Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Too Many People

The N.J. State Planning Commission held a public hearing on New Jersey’s State Development and Redevelopment Plan at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s Haggerty Center in Morris Township last night.  The purpose was to receive testimony from experts and comments from public on the plan as required by law.  Only six meetings were planned; the meeting in Morris Township was the only hearing held north of I-78.

The meeting was SRO – Standing-Room Only – and it was a fairly large room.  The meeting began with two Planning Commission representatives presenting the case for the plan to the public.  The room was so densely-packed that their voices fell dead halfway through the room and people farther back had to strain to hear them.  One can suppose one of two things: the omission of sound equipment was a) deliberate or it was b) poor planning.  The first is more likely, as lack of sound would prevent any recording of the meeting.  So much for transparency.  Although one can’t help wondering whether they weren’t expecting such a crowd.

However, the meeting in Newark was well-attended, too, and soundless.  In fact, none of the meetings had any augmented sound.  At this meeting, the audience simply wouldn’t allow the meeting to proceed peacefully until sound was provided.  The Morristowners are a force to be reckoned with.

The speaker presented the points of the plan and stated that this was a plan with its base in local municipalities.  He vowed no communities would be forced to develop if they didn’t wish to, or avoid developing, either.  But a citizen was on hand to give truth to the lie.  He’d attended a county freeholders meeting.  This speaker was at that meeting.  When a freeholder asked if the county and its towns would be bound by the state plan, the speaker told him that they were bound by law to accept its precepts.  The citizen in Morris Township challenged the speaker further, who admitted that New Jersey, