially now occupied by his long-time deputy, Dmitry Medvedev, nearly all experts continue to see Putin’s influence both in the consolidation and exercise of power domestically and in foreign policy.  Many experts anticipate Putin’s return to the Presidency in the future.  Most would agree that currently, modern Russia remains Putin’s Russia.

The context of centralization in the Putin era is important:

  • Elections are held for some legislative offices and for the Presidency.  However, one political party, United Russia, dominates.  Elections are not considered to be free or fair by international standards.  Russia is no longer considered by independent analysts to be a democracy, but has instead been called an “electoral monarchy,” a “managed democracy,” or a “bureaucratic oligarchy.”
  • Most significant government postings are appointed by the President and staffed by a group of elites loyal to the Kremlin.  These elites are drawn primarily (75%) from Russia’s security forces – the KGB, the FSB that replaced the KGB, or from other police/intelligence sectors.  These elites, also known as the “siloviki,” usually serve consecutively or simultaneously in the higher ranks of Russia’s corporate sector.
  • Previously elected by the people, the leaders of Russia’s 89 provinces are now appointed, with representation at the national level consolidated into just seven super-governors who serve at the pleasure of the President.  Regional sovereignty among Russia’s numerous internal republics is subject to Moscow’s oversight.
  • All television stations and most of the radio news outlets are state-owned or state-controlled.  The internet is considered mostly free, but vastly underutilized.  Both state-dominated and independent print media exist, but government intimidation and harassment is common and inevitably leads to self-censorship.  Russia regularly ranks among the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.  There have been a number of unsolved murders of journalists in Russia in the past eight years, including the high profile execution-style murder of prominent Putin critic Anna Politkovsky.
  • The actions of opposition parties and leaders are tightly controlled by the Kremlin, and the full force of the state is brought to bear against those stepping outside established boundaries.  Full freedom of association does not exist.  Civil society is highly restricted.  NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), especially those with international connections, are regulated by the state.
  • The state reserves the right to breach private property protections for any reason; nationalization or seizure of businesses is common.  No significant accumulation of wealth is generally tolerated outside the Kremlin-elite network.
  • The courts provide little remedy for individuals or corporations.  Judges and prosecutors are often seen as corrupt; defense lawyers are often harassed and intimidated.  A culture of impunity reigns and abuse of power by public officials is common.
  • The Kremlin promotes a youth movement known as Nashi, an ultra-patriotic group that receives government support and training.
  • Putin’s government has also been involved in curriculum and textbook redesign in Russian schools, commissioning the rewriting of some history texts to sanitize them of the mention of Stalinist excesses.  History texts memorialize the sacrifices of Soviet troops in defeating Hitler, glorify the tsarist past, and indulge in revisionist accounts of the abuses suffered under Communist rule

Read More

 

Who’s Really Getting “Green” in Oklahoma? Local Governments for Sustainability

“Private property and freedom are inseparable.” – George Washington

ICLEI

Harvey Ruvin, Vice Chair of the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI),and Clerk of the Circuit and County Court in Miami-Dade County, Florida, has said that

“individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective” in the process of implementing Sustainable Development.”

From “What is Sustainable Development?”

Taxpayer Dollars and Foundation Grants Help a U.N.-Inspired Group
Show U.S. Cities How to Enact Climate Change Policies

“ICLEI- Local
Governments for Sustainability” is a 501(c)
(3) nonprofi t created by a U.N. conference.
Now it’s offering advice to local politicians
and recruiting “strategic partners” to build
pressure for municipal energy regulation” Says The Capitol Research Center.


The City of Edmond is hosting  a Sustainability forum tonight at 6pm.

“Over 1200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations worldwide comprise ICLEI’s growing membership. ICLEI works with these and hundreds of other local governments through international performance-based, results-oriented campaigns and programs”

First of all, what is ICLEI?

It is an United Nations Environmental Program

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

Also Known As:

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability

“ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations who have made a commitment to sustainable development.  ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.”

“ICLEI was founded in 1990 as the “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives”.  The Council was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at our inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York.

ICLEI Charter 2006
“The Association shall maintain its formal institutional relationships with its founder patrons, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), the latter from 1 January 2004 merged into the newly established World Organisation of United Cities and Local Governments.”
Find out if your city is an ICLEI city-

ICLEI USA Membership List

Residents of cities investing in the ICLEI plan will be relentlessly treated to the upsides of participation, but what are the true implications?

From Freedoms Advocates;

While some of these policies sound good on the surface, they result in consequences such as:

  • High-density housing scams
  • Traffic congestion
  • Open space where access is not allowed
  • Government “partnering” with favored private businesses and non-profit agencies, using your tax money
  • Undermining Constitutional administration of government
  • Managed control over your life
  • Mismanagement of public utilities
  • Prohibitions on natural resource management leading to increased fire hazards, lack of water, and private property restrictions,
  • Increased taxes, fees, regulations and restrictions

Here very good outline of basic steps you can take to find out more about ICLEI and what you can do to oppose ICLEI in your city-

And here is more information on downsides of this plan for “sustainability” collected from various sources;

The American Thinker

UN Agenda 21 – Coming to a Neighborhood near You

Most Americans are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program known as Agenda 21. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development created Agenda 21 as a sustainability agenda which is arguably an amalgamation of socialism and extreme environmentalism brushed with anti-American, anti-capitalist overtones.

The American Policy Center

In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a “wrenching transformation” must take place to lead America away from the “horrors of the Industrial Revolution.” The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and its’ roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992.

Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy – often referred to as top-down control. Truly, Sustainable Development is designed to change our way of life.

Many are now finding non-elected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations. As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing power and decision-making ability in their own communities. Most decisions are now being made behind the scenes in non-elected “sustainability councils” armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and grant money.

In fact, a recent study reported that elected city councils and commissioners have lost approximately 10% of their legislative power during the past 10 years, while, through the consensus process, the power of private groups called Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has increased by as much as 300%. It is a wrenching transformation, indeed.

Read More

Lots of information and resources here;

Concerned Citizens Against ICLEI

and Here-ICLEI Primer: Your Town and Freedom Threatened /Freedom Advocates

And finally a small collection of documents regarding Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development