Tag Archives: sustainability

Environmental justice?

Kaye Beach

June 24, 2012

If you read many government policy papers you will invariably encounter any number of catchphrases that you have no earthy idea what they mean.  Case in point, I keep stumbling upon the phrase ‘Environmental Justice.’  It sounds nice but what does it mean?

As explained in the next two articles by  Katherine Timpf,

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement” of people, regardless of race, “with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

I know, still about as clear as mud isn’t it?  If you want to know what environmental justice really is, and you do need to know because it is being put into practice right here in Oklahoma, read on. . .

 

Environmental justice: A new movement to restrict your movement

June 15, 2012

Environmental justice: A new movement to restrict your movement

. . .a nearly unknown executive order could have a greater impact on the future of America than all of those things combined, potentially giving the federal government power to control every project in the country.

The obscure memorandum of understanding, based on a long-forgotten executive order signed by President Clinton in 1994, marries the issues of environmentalism and social justice. The federal government can use the laws from one to control the other.

Seventeen federal agencies signed the Aug. 4, 2011, memorandum  — a clear indication of its widespread implications. By signing it, “Each Federal agency agrees to the framework, procedures, and responsibilities” of integrating environmental justice into all of its “programs, policies, and activities.”

This integration was the topic of the State of Environmental Justice in 2012 Conference held April 5 in Crystal City, Va. The low-key conference featured speakers who are key players in the movement, offering a rare glimpse into how the federal government intends to use this new tool as an instrument of power and control over the lives of every American.Environmental justice has already stopped transportation projects in their tracks by using Title VI, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial “discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Mr. Obama explicitly suggests using Title VI to achieve environmental justice in his memorandum.

“This is all about integrating environmental justice into the transportation decision-making process,” said conference speaker Glenn Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice in Transportation Project at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The president had taken steps to integrate environmental justice into transportation even before he wrote the memo. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency joined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation to create the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

This partnership, according to theEnvironmental Justice and Sustainability Reference Deskbook,” “marks a fundamental shift in the way the federal government structures its transportation, housing, and environmental policies, programs and spending” to include environmental justice concerns.

Read more: http://times247.com/pset/27environmental-justice-a-green-machine4/page/1#ixzz1ylDJ8YDP

Part II

Sometimes, environmental justice is neither

Americans hear it every day: The environment is bad, and we need to change it. Life is not fair for minorities, and we need to help them. The Obama administration sees both of these mantras as united under a common cause: environmental justice.

Read more: http://times247.com/articles/66environmental-justice-part-ii-taking-a-second-look-at-green8#ixzz1ylJVbq4m

Advertisements

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)

Oklahoma Property Owners Bogged Down by FEMA’s Flood Plain Maps

Kaye Beach

June 8, 2012

Last summer I did some looking into the new FEMA flood maps that were causing a lot of trouble and expense for  property owners across the state and nation.

Okla. Water Resources Board/FEMA Flood Map Follies Aug. 24, 2011

Oklahomans Getting Soaked! Tag Teamed by FEMA and OWRB Aug. 30, 2011

Of course this is still going on.  The following article is an editorial about the nonsense going on with FEMA and its new flood maps in Shawnee, OK.  Below that is a very good article about the origins and purpose of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Planning that is the basis for the floodplain expansion.

This what “sustainability” looks like.

Bureaucrats behaving badly: FEMA flood plain mess in Shawnee

The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: June 4, 2012

IN government, small changes can have big consequences. Take the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s redrawing of flood plain maps. That simple change now threatens to derail economic development efforts and punish many homeowners with increased compliance costs.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in Shawnee. Thanks to the new maps, portions of the hospital and airport are now considered part of a flood plain, and a long-running effort to attract a national chain restaurant may be thwarted. The Shawnee Mission Plaza has been in constant development for 20 years with no problem. But now FEMA demands that officials conduct a new hydrology study for the 152-acre development before an eatery can be added.

That understandably frustrates local officials, who already paid for a hydrology study in 2006. The new study, they note, will provide no new detail, but will cost an extra $50,000 and delay the restaurant project for months, if not derail it.

