Stealth Land Grabs of Regional Planners, by John Anthony
The true story you are about to read is unfolding in communities across the country. New York's Capital Region Sustainability Plan, Together North Jersey's Regional Sustainability Plan, Envision Lehigh Valley [PA], Florida Seven50 and California's Plan Bay Area are few examples. Google "regional sustainable development" and the name of a city near you to learn more about regional plans in your area.
The people of Polk County, Tennessee cherish their land. Farmers will tell you the soil conditions on every square inch of their acreage and landowners reverently discuss their properties' history. These people would never knowingly submit to strict zoning regulations or government control of their land. Yet, without their knowledge or their informed consent, that is exactly what is about to happen.
Thrive 2055 is a planning scheme to roll 16 counties in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia into a single regional bundle effecting over 1 million residents.
Drive distances to work, bike paths, light rail, mixed-use construction, and greenbelts will all converge into a unified scheme that is a carbon copy of plans unfolding across America. By forming a region, zoning decisions now made by local communities, will be under the authority of a powerful, regional board.
Most Polk County residents never heard of Thrive 2055. It is no wonder. Only a handful of residents attended planners' meetings. On a recent radio appearance, a spokesperson stated that after 2 years of community outreach, planners received just 1200 completed community surveys. Of the planned region's 1 million residents, 998,800 did not participate.
According to the planners, community members decide their plan's makeup and the surveys are critical for gathering their information. The anemic participation suggests very few are interested.
Nor have planners been forthcoming about who took the surveys. Were they stacked with the families of venders who stand to profit from Thrive 2055, or possibly groups of opponents and their friends? Why are they continuing with a so-called 'community plan' with so little interest on the part of the community?
The planners have not answered one of these questions.
Community participation and full-disclosure about the good and bad of regional planning is fundamental if residents are to make informed decisions. Thrive 2055 offers no plan details. They claim the community decides the plan. What community? Are the 1200 who took the survey deciding the plan for the remaining 998,800?
The few who have heard of the Thrive 2055 have scant idea of the outcomes beyond the colorful brochures and trendy planner-speak. Feel-good phrases like, "educated people with good jobs living in a great place" do not inform people. Rather, they disarm them from questioning the underlying flaws of the process.
Since many people own their land and can produce a property deed, they feel their rights are safe. Where regionalism is involved, this fatal misunderstanding sets people up to lose their property rights, their home values and their way of life.
The government does not need to own land to govern what owners can do with it.
Instead, they need to control the zoning of the land. That is what regional planning does. It turns zoning decisions over to un-elected boards who must comply with the requirements of the federal grants that paid for the regional plan's implementation.
Already, in Chattanooga, the economic epicenter for Thrive 2055, planners are entertaining the idea of form-based codes. This is a programmable system for fast tracking zoning ordinances while marginalizing or altogether bypassing legislatures.
Nowhere do planners discuss these important facts with community members.
The community did not ask planners to sell them a regional plan that would swallow their communities' choices. It is incumbent on the planners to reach a representative number of people with full disclosure. It is not incumbent on the people to participate in a poorly defined and unsolicited scheme that endangers their property rights.
Perhaps it is time for Thrive 2055 to admit their failure to inform and engage the public, and simply to move on.
The only way to stop regional land grabs is with an educated population.
I created "Straight Talk About Planning" to help you easily spread the message about corrupt forms of planning.
Visit sustainablefreedomlab.org and download our free material or purchase the DVD.
Regionalism: Obama’s Quiet Anti-Suburban Revolution, Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online, July 30, 2013
The consensus response to President Obama’s Knox College speech on the economy is that the administration has been reduced to pushing a menu of stale and timid policies that, in any case, won’t be enacted. But what if the administration isn’t actually out of ideas? What if Obama’s boldest policy initiative is merely something he’d rather not discuss? And what if that initiative is being enacted right now?
A year ago, I published Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. There I described the president’s second-term plan to press a transformative “regionalist” agenda on the country. Early but unmistakable signs indicate that Obama’s regionalist push is well underway. Yet the president doesn’t discuss his regionalist moves and the press does not report them.
The most obvious new element of the president’s regionalist policy initiative is the July 19 publication of a Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The apparent purpose of this rule change is to force suburban neighborhoods with no record of housing discrimination to build more public housing targeted to ethnic and racial minorities. Several administration critics noticed the change and challenged it, while the mainstream press has simply declined to cover the story.
Yet even critics have missed the real thrust of HUD’s revolutionary rule change. That’s understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUD’s new rule is about a great deal more than forcing racial and ethnic diversity on the suburbs. (Regionalism, by the way, is actually highly controversial among minority groups. There are many ways in which both middle-class minorities in suburbs, and less well-off minorities in cities, can be hurt by regionalist policies–another reason those plans are seldom discussed.)
The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse. To understand how HUD’s new rule will help enact this vision, we need to turn to a less-well-known example of the Obama administration’s regionalist interventionism.
In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.
Essentially, Plan Bay Area attempts to block the development of any new suburbs, forcing all population growth over the next three decades into the existing “urban footprint” of the region. The plan presses 70-80 percent of all new housing and 66 percent of all business expansion into 150 or so “priority development areas” (PDAs), select neighborhoods near subway stations and other public transportation facilities. This scheme will turn up to a quarter of the region’s existing neighborhoods–many now dotted with San Francisco’s famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homes–into mini-Manhattans jammed with high-rises and tiny apartments. The densest PDAs will be many times denser than Manhattan. (See the powerful ten-minute audio-visual assault on Plan Bay Area at the 45-55 minute mark of this debate.)
