The November elections marked a sea change in the political landscape at every level of government nationwide. Right now, all eyes are focused on the Wisconsin standoff between Governor Scott Walker and the public employee unions. But under the radar, completely overlooked by the mass media, is the unprecedented move recently taken by newly-elected Carroll County, Maryland Commissioners Richard Rothschild, Robin Frazier,Haven Shoemaker, Dave Roush and Doug Howard, who abolished the County’s Office of Sustainability. They then voted unanimously to drop out of the UN’s International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). They are the first governmental organization to do so.
For those unfamiliar with the sustainable development agenda, this might not seem like much, but it is huge. If you have been following my recent series on the subject, you will know that local Sustainability offices, under the auspices of the ICLEI’s Local Governments for Sustainability, are the tiny, visible tip of the monstrous Agenda 21 sustainable development iceberg, the ultimate goal of which is to transform American society from the bottom up into a socialist ward of UN global governance. As of today, there are approximately 600 local governments in the US who have signed on to this Trojan Horse.
All the commissioners are to be commended for this bold decision. Predictably, the left is up in arms. The commissioners have already been challenged to a debate on their decision and the other side wants to bring in heavy hitters from the EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment in an attempt to discredit the commission’s earth shattering (figuratively) move.
I think the commissioners took some skin.
Richard Rothschild led the charge. He campaigned on this issue, framing it, appropriately, as a matter of private property rights. In an American Thinker article he co-wrote last summer with Scott Strzelczyk, he explained that: “Sustainability has less to do with the environment, and everything todo with economics. It is an attack on capitalism, and an attack on America’s middle class lifestyle.”
Rich recently discussed Agenda 21 in a radio address. Listen here. This is the kind of leadership that has been sorely lacking at all levels of government and hopefully his example and that of his fellow commissioners will embolden more such individuals to step forward before it is too late.
Following the election, Carroll County’s sustainability director saw the writing on the wall and opted for early retirement. He then began taking pot shots at the new commissioners in the local paper. After being party to the biggest attempted land grab in the county’s history under the “Smart Growth” banner, this clown had the gall to wonder aloud how anyone could believe a UN planning document marketed as “Smart Growth” could affect Carroll County. I have a suggestion for him: read the documents.
Rich responded to these attacks with an in-depth explanation of Sustainable Development published in the local paper:
Sustainability invokes government power to enforce activists’ views of environmentalism. They want to replace farmers’, ranchers’ and other landowners’ concept of stewardship with government-centric control. It merges environmentalism and socialism to expand government into every aspect of our lives, including land use, food production, housing, transportation, manufacturing, energy rationing and even health care.
He identifies the ICLEI for what it really is:
…an organization with extreme beliefs on global warming that promotes United Nations’ big-government socio-economic policies. The UN Millennium Papers caution activists not to mention the UN Agenda because of potential American backlash, and instruct, “So, we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth.”
Rich cites egregious examples of “sustainability” in practice:
Sustainability disciples use euphemistic terms like “environmental justice,” and collude with government to enforce oppressive regulations at any cost. Don’t believe me? Google “EPA TMDL lawsuits” and see the list of activists that sue the EPA and obtain federal court opinions that embolden oppressive regulations.
Why does the EPA advertise these lawsuits on its website? Ironically, every time the EPA loses to an environmental group, it grows stronger as courts direct the EPA to enforce. The courts have become unwitting accomplices to government overreach. One Maryland county faces $1.8 billion in regulatory mandates, possibly enough to push them to the brink of insolvency.
In another bid for expansion, government auctions off imaginary carbon credits. The 2008 northeast auction raised $600 million in hidden taxes that are passed on to struggling families through higher utility costs.
The words “sustainable development” deceitfully suggest environmental conservation, and people who focus on the slogans without reading the fine print come up with simplistic conclusions like “it’s all about the environment.” In reality, Agenda-21 based sustainability programs seek government control of land, labor and capital in order to promote “social justice”.
As documented in Part I of this series, buzzwords for socialism like “social justice,” “collective,” “equity,” and “redistribution,” are used throughout Agenda 21 texts. If you study the documents that spawned Agenda 21, most formulated by prominent socialist leaders from around the world, it is clear that their key concerns are: 1. abolishing private property and redistributing it according to socialist goals worldwide, and 2. herding humans into small urban communities where, stripped of freedom and mobility, we will live and work according to government diktat.
For example, the Millennium Project calls for a global tax on all countries to provide monies for developing and third world countries. “Environmental sustainability” is only one of eight Millennium Development Goals. The rest are a laundry list of anti-poverty and health programs; laudable goals maybe, but nothing to do with Chesapeake Bay pollution to say the least. Furthermore, these countries have received billions in aid from the U.S. and elsewhere for decades, but because they are usually run by corrupt dictators of one form or another, such aid serves only to prop them up, thereby perpetuating the problem rather than solving it. But they’re socialists, so it’s okay.
More to the point, Dr. Michael Coffman’s famous Agenda 21 “Wildlands” map reveals the endgame of Agenda 21:
Dr. Michael Coffman's Wildlands Map
Agenda 21 is being implemented throughout the U.S., as the quiet work of the ICLEI finds its way into state law and county code. The video below reveals how it was pushed in rural Richland County, South Carolina, sold as a “Comprehensive Plan” called “Vision 20/20”. Explained by state legislator Joe Neal – a Democrat – the video provides a diagram chillingly similar to the Wildlands map, limiting development to small urban centers and leaving rural communities to die on the vine.