The Global Safety Cult and the Abolition of Private Property

by William Roberts

Summary:

Chapter Seven of Agenda 21 calls for the establishment of a “culture of safety.” All of Agenda 21, Chapter 7 is the expansion of UN Resolution 44/236 and the foundational material for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA’s) “Multi-Jurisdictional All-Hazard Mitigation Planning” programme that fails to provide safety and destroys liberty.

Read the entire article here

The Super Congress-An American Politburo

Politburo in Russia

Kaye Beach

August 8, 2011

Is America moving into a Soviet styled government?  Notice that representation just isn’t what it used to be.  There’s a reason for that.

My good friend, Howard Houchen, explains why in an article published in The American Thinker today.

An American Politburo

By Howard Houchen

An American Politburo has materialized before our eyes.  Yes, our Congress is the result of a two-party system (those Rs and Ds) and, on the surface, doesn’t fit very well with the one-party USSR system, but, let’s look at those little pesky things called facts.

Administrative actions are already replacing legislative acts as the primary governance mechanism.  Just examine the number of regulations emanating from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, etc, etc.  Unelected officials (unaccountable to the citizenry) all around this land are producing laws we must abide by, or face some form of punishment, without ever coming under scrutiny by those we elect to represent our interests (and to protect and defend the constitution of these United States of America).  By the way, governance is not government (as Americans know government).  Governance is, very simply, rule.

Many large- and medium-sized cities in America have formed Councils on Sustainability, Councils on Urban Development, Councils on Transportation, Councils on Economic Development, and Council, after Council, after Council.  Hmmm…most of these councils are appointed, not elected, here in America.

Just exactly what is a council?  The Russian term for council is soviet.  In the Council Union (the Soviet Union), rules were laid down by local soviets, regional soviets, and the national soviet.  Notice there is no mention of a state council.  Councils (Soviets) were responsible for regions.  Regions did not have political boundaries so, for all intents and purposes, you had regional governance, outside the political structure, unelected and unaccountable.

Today we see many acts, via legislation and administrative rule, pushing for regionalism in America (for a more in-depth discussion of Regional Governance see: https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/tag/regionalism).  Soviets in America are real — unelected councils — and they are coming to a region near you.

Read More

AxXiom For Liberty Live! Friday Aug 5 6-8pm CST “Oklahoma’s Ladies of Liberty”

***Miss the show?  Get the Podcast!  Click HERE

Show notes added below***

How Free Do You Want To Be?

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen,  two ladies that are giving legs to their ideals.  These two women don’t just want freedom-they demand it!

Listening Info Here

Special Guests Molly Jenkins and Laurette Lynn

These two ladies that seem to have a knack for stirring it up wherever they go…all in the name of Liberty.

 Molly Jenkins

First up is, we are pleased to welcome Molly Jenkins from Edmond Oklahoma.  Molly is a founding member of GEL (Govern Edmond Locally), a homegrown grassroots group of citizens that are taking an active interest in their local government.  The City of Edmond invited residents to get involved and give input into the governing of their city and the citizens took them at their word.  What happened next was inspiring. . . or exasperating, depending on your viewpoint.

December 6, 2010

Protesters cut short Edmond sustainability forum

Molly was instrumental in bringing the citizens of Edmond together in opposition to the city’s membership in ICLEI,  the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.  The City of Edmond subsequently dropped its membership with ICLEI joining with at least half a dozen communities around the nation who have done the same.

GELS’s mission statement is simple: Restore Constitutional governance at the local level in Edmond, OK.

Molly Jenkins will be speaking at a Townhall Meeting on August 9, 2011 at 7pm at the Edmond Community Center,
28 E Main St, Edmond, OK 73034, USA

 Laurette Lynn-the Unplugged Mom.

Unconventional, uncensored and unscripted; smart, serious and sometimes snarky host of Unplugged Mom Podcast, a popular web talk podcast for home educators, and other outside-the-box thinkers and founder of the popular blog UnpluggedMom.com .