In effect, by preventing the development of new suburbs, and reducing traditional single-family home development in existing suburbs, Plan Bay Area will squeeze 30 years worth of in-migrating population into a few small urban enclaves, and force most new businesses into the same tight quarters. The result will be a steep increase in the Bay Area’s already out-of-control housing prices. This will hit the poor and middle class the hardest. While some poor and minority families will receive tiny subsidized apartments in the high-rise PDAs, many others will find themselves displaced by the new development, or priced out of the local housing market altogether.
A regional plan that blocks traditional suburban development, densifies cities, and urbanizes suburbs on this scale is virtually unprecedented. That’s why the Obama administration awarded the agencies behind Plan Bay Area its second-highest “Sustainable Communities Grant” in 2012. Indeed, the terms of the administration’s grant reinforce the pressure for density. The official rationale behind the federal award is “encouraging connections” between jobs, housing, and transportation.
That sounds like a directive to locate new residents–poor and minorities included–in existing prosperous communities. In fact, HUD’s new emphasis on “connecting” jobs housing and transportation does more. In practice, bland bureaucratic language about blending jobs, housing, and transportation pressures localities to create Manhattan-style “priority development areas.” The San Francisco case reveals the administration’s broader intentions. Soon HUD and other agencies will begin to press localities directly, rather than through the medium of California’s new regionalist scheme. Replicating Plan Bay Area nationwide is the Obama administration’s goal.
The Enactment of Plan Bay Area was wildly controversial among those who managed to learn about it, yet went largely unnoticed in the region as a whole. One of the chief complaints of the plan’s opponents was the relative lack of publicity accorded a decision with such transformative implications. Critics called for a public vote, and complained that the bureaucrats in charge hadn’t been elected.
Another theme of critics was that “the fix” seemed to be in from the start. Input was largely ignored, opponents claimed, and public forums offered only the illusion of consultation. Although it’s gone largely unreported, that accusation is far truer than even the opponents of Plan Bay Area realize.
Here’s where the Obama administration comes in. Not only does acceptance of the administration’s $5 million grant make it next-to-impossible to de-densify Plan Bay Area, but the grant itself helps to fund “grassroots” supporters of the plan–leftist groups dedicated to radicalizing the scheme still further.
The administration’s “sustainable communities” grants generally require recipients to “partner” with local leftist community organizations. Opponents of Plan Bay Area often outnumber supporters at public meetings. Yet such supporters as are present–groups like TransForm, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marin Grassroots, and East Bay Housing Organization–are funded (or slated to be funded)with the help of the same federal grant that backs up the bureaucrats in charge.
Press accounts of the Plan Bay Area controversy generally say nothing about the financial interest that “non-profit” “grassroots” organizations have in passage of the plan, or about pressures on the bureaucrats in charge to maintain their government-mandated “partnerships” with these community organizations. So when opponents of Plan Bay Area complain about officials simply going through the motions of public consultation, they’re right. The deck is stacked, the fix is in. By way of the federal grant, many of the “grassroots” groups that support Plan Bay Area are actually partners of the decision makers (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments). The Obama administration’s role in all this, while generally unnoticed, is substantial.
If you complain that the regional bureaucracy behind Plan Bay Area undercuts democracy and local control, you’ll be told that local governments retain full authority over land-use within their jurisdictions. In reality, Plan Bay Area subverts that control, and the Obama administration plays a role here as well. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (one of the two agencies in charge of Plan Bay Area) doles out state and federal transportation assistance. Now that Plan Bay Area has been formally approved, MTC can withhold billions of dollars in federal aid from suburban jurisdictions that refuse to densify, leaving local bridges and highways in disrepair. One of the core goals of the Obama administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is to use federal transportation aid as a stick to force regionalist planning on unwilling suburbs.
Recalcitrant suburbs can also be brought to heel by lawsuits claiming violations of federal fair housing law. California’s SB375 facilitates such suits by placing the burden of proof on local jurisdictions accused of housing discrimination. Such legal claims are often brought by leftist community organizations of the type currently funded through the Obama administration’s grant.
When criticism of Plan Bay Area reached a crescendo in suburban Marin County–the center of public opposition to the plan–the bureaucrats pared back their demands for densification in a few resistant municipalities. Obama’s HUD responded by charging that failure to assign more multifamily housing to suburban jurisdictions could violate federal fair housing law. So what looks like a softening of Plan Bay Area’s demands on a few suburban municipalities may ultimately be reversed. By publicly declaring suburban non-cooperation with Plan Bay Area a potential violation of federal housing law, and by funding organizations that could sue to bring resistant suburbs into compliance, the Obama administration is serving as a key enforcer of this controversial scheme.
All of which returns us to HUD’s controversial new regulation expanding the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” When HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that rule change, he acknowledged that it wasn’t really focused on preventing “outright discrimination and access to the housing itself.” The Obama administration is using traditional anti-discrimination language as a cover for a re-engineering the way we live. The real goal is to Manhattanize America, and force us out of our cars.
Regionalism with a Golden Hammer, by John Anthony
President Obama promised to “spread the wealth” during his 2008 candidacy. Few are aware of the network he has established to accomplish that goal. Two of the president’s most effective tools to create this massive transfer are ‘tax base sharing’ and ‘regionalization’.