VIDEO:South Carolina & Comprehensive Planning
If Rep. Neal’s sincere appeal in this four minute video doesn’t convince you, his full two hour presentation is available here.
The Comprehensive Plan stalled in 2003 due to citizen resistance but passed in 2009. It calls for creation of “Urban Villages… in contrast with suburban sprawl and inefficient land use.” Note the negative associations with “suburban sprawl.” They will fix that.
The Plan directs that, “Throughout the suburban areas infill development (emphasis added) should be a focus in residential, commercial and industrial areas, complementing and connecting the existing sprawl pattern. Housing should be varied at 4-8 units per acre… Underutilized commercial strips and big-box retail parcels can be divided and redeveloped into smaller blocks with street extensions and pedestrian-friendly designs.”
So if you moved to the suburbs to get some room, avoid urban crime and get better schooling for your kids, forget it. They’re going to tell you how and where to live, because they deem single family suburban homes “unsustainable”. The Richland County plan is similar to the description for “20 Minute Neighborhoods” advocated by the Mayor of Portland, Oregon. The official map is also eerily similar to Dr. Coffman’s.
The state of Virginia has gone all out in a similar effort. Virginia House Bill 3202, signed into law by Democrat governor Tim Kaine in 2007 with bi-partisan support, requires 67 counties and cities to create “Urban Development Areas” based on decennial population growth criteria. The UDAs must be able to accommodate that growth and must include features like “pedestrian friendly” design, mixed use housing and minimum housing densities that presume an urban landscape and encourage low-income subsidized housing. The buzzwords change, but the description is virtually identical to Richland County, South Carolina, Portland, Oregon, and countless other towns throughout America.
The despotic nature of these mandates undermines the entire concept of private property, a key goal stated prominently in Agenda 21 documents. It removes decision making latitude from both property owners and local governments, and ruins property values, while completely changing the complexion and character of rural counties. Add to this the sheer lunacy of requiring vast new housing projects when mortgage foreclosures are just beginning to recover from all time high rates. Construction companies like the guaranteed business these mandates insure, a big reason why they enjoy bi-partisan support. But at what cost to our communities, our Constitution, our very way of life?
Finally, there is another even more pernicious factor that may underline politicians’ motivations to support this wholesale assault on private property. UDAs are supposed to accommodate ten to twenty years of population growth within each designated county. According to the Census Bureau, between 1990 and 2010, Virginia’s population grew by about 2 million people. Over 25 percent of that population growth was due to an influx of Hispanics. The Hispanic population represented a mere 3 percent of Virginia’s population in 1990, but since then has grown 300 percent, from 160,000 people to 632,000!
In some cases, Hispanic population growth dwarfs all else. In Prince William County for example, in 1990 the Hispanic population was a modest 4 percent of the population: 9,662 people. Today it stands at 81,460, accounting for almost 40 percent of total population growth in the county! Between 2000 and 2010 Chesterfield County grew by 56,000 people. Of that total, 15,247, almost 30 percent, were Hispanic. For comparison, the white population only increased by 16,507 people. Whites represented 77 percent of the total population in 2000, Hispanics only 3 percent. The Hispanic population growth rate in Chesterfield County between 1990 and 2010 was over 800 percent.
These growth rates cannot be accounted for by births. Nationwide, the Hispanic population has grown by about 25 million since 1990. There are at least 12 million illegals in the U.S. currently, mostly Hispanics. So at a minimum, about half of the growth rate in the U.S. Hispanic population since 1990 is due to illegals.
By demanding UDAs in counties with high population growth rates, the Virginia legislature is pandering to illegal immigrants. Doing so will change not only the character, but the voting preferences of its rural counties. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who will get the majority of those votes if the Democrats manage to pass an amnesty law. With the various vote fraud strategies being employed by leftists nationwide, amnesty may not even be necessary. If they succeed here, redistricting will become irrelevant.
This is another covert strategy embedded in Agenda 21, perhaps the most dangerous of all, that has so far flown completely under the radar. Although Carroll County’s actions were not related to illegal immigration, the threat of dense low-income urbanized development around their rural towns in order to promote “social equity” was a factor.
Rothschild said, “They talk about sustainability promoting ‘healthier and better balanced’ neighborhoods. But “healthy and better balanced” in the sustainable development context means equally distributed. The practical result is that the county is burdened with people with no pattern of personal responsibility, people who do not share the values of the community, who have done nothing to contribute to its character or development and thus no vested interest, all for the sake of ‘equity.’ The true underlying purpose, however, is to shift voting patterns from right to left.”
The Carroll County commissioners have taken a bold step in publicly calling out the ICLEI and Agenda 21, but their work has just begun. “We have our own rural agricultural diversity and it is on the endangered species list.” Rothschild quipped.
This is an issue custom made for Tea Parties. Agenda 21 is being implemented at the state and local level, where citizen activists have the most leverage. Tea Parties nationwide need to get behind this effort and bring the dangers of Agenda 21-based planning dogma to the attention of state and local governments everywhere. It is critical to educate, support and encourage sympathetic legislators at all levels of government and work furiously to oust legislators and bureaucrats who, for whatever reason, refuse to abandon this evil agenda.