If you ask Laurette why she home educates she will tell you;

“I do it because my kids are my responsibility.  My responsibility.  Their health, their welfare, their well-being, their intellectual stimulation – are all my responsibility, not society, not my village, not school;  Mine.  I am not afraid of that.”

If the idea of educating your children in the home seems daunting, listen to this lady and be inspired!

Heads Up!

Rant ahead!  Howard has a burr under his saddle over the creation of the “super congress”  Find out what a “poliburo” is and why the “super congress” is a very BAD idea.

Howard says;

“On 01 August 2011, OUR legislators in America created The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.  Congress (central-committee –for those still following the analogy) created what has been dubbed the “Super-Congress” because, by its rationale, the urgency of America’s deficit problem cannot await action by it as a whole body.  Hmmm…did you read the opening quote at the beginning of this article?  Ladies and gentlemen, American government has created a POLITBURO!”

Also we will give you the latest news on my “Real ID Reckoning”  which is attracting some attention on the national level as well as local and sparking debate.

Listen Live tonight from 6-8pm CST on Rule Of Law Radio Network!

*****************************************************************************************

SHOW NOTES

Here is the video of Laurette schooling Sen Jim Wilson;

Links to Stories mentioned ;

From Gun Owners of America

How the Recent Debt Ceiling Law Affects Gun Owners

To quote Kentucky Senator Rand Paul from earlier this week:

“The Super Committee [created by the new law] limits the constitutional check of the filibuster by expediting passage of bills with a simple majority.  The Super Committee is not precluded from any issue [including gun control], therefore the filibuster could be rendered moot.”

Read more

References from interview with Molly Jenkins;

Dec 6, 2010 Edmond

the City of Edmond’s Planning Commission held its first Sustainability Forum.

The meeting didn’t last long due to a number of residents who were asking questions about the new plan and its origins.

Dec 6, The Edmond Sun Protesters cut short Edmond sustainability forum

Here is what the notice about the forum posted at the city’s website www.edmondok.com says.

“The City of Edmond Planning Department wants to hear the public’s ideas and priorities to be included in Edmond’s first Sustainability Plan.”

Shannon Entz. the forum leader and community development manager explains the purpose of the Edmond Sustainability Forum;

“The Edmond Sustainability Forum was created by the Planning Department and designed for Edmond residents to share their ideas and priorities for sustainable conservation efforts in their community” (My emphasis)

She goes on to say that “City staff would then take those recommendations to implement in a grass roots community plan” Link

“Sharing ideas and priorities” can be a messy process.  In fact it usually is a messy process, so why were they so surprised?

One thing that stood out to me as an outside, if not impartial observer, is that it seems like one key decision has already been made for all of the residents of Edmond and that was the decision that there will be a “sustainability” program implemented with all that this amorphous word implies

Edmond residents wanted to know what “sustainability” meant before proceeding.  It is important to define your terms especially in a governmental sense- which means policy making.   The reason that this is important is that policy changes will affect everyone… your property and your pocketbook.

The meaning of the word “sustainability”, that the policy is being predicated upon is, in fact, a crucial point.

Conspiracy? 

Where in the heck would people get the idea that the United Nations had anything to do with Edmond’s sustainability plan?

Maybe they used Google and got it from the ICLEI website.

From ICLEIUSA.ORG

According to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainability is not an end goal, but a journey that local governments can take to improve the social equity, environmental, and economic conditions in their jurisdiction

http://www.icleiusa.org/action-center/planning/sustainability-planning-toolkit/planning-overview/introduction

Still not much of a definition for the term ‘sustainability”  but if you are like most Americans whose hackles are raised by idea of the UN messing around in US policy, there might be enough on that page to get you going.