Mr. Obama’s reason for wanting to transfer wealth is to create “social equity” for the less privileged. It is his belief that the poor live in urban slums, primarily because the rich “white” people moved to the wealthy suburbs leaving the less fortunate behind. Therefore, to correct the injustice, he plans to stop urban sprawl and send the middle class, or at least their money, back to the cities. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but he is actually doing it.
One of the easiest ways to move money from one area to another is through a simple method called ‘tax base sharing’. Instead of using local taxes to pay for local schools and services, tax base sharing, is a process of combining all or a portion of the tax revenues from various localities into a common pool. Then elected or even non-elected bureaucrats divide the money according to a predetermined formula. By altering the formula, it is easy to take money from the rich suburbs and transfer it to less well-off urban areas.
Proponents of tax base sharing argue that the program creates more equity in paying for services and allows people of modest means to have better schools and public services. It is sold to communities on the assumption that it will improve living conditions and everyone gets something.
This is a weak argument as the shift moves your money out of your control and your community. Meanwhile, the cost of rural public services skyrockets with less tax money to offset them. In fact, it so unpopular that, to date, very few regions are using the scheme. Among them is the Minneapolis-St. Paul 7 County Region. In the Twin Cities, proponents tend to be academics and the recipients of the greatest tax benefits while the opponents are the community members who are funding others. What neither side can deny is that, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the government is redistributing wealth and picking the winners and losers.
Still, that has not deterred the president. He has taken a backdoor approach, called ‘regionalization’ to accomplish the very same results of stopping suburban sprawl while transferring middle class wealth toward urban communities. He supports his program with a persuasive “golden hammer” called grant money.
In 2012, President Obama began his Sustainable Communities Initiative. This program sends grant money to develop plans covering housing, land use, transportation, economic integration and other community services. Developing ‘energy efficiency’ and ‘sustainability’, may sound like good goals to protect the planet. But, like so much emerging from the steps of the White House, there is a catch.
The SCI money is only granted to regional plans that are managed by regional authorities or governing boards. In other words, other than in name only, the local planning boards are squeezed out of the planning process. One could argue, the entire purpose of the regional planning groups is to override the authority of those local officials who tend to disrupt the smooth transfers of economic re-distribution.
The final goal of the new regional governments is then to vote in ‘tax base sharing’.
One example of the Sustainable Communities Initiative at work is the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission of Madison, Wisconsin and Dane County. They received a $2 million grant to create a regional master plan. According to Stanley Kurtz, in his book “Spreading the Wealth,” the region received the grant in part because they agreed to place progressive grassroots members on the planning commission to assure their interests were in ideological alignment with those of the president. Sure enough, Lisa Alexander, a leftist supporter of the regional social equity movement drew up the plan. Her summary clearly states, plans “cannot be resolved by individual municipalities or organizations acting alone or through single-focus methods.” She further laments that it will take coercive mandates to force local communities to make certain they spread the wealth.
The Wisconsin Capital Area Regional Plan is not completed and President Obama promises to finish the job and move on to other regions in his second term. Together North New Jersey is just one region in the cross-hairs of the administration’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. Under the funding terms, grant recipients are “required” to support the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development.
If you are a public official and hear the term, ‘tax base sharing’ or ‘regionalization’, think twice. The free-flowing Sustainable Communities’ grant money may glitter like gold, but once the accompanying regulations are imposed, that Golden Hammer will leave you with little authority and your community with even less representation.
State GOP Adopts Resolution Opposing Regionalism
Supports coordination like HB 195, allowing county governments to act on projects of mutual interest.
June 25, 2013, Roswell, GA - This past weekend, the Georgia Republican Party State Committee met to complete the business of adopting resolutions. Key among them was a resolution opposing mandated regionalism.
Regionalism was thrust upon the state in form of the Transportation Investment Act of 2010, known as T-SPLOST, instituting regional governance and taxation.
Even though T-SPLOST was handily defeated in most regions last summer, the law is still on the books and can be reintroduced to the voters in the future. The Transportation Leadership Coalition believes another T-SPLOST referendum using the same flawed law will only produce more anger and distrust from the voters.
Regionalism diminishes the local control and authority of local governments or self-government through "home rule" as provided for in the Georgia Constitution. "The whole point of local control and self-governance is that local elected representatives can be held accountable by the voter-taxpayer," said Jack Staver, Chairman of the Transportation Leadership Coalition. "Throwing a group of counties into a one-size-fits-all regional scenario against their will is not a recipe for metro Atlanta’s success."
In addition to the opposition to regional governance, the resolution supports State Representative Ed Setzler's HB 195 introduced in the 2013 Georgia General Assembly. HB 195 allows counties with mutual interests to work on regional-type projects without the mandated regional government structure of the Transportation Investment Act.
Under HB 195, the duly elected county commission or city council of two or more adjoining counties work together to propose projects of mutual interest that can be brought to the voters for approval in a local tax referendum.
The GOP resolution requests that formal action be taken by the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, and the Georgia General Assembly to dissolve the 12 Regional Commissions for purposes of taxation with the application to the Transportation Investment Act of 2010.
RepealRegionalism.com aims to educate the citizens of Georgia on the dangers of state mandated regional governance and the hazards of the unelected and unaccountable system. A copy of the GOP resolution as adopted can be found on RepealRegionalism.com under the articles tab.
Regional control isn’t local, by Field Searcy, April 25, 2013
The nice thing about local government is that citizen voters can control it. People know who their local city councilmen and county commissioners are because they live nearby, and they were elected. If citizens do not like local government decisions, they simple elect someone who will serve them better. Now, try asking your neighbor, “Who serves on the board of our Regional Commission?” and watch the puzzled look on their face. Most citizen voters are unaware who is serving in these positions of authority because the members are either appointed or don’t run for the position.
Regionalism as implemented in Georgia is an unelected and unaccountable form of government that dilutes the power people have over government decision-making. The U.S. Constitution guarantees each state a republican form of government, which means sovereignty rests with the people, and representatives are “chosen by the people.”
Regional governance lacks these checks and balances because regional commissions are in essence appointed by an operation of law. For example, 15 of the 38 members of the Atlanta Regional Commission are appointed citizen members who have absolutely no accountability to voters. Also, most of the elected officials on regional entities have no accountability to your county or city. You can’t control the actions of regional governments, because you can’t control most of the regional board members.
Many of the appointed members have their own agendas.
The rise of regionalism, like what we get from the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), comprises another layer of government between the local city-county and state government. This new layer of bureaucracy diminishes the local control and authority of city and county governments for self-government through “home rule” as provided for in the Georgia Constitution. Local control is further buttressed by the founders’ belief, “That government closest to the people governs best!”
Creating a regional tax base or regional equity is a form of central planning. The problems created in one county are paid for by taxpayers from another. The Georgia Constitution requires that state-level taxation be uniform and equal across the state. Citizens across the state will be furious when they discover their tax dollars — $8.6 million so far — are being used to subsidize bus fares for Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Xpress service that serves metro Atlanta commuters.
Regional cooperation is necessary, and flexible solutions need to be developed to allow counties to work together to solve problems of mutual interest. However, regional governance and taxation as implemented in Georgia means more bureaucracy, more taxes and less accountability. The majority of metro Atlantans and voters across the state said they don’t like regional power grabs or mandated regionalism. Regional taxation and governance needs to be repealed.
Field Searcy, a Cobb County resident, represents RepealRegionalism.com, an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition. The coalition led the grassroots effort against the Regional Transportation Tax (T-SPLOST) in 2012.
Repeal Regionalism website
American Coalition 4 Property Rights website dedicated to the campaign to discourage the adoption of the Seven-50 regionalism plan in 7 Florida counties
Resolution on the Republican Form of Government passed by the 8th District Republican Party of Georgia
WHEREAS, Article IV, Section IV of the Constitution "guarantee[s] to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government." A republican form of government is one in which sovereignty rests with the people and representatives are chosen by the people to represent them in public matters via a constitution; and
WHEREAS, Georgia is the only state to specifically grant provisions in the Georgia Constitution, Article IX, Section II for Home Rule for Counties and Municipalities. Home rule involves the authority of a local government to prevent state government intervention with its operations. This is further buttressed by the founders’ belief “That government closest to the people governs best!”; and
WHEREAS, The "one person, one vote" principle derives from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Reynolds v. Sims, 377 US 533 (1964) that held state political districts of unequal size resulted in under-representation of some citizens' interests and over-representation of others'. This was considered "un-republican," per Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, and also unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause; and
WHEREAS, The state legislature has implemented a new form of governance, known as regionalism, through 12 special districts and 36 councils managed by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Department of Transportation which are appointed agencies; and
WHEREAS, Under the Georgia Constitution there are no provisions for this new form of regional governance. These districts are ruled in part by governing councils who were not elected to serve on a regional council but rather to a county commission or city mayor seat; and
WHEREAS, These 12 special districts and 36 councils are another layer of government between the local county/city government and the state government; and
WHEREAS, That some people serving on these councils acquired their authority through mal-apportionment because Georgia voters that live within city municipalities are allowed two votes: one for the city mayor and one for the county commission chair; while voters in unincorporated parts of the county are allowed only one vote for the county commission chair. Other council members serve through outright appointment by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House; and
WHEREAS, The mal-apportionment between city and unincorporated county voters is unequal representation and violates the “one person, one vote” principle and the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the 8th District of the Georgia Republican Party reaffirms its commitment to the republican form of government that is guaranteed to the state through the U.S. Constitution; and that regional governance violates a foundational principle of our republican form of government in that these regional councils are in essence appointed by law and in fact; and that regionalism is an appointed form of government that is unelected and unaccountable to the people. This new layer of government diminishes the local control and authority of county and city governments for self-government through “home rule” as provided for in the Georgia Constitution; and does hereby request that formal action be taken by the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, and Georgia General Assembly, to dissolve the 12 Regional Commissions in the state of Georgia.
Regionalism - The Blueprint for Your Serfdom, by Michael Shaw, December 1, 2012 http://www.freedomadvocates.org/articles/illegitimate_government/regionalism_-_the_blueprint_for_your_serfdom_20121201468/
Did you know that some of your local elected representatives are enabling a shadow government to evolve? These people promote the reinvention of government through their support of, and appointments to “regional” boards that act like soviet councils. These councils are funded to implement Agenda 21. Federal tax dollars fuel their appeal, but your city and county representatives do not have to go along.
Gone are the days when government was limited, where individuals were politically acknowledged to possess unalienable rights, and where money was honest. The American political structure has been transformed. This has occurred quietly for more than 50 years without public awareness of the mechanisms underlying the change.