ICLEI has been working hard on giving its website a nice makeover and scrubbing all but the vaguest references to Agenda 21 and the UN but everything you need to know is still out there.  I found this ICLEI presentation to be very instructive;

ICLEI Member Benefits

*ICLEI – The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives aka Local Governments for Sustainability

ICEI’s stated purpose:

A Worldwide Movement of Local Governments
Through its international programs, and projects, ICLEI works with local governments to generate political awareness of key themes by:

  • establishing plans of action to meet defined, concrete, measurable targets
  •  working toward meeting these targets through the implementation of projects
  •  evaluating local and cumulative progress toward sustainable development

International Goals
Our programs, and projects promote participatory, long-term, strategic planning process that address local sustainability while protecting global common goods. This approach links local action to internationally agreed-upon goals and targets such as:

Meeting Milestones
A fundamental component of our performance-based model is the milestone process. Each of our initiatives incorporates a five-milestone structure to guide participating local governments:

  1. establish a baseline,
  2. set a target,
  3. develop a local action plan,
  4. implement the local action plan,
  5. measure results

According to the Capitol Research Center;

ICLEI is well-liked by mayors and city council members because it shows them how to promote climate change initiatives and then does their work for them.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has called ICLEI’s leadership “invaluable” because its “expert technical assistance was instrumental in helping us to complete our first-ever greenhouse gas inventory last year.”

Any person doing a cursory search will land on ICLEI site, those who have even a modicum of internet skills won’t have any trouble at all locating some of the ICLEI materials that are much less guarded against the vigilant eye of those blasted Americans who still hold tight to the idea of national sovereignty and individual rights.

Consensus

The purpose of this meeting was to “build consensus” people showing up with all of those questions and opinions makes the desired “consensus” building impossible.  Why?

They need to gain your agreement (or simply your silence will suffice) to give everything the appearance of legitimacy.

You try to gripe later and they will say –

“Sorry, you should have said something when you had the chance”

This is what I was told was the purpose of such public meetings by a former member of Edmond City government.

Read How To Counter Group Manipulation Tactics by Beverly Eakman

She details how “Provocateurs,” “Agitators,” and “Change Agents” are able to force through their agendas right under your nose. She teaches you their lingo and how they use it to divide you from the group and marginalize your honest questions and objections.

Also see Thwart the Delphi Technique

I could waste a whole lot of space demonstrating why citizens are rightfully bewildered when they begin to do a little research on local policy and find the United Nations all over it.  I’m not going to.  It is too easy to discover for even the mildly curious.  In fact GEL can show you in three clicks where the connections are;

http://gelok.org/2.html

Anyone can see why UN and Agenda 21 would be being referenced in a discussion about sustainability.  If they are unwilling to acknowledge the fact that ICLEI’s purpose is to implement Local Agenda 21, a UN program that was not created with the Bill of Rights in mind, then they are a fool or are trying to play you for one.  Don’t waste one bit more of your Co2 arguing about it.

In truth, any of a number of international entities or corporations for that matter, that are pushing their agenda but it is up to our elected representatives or us to draw the line and say no!

If you read and understand the US Constitution, the Oklahoma State Constitution and or ever listened to a thing your mother said, then you have just about everything you need to discern and describe bad policy.  `

For more info about Agenda 21 see resources listed in Sustainable Subversion

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

Sustainable Development: Best Use of Land or Social Justice?

by Donna Holt

original posting 4/11/11

I think we can envision what sustainable development might mean based on the meaning of the words and a little common sense. Probably the first thought that comes to mind is the continued prosperity of something such as a business. Other things that come to mind is common sense development to keep taxes down, a clean environment, good schools, free enterprise. All of these things are the essence of sustainable development to the average citizen.

What sustainable development isn’t, is the abolishment of private property rights, a bloated over-reaching government, government sanctioned monopolies, erosion of individual freedom, and the redistribution of wealth which is the essence of Chesterfield County’s “new comprehensive plan”.

This form of “Sustainable Development” (capital letters) is a recipe for the destruction of capitalism. If you think I’m kidding, look at what is happening in California. Over the past two decades, regulations incrementally imposed to implement Sustainable Development polices have choked free enterprise out of existence. Businesses are leaving the state in droves. Housing costs have risen to eleven times the annual income of its residents. Even though energy and water consumption is down, the cost to each household is higher and in the absence of any expansion of infrastructure to deliver resources. Unemployment and foreclosure rates are the highest in the nation. The state is essentially bankrupt.

This hardly sounds like what we envision as sustainable development.