At the core of this transformation is the political process of “regionalizing” the country. Political regionalism is the antithesis of representative government. Regionalism restructures or reinvents the operation of American government by destroying traditional political boundaries, such as county lines, and ushers in a transformed system of governance that ultimately abolishes private property and the rights of the individual. Regionalism has infiltrated cities and counties everywhere, affecting transportation, water, farming and land use systems… literally every aspect of your life.
Let’s start with an example showing how Agenda 21 programs are brought into your town via Regionalism.
Here is an excerpt from the United Nations’ Agenda 21 document concerning transportation planning:
Earth Summit - Agenda 21: The United Nations Programme of Action
Chapter 7 - Human Settlements
Section 7.52: Promoting...urban transport systems...should be a comprehensive approach to urban-transport planning and management. To this end, all countries should:
* ...encourage development patterns that reduce transport demand
* Adopt urban-transport programmes favouring high-occupancy public transport...
* Encourage non-motorized modes of transport by providing safe cycleways and footways in urban and suburban centres...
Towns across the country are adopting these transport systems. This is because these systems are imposed upon locales by a regional level of government largely unknown and underestimated.
The large scale version of the U.S. adoption of modern regionalism is a federally imposed extra-constitutional layer of government covering the entire nation. According to the website of the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), NARC “serves as the national voice of regionalism through effective interaction and advocacy with Congress, Federal officials and other agencies and interest groups.” NARC’s agenda includes but is not limited to: transportation, community and economic development, environment, homeland security, "regional preparedness," and community issues…
In addition to NARC, citizens must know about the following regional planning and development agencies that work to implement NARC’s goals:
• Council of Governments (COG)
• Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
Council of Governments (COG)
COGs are region-wide associations of local governments – regional bodies, typically defined to serve an area of several counties to address issues such as regional and municipal planning, economic and community development, cartography and Government Information Systems (GIS), hazard mitigation and emergency planning, aging services, water use, pollution control, transit administration, and transportation planning.
COGs run your town and your county from behind the scenes. Federal funds allocated to COGs coordinate the local implementation of Agenda 21.
Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) MPOs are federally mandated and, like COGs, are the instruments for restructuring American government. They are setting up an infrastructure for a new economic system based on public private partnership to replace free enterprise.
COGs and MPOs are federalized organizations that break down America’s constitutionally formulated government structure. Their purpose is to control and direct local government from behind the scenes.
Today, they propel the federal injection of the globalist agenda into local government policy and thereby negate the protections afforded by our constitutional system of government. This violation of the American essence and of our natural rights must stop!
In the words of Charlotte Iserbyt, former Department of Education official and author of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America,“Regionalism is Communism.” Regionalism promotes soviet style councils that develop policy that is then rubber-stamped by elected officials, with no meaningful public oversight. It is an extra level of government that operates outside the provisions of the Constitution, thus advancing globalist objectives whilst insulating most elected officials. Some elected officials are the appointees to COG management authority. In short, American regionalism is the instrument used to advance the globalist goals of political restructure:
• To implement a step-by-step approach to the abolition of private property;
• To promote the relocation of people from rural areas to Smart Growth urban centers;
• To conscript public private partners and mandate community volunteerism.
A leading example of regional control is emerging in the San Francisco Bay Area. There, the COG is known as ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments. ABAG, in association with ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) has launched the “One Bay Area” program. One Bay Area is the local federalized and internationalized plan for the implementation of Agenda 21. This 9 county, 101 city (with a combined population of 7 ½ million people) “regional” plan is designed as a full commitment to the collectivist program of Smart Growth and wild area set asides.
Over the next 20 years 630,000 new residential units are projected by ABAG. ALL residential construction specified by the plan is be multi-family housing. Fully 80% of the planned housing must be within ½ mile of newly designated “transit corridors.” One such transit corridor, El Camino Real, is the major artery from San Jose to San Francisco and is planned to be transformed into a series of government controlled stack ‘n pack smart growth developments.
Ultimately all private vehicles will be banned from El Camino. To accomplish this and much more, the federal government has committed a quarter of a trillion dollars to ABAG’s One Bay Area program! Despite widespread opposition as One Bay Area was rolled out this year, the plan is moving forward pursuant to a shortened and rigged approval process – a sign of things to come all across the country.
ABAG and One Bay Area evidence that government no longer operates pursuant to Constitutional design. As a result, we all lose government protection and defense of unalienable rights.
Regionalism - The Blueprint for Your Serfdom by Michael Shaw
This overview of Regionalism originated as part of a larger national speech tour by Michael Shaw in 19 communities across the nation, entitled "The Ultimate War: Globalism vs. America." Michael Shaw is a leading critic of Sustainable Development, also known as the U.N.’s “Agenda 21,“ which is the Action Plan implementing world government in the 21st century.
A real agenda, not a conspiracy theory
2:29 pm November 25, 2012, by Andre Jackson, Editorial Editor
By Field Searcy
When I read on Page 185 of the March 2011 Cobb County Comprehensive Plan that the county supports the advancement of sustainable development policies as defined by the United Nations Division of Sustainable Development, I could no longer ignore that the U.N. Agenda 21 (A21) policies were real and thriving in America.
The U.N. policies are detailed in a 300-page document along with the Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide. Sold as protecting the environment, sustainable development policies are more far-reaching than our fields and streams. A21 outlines plans for the control of land use, housing, transportation, food production, consumption patterns, water, energy, education, the role of industry and health care. Sounding familiar? We have been bombarded with these global plans of change.
Warm and fuzzy words like “comprehensive planning,” “smart growth,” “public-private partnerships” and “outcome-based education” were chosen by central planners to camouflage a desired alternate outcome. As adults, we are familiar with marketers using positive labels to encourage us to act in ways not always in our best interest. These words in the A21 plan were carefully chosen to make us feel better about giving up our sovereign rights. Conversely, negative labeling and hate speech are used when citizens disagree.
This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Elected servants in both parties have worked to implement regionalism and public-private partnerships to fundamentally transform America. Economic models endorsing public-private partnerships violate free market principles by benefiting favored corporations, protecting private gains and leaving taxpayers obligated for losses. It proposes a “Communitarian” model of governance that is diametrically opposed to the American way.
In reality, the U.N. policies include plans to re-engineer human society through regional equity schemes to spread the wealth. Regionalism as a subset of A21 gives appointed regional councils control of vast sums of taxpayer dollars while working unchecked. Once appointed, the taxpayers are unable to remove these councils through elections. It threatens our representative form of government. It violates our one-person, one-vote principle to equal legislative representation.
The goals of protecting our natural resources are worthy. We can embrace the need to conserve the air, water and land as well as educate our children in a positive way. The real issue is the need for deeper research and honest dialogue into the ultimate goals of U.N. Sustainable Development while preserving the American principles of respect for private property rights, free enterprise and representative government. We need to root out who really benefits from the sweeping changes, as it is not the American people. It is no accident citizens across the U.S., including Georgians, are rejecting U.N. Agenda 21 policies.
Field Searcy, of Cobb County, led a presentation on regionalism and Agenda 21 for Georgia Senate GOP members October, 2012. He gave the following PowerPoint presentation to the Valdosta Tea Party and the South Georgia Tea Party Alliance on December 27, 2012: Regional Governance: TSPLOST is dead, right? NOT! & UN Agenda 21: Global to Local – Freedom 21 – v8
Burn Down the Suburbs? by Stanley Kurtz, August 1, 2012
“Obama’s former community-organizing mentors and colleagues want the administration to condition future federal aid on state adherence to the recommendations served up by these anti-suburban planning commissions. That would quickly turn an apparently modest set of regional-planning grants into a lever for sweeping social change.”
[NOTE: “Regionalism” is gaining ground with many local and state elected officials who drink the regional planner’s Kool-Aid. Georgia’s T-SPLOST law contains regional tax-base sharing, as described in Stanley Kurtz’s new book. Its sweeping defeat in 9 of 12 regions in Georgia proved the people’s distaste for regional redistribution of their wealth. The legislators who dished out that regional slop to Georgia voters need to be rejected just as soundly as their Terrible T-SPLOST.]
“Regionalism must precede globalism. We foresee a seamless system of governance from local communities, individual states, regional unions and up through to the United Nations itself.” UN Commission on Global Governance
Regional planning brings regional governance, By Henry Lamb, 10-29-11
So what’s wrong with regional governance? Nothing- unless you value the republican form of government and individual freedom – and detest autocracy in all its forms. Regional governance evolved as a way to get around the obstacles presented by multiple local governments, all of which may have a stake in the region, but often disagree on what the region needs.
Regional governments, and their initiatives, are driven by government, not by the people. Government, by its very nature, seeks to increase its power and overcome any obstacle in its path. Local governments, like individual neighbors, often disagree on how best to resolve a common problem. Consequently, governments, especially the executive branch, tend to look for ways to get around the obstacle of disagreement. One successful method is Regional Governance, which diminishes the power of local governments by conferring increasing levels of authority on the executive branch, which implements its authority through appointed bureaucrats.
In very short order, it is the unelected bureaucrats who wield the power; elected officials become little more than a rubber stamp whose approval provides “official” respectability to the bureaucracy.
A classic example of just how this works is available in a report titled: “Regional Governance Districts” produced by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR). The purpose of the report includes, “…to assist the state in responding to globalization….” The report makes this clarification:
“Governance is distinct from government—while government is the traditional organization of public authority used to provide necessary iaservices, governance is the provision of those services. While the word has been used to refer to service provision by traditional government, it has come to be used to refer more specifically to service provision through a nontraditional approach, such as by a contractor or through a public-private partnership.”
Virtually every state now has some form of this new regional approach to governance, which is simply further evidence of how extensively the “administrative” form of global governance has influenced domestic policy.
The Chattanooga Area Regional Council of Governments, which consists of at least at least six alphabet agencies of appointed bureaucrats, has applied for a $2.5 million grant from the federal government’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program. Before the application is considered, each participating government must sign a Memorandum of Agreement to “develop a shared vision,” and to “develop livable communities,” and other specific steps, all of which are defined by and must be approved, by the federal government. The Mayor of the city of Chattanooga has signed this MOA, thereby committing the entire city to conform to the requirements of the federal government in the expenditure of the federal money.
The citizens of Chattanooga have no idea that this grant application has been submitted, or what funding of the grant will mean to their individual freedom. They have had no opportunity to express their consent or opposition to this program, and it is unclear whether their elected representatives were even given the opportunity to vote on the application. Sixteen counties and all the municipalities they contain will be constrained by this grant application, and more importantly, by the 40-year regional plan it produces.
This process creates an administrative form of government which does not require the consent of the governed. Each step in the expansion of this process further extinguishes the republican form of government.
The federal government promotes this transformation of local government into regional administrative units which complies with the recommendations set forth in Chapter 8.5 of Agenda 21, which says:
(e) Adopt integrated approaches to sustainable development at the regional level, including transboundary areas, subject to the requirements of particular circumstances and needs;
The federal government has been using grants to shape regional governance for years. The Chattanooga Area Regional Council of Governments has already received more than $4 million in federal grants in just the last couple of years, and is only one of several regions supported by the federal government.