The county government is not completely to blame. After all, they are only following the directives of our federal government. The county is rewarded with generous funding for the implementation of the egregious programs that consequently resolve some of the problems of local government, many of which were created by the federal government in the first place.

Read More

The Grassroots in Nebraska discovers something ICLEI creeping across their state

Kaye bEach

Feb 25, 2011

GIN-Grassroots in Nebraska delves in.

From GIN:

What is Sustainable Development you may ask, and why does it constitute a threat to freedom?

There a number of groups who have been studying this movement much longer than we have who can provide more articulate definitions and we have provided links to some of those resources, below.  Sustainable development is the working name for a concept developed over a decade ago within the United Nation’s Agenda 21 program. While marketed mostly as an environmental movement, the goals are all encompassing and therefore impact the fundamental and inalienable rights of all people; life, liberty, and property.

[. . .]The Sustainable Development effort has been focused on impacting government policy at the local level. Visible signs of this impact can be found in such things long-term planning efforts such as “Vision 2015″ in Lincoln and a similar concept in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called “PlanIt Tulsa”, proposals of developments that include dense concentration of people in urban areas that focus on pedestrian, bike paths, and public transportation over passenger vehicles, and rewards-based recycling programs, just to name a few.

Taken separately, any of the few examples listed may seem like worthwhile ideas. Of course the very name for the concept sounds worthy, who among us does not want “development” that is “sustainable”? A refocus on any one of the examples, however, reveals some troubling issues. Long term planning efforts associated with Sustainable Development involve a very small number of people making decisions about other peoples’ private property, dense concentration of peoples with focus on alternate forms of transport are part of the state goal of Agenda 21 advocates to eliminate passenger vehicles, and recycling programs with rewards are proven gateways to forced recycling with fines systems.

Read More

Read GiN’s articles on this topic  –

They Know What’s Best for You: The Vision of the Annointed

Jan. 8, 2011

Another insightful article from the Antiplanner’s blog-

The Vision of the Urbanites

Jan. 3, 2011

As the Antiplanner has traveled and visited people all over the country, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Though I’ve met thousands of suburban and rural residents who are very happy with their homes and lifestyles, I’ve never met one who thinks the power of government should be used to force others to live in the same lifestyle. Yet I’ve met lots of urban residents who openly admit that they believe their lifestyle is so perfect that government should force more if not most people to live in dense, “walkable” cities.

Do cities turn people into liberal fascists? Or do liberal fascists naturally congregate into cities, and if so, why?

A general description of the phenomenon I’ve observed can be found in Thomas Sowell’s 1995 book, The Vision of the Anointed. Sowell says that America’s liberal elites view themselves as smarter or more insightful than everyone else, and thus qualified to impose their ideas on everyone else. The process of doing so, says Sowell, follows four steps (p. 8):

First, the anointed identify or, more usually, manufacture a crisis. Sowell’s book reviews three such crises: poverty, crime, and teen pregnancy, all of which were declining in the 1960s when the liberals turned them into crises. The crises relevant to this blog include such things as urban sprawl (totally manufactured as in fact it is not a problem at all) and auto driving (while some of the effects of driving are negative, these are easily corrected while the overall benefits of driving are positive).

Second, the anointed propose a solution that inevitably involves government action. Sowell makes it clear that the the leadership of the elites go out of their way to define or manufacture the crises in ways that make it appear the government action are the only solutions. In other words, their real goal is to make government bigger, not to solve problems. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it doesn’t really matter; what matters is they propose the wrong solutions to problems that often don’t really exist.

Third, once the solution is implemented, the results turn out to be very different, and often far worse, than predicted by the anointed. Crime, poverty, and teen pregnancy went up, not down, when government stepped in to “fix” these problems in the 1960s. In the case of urban planning, anti-sprawl policies made housing unaffordable and led to the recent mortgage crisis. Anti-automobile policies make congestion worse and therefore waste even more energy and produce more pollution.

The final stage is one of denial, in which the elites claim that their policies had nothing to do with the worsening results. Other factors were at work, they claim; in fact, the results might have been even worse if their enlightened policies had not been put into effect.

Read More