Citizens in the Chattanooga area, and across the nation, should realize that once these regional administrative units are in place, there will be no way to return to the republican form of government that allows citizens to expect their city councilman or county commissioner to consider their wishes. The consent of the governed will no longer be a factor in public policy. Virtually all human activity will be subject to the approval of a professional bureaucracy that first creates a plan it thinks is a utopian community, and then requires every person to live where the plan dictates; to travel in a vehicle approved by the plan, to a job allowed by the plan – whether you like it or not.
Freedom cannot exist in an administrative form of governance.
The new government religion: Regionalism, October 4, 2011, by Cal Beverly
Remember these two principles of folks with a conservative or libertarian world-view? “That government is best which governs least.” And “local government is the most representative because it is closest to the people it governs.”
And let’s throw in a third principle enunciated by the late Democrat Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill (a liberal, back before that word was replaced by “progressive”): “All politics is local.”
And we the people shout, “Hurrah!” Right? Because most of us ordinary folks of conservative and libertarian persuasion hold those truths to be self-evident and basic to our whole compact of governance in the U.S. of A. secret: A whole lot of folks we elect to public office, from city council to state legislature on up to governor and the U.S. Congress not only don’t buy into those positions anymore but actively seek to nullify them.
To many in “leadership” positions — including heads of chambers of commerce — the notion of “localism” is not only quaintly provincial and redolent of the unenlightened past but also is an actual impediment to “getting things done” and “progress.”
What follows is a parable, only a parable.
Welcome to the new world of enlightened leaders, defined as those elite intellectuals who look beyond their petty electoral borders — like county lines and city limits (and their voting constituents) — to the broad, cosmopolitan uplands of regionalism.
If these locally elected but regionally oriented leaders are the bishops and archbishops of the Church of the Region, then the Atlanta Regional Commission is the Vatican bureaucracy and one-time Democrat and late in life convert to the Republican Party Governor Nathan Deal is its newest pope.
These bishops and archbishops are nothing if not ambitious. They aspire to advance into the elite College of Cardinals, the 21-member Regional Transportation Roundtable. That’s where the big bucks and the real power lies.
So what does the Church of the Region (COTR) require of us unenlightened taxpayers, the laity that must be handled and propagandized and “educated” so that we get just a glimpse of that celestial light that is already seen so clearly by the clergy (those we thought we elected and were the bosses of)?
Just another penny’s worth of indulgences out of our flea-bitten pockets on top of the already pinching 6 cents that we currently offer at the altar of “representative” government. But, hey! That penny of extra sales tax will result in the salvation of our (transportation) souls. The Vatican’s Chamber choirs will burst into rapturous songs of vehicular deliverance.
No matter that the indulgences will be spent on sacred trains and buses that will never be filled and that will require ever more added indulgences from here to eternity just to keep the unions happy and the empty trains running.
Our local Archbishop of Fayetteville, Ken Steele, has worked hard if covertly to funnel our Fayette dollars northward to Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett counties, and a Cardinal’s reward likely awaits him if he can deliver this ignorant bunch of lukewarm Fayette Republicans and their extra tax dollars into the Church of the Region’s offering plate.
The COTR knows who really loves it, and the true believers will be gathered together at the banquet table in the brand-new, regional T-SPLOST-funded, MARTA central transportation hub for a pork feast for the ages.
Now there are rumors of apostates in this 10-county COTR. What to do with these infidels who refuse to embrace the Gospel of Regionalism, who dare to oppose another penny of indulgence?
The bishops and archbishops say, “Let’s make them pay anyway, no matter how they vote within their quaint little county lines and political subdivisions. Let’s take their pitiful pennies and build our golden rails and drive our silver buses in all directions from the Holy City. Let them eat their futile ballots while we have our enlightened way, while we get things done, while we progress.”
Meantime, Pope Deal desires for the Church of the Region to become more … governed. So Pope Deal will instruct his legislative cardinals in the General Assembly of the Region-born to draw up new Holy Words that will turn the ministers of the roundtable into anointed regional governors freed from the earthly bonds of elective office and shameful election year dependence upon the ignorant taxpayers to actually vote for them.
Then the enlightened can finally get on with the business of getting things done in the Region without having to worry about those ignorant taxpayers and voters.
In the End was the Word, and the Word was Regionalism.
And the pope and the cardinals and the archbishops and the bishops and the Chamber of Commerce choirs looked upon their new world and saw that it was good. Very good for them.
For the rest of us, not so good.
But at least those three “self-evident truths” of localism will have been exposed for the shams that they really were.
Thus endeth the parable.
[Editor and publisher Cal Beverly has been quaintly and provincially covering news in the Region and misunderestimating the holiness of government since 1969.]
Georgia Academy, a private organization that serves up the Agenda 21/Sustainable Development Kool-Aid through mandatory leadership training for elected officials, indoctrinates them in Regional Government. https://www.dca.ga.gov/secured/academy/history.aspx
REGIONALISM IS COMMUNISM, By Charlotte Iserbyt, February 4, 2004
An article in The Times Record, Brunswick, Maine, dated 2/1/04 entitled “Regional Efforts Taking Root” says “About 50 elected officials, planners, natural resources advocates and economic development specialists gathered from every town in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick and Harpswell Thursday to talk about regionalism, a concept that is being encouraged statewide by Governor John N. Baldacci.” (Note: Maine’s Governor Baldacci had one of the most, if not the most, socialist voting record of any Congressman during his tenure in Congress. Shouldn’t that be adequate warning to our elected officials to at least keep this concept of regionalism at arms-length and not to embrace it without studying its origins, unless they themselves are socialists?)
The article goes on to quote an elected official on the Town Council as saying: “A first step will be to educate the public about the importance of regionalism so citizens will support these efforts. We need to shock people a little bit.”
Well, she sure shocked me with that comment. She has also given us fair warning that resistance to this change in governance will not be tolerated; we must be educated to see the benefits of failed socialism (regionalism) over those of our highly successful republican form of government which is designed to protect the rights of the individual rather than those of the group (state).
This article was a reminder I’m really getting old. I feel great and never think much about my age until I run across articles such as this one which covered a meeting during which well-meaning “younger-than-I” elected or unelected officials casually discuss changes in government which will spell economic, political and social ruin for our cities, towns, and nation (which means “us”).
These well-meaning individuals who are recommending regionalism to solve financial and planning problems, have, through no fault of their own, been deliberately dumbed down (denied an education in the workings of our republican form of government which is the antithesis of the form of governance they are considering. I know “maleducation” is a fact due to an incident in 1974 when my son’s 11th grade public school teacher, a so-called “conservative” Republican, by the way, gave his class an assignment to write a paper on different forms of governance. My son wrote his paper on regional government and received a D for his politically incorrect effort. His conclusions, which were based on the scholarly research of the late Jo Hindman (The Metrocrats, Blame Metro, and Terrible 1313 Revisited, Caxton Printers, Ltd.) were that regional governance cannot coexist within a republican form of government since regional governance does away with or dilutes local representation and eliminates borders between towns, counties, states, and even countries. The latter can be observed in Europe with nations ceding their sovereignty and distinct cultures to the European Union (region), which former Soviet President Gorbachev enthusiastically refers to as the “New European Soviet”. Gorbachev also said in a speech to the Soviet Central Committee on November 2, 1987 “We are moving toward a new world, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road.”
Regional Governance emanates from the United Nations, which was formed in 1945 by a majority of communists, and it is essential for United States participation in the world government (international redistribution of wealth socialist state) being implemented right now under our very noses. Example: European Union, NAFTA, GATT, and CAFTA, (the Central American Free Trade Association which Congress will vote on shortly, etc. Contact your congressman and tell him to vote no on CAFTA!)
In “The Globalists, The Power Elite Exposed”, page 304, Denis L. Cuddy, Ph.D, says “Most members of the European Union are already members of The Socialist International, and if other nations around the world can be moved toward socialism and regional economic arrangements, then these regional groupings can be more easily merged into a world socialistic government. This scenario is quite similar to the three-stage plan outlined by Stalin at the 1936 Communist International. At that meeting, the official program proclaimed: “Dictatorship can be established only by a victory of socialism in different countries or groups of countries,” after which there would be federal unions of the various groupings of these socialist countries, and the third stage would be an amalgamation of these regional federal unions into a world union of socialist nations.
Readers of this article are surely asking: “But she’s talking about Stalin and international regional government…what’s going on at the local county level has nothing to do with that. Anyway, Communism is dead.” The most incriminating evidence regarding regional government being communism is found in “Planning is Socialism’s Trademark” by Morris Zeitlin which appeared in the Communist Daily World, November 8, 1975. Zeitlin says “We (U.S.A.) 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. Of the many regions on the vast territory of the Soviet Union the Moscow Region commands special attention, for it has been, since the 1917 Revolution, the country’s economic and political center. 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. Conversely, our profit-oriented ruling capitalist class makes comprehensive social and economic planning impossible, causing waste and chaos and dragging the entire nation into misery and suffering as its rule deteriorates and declines.”
In January of this year “a new world organisation, United Cities and Local Governments, (certainly a regional government association if ever there was one! ed.) was launched which will be the interlocutor between local government and the United Nations and will ensure the political representation of local government to the international community. It will progress (sic) local government policies in the key areas of decentralised cooperation, sustainable development, urbanisation, social inclusion and poverty eradication. IULA’s Founding Congress will take place in Paris in May of this year.” Go to www.iula-int.org/iula/news.asp for this press release and more information.
I’m glad I’m getting old and won’t have to live too many years under this “failed” socialist system which for some reason unknown to this writer is being accepted by persons on the right as well as the left. President Bush is one of its greatest supporters! I question how our elected officials at the local, state and national level who are implementing this totally alien FAILED system of government, can, in good conscience, pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
Thomas Babington Macauley, London, England, writing to an American on May 23, 1857, said “…Your republic will be…laid waste by barbarians in the 20th Century…”
Regionalism is another word for Communism: http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/articles/regionalism_communism
“Regionalism must precede globalism. We foresee a seamless system of governance from local communities, individual states, regional unions and up through to the United Nations itself.” Report from the UN Commission on Global Governance.
In a “Fifth Amendment” treatise by Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Sanders (12/10/97), he writes: Our state, and most other states, define property in an extremely broad sense.” That definition is as follows:
“Property in a thing consists not merely in its ownership and possession, but in the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal. Anything which destroys any of the elements of property, to that extent, destroys the property itself. The substantial value of property lies in its use. If the right of use be denied, the value of the property is annihilated and ownership is rendered a barren right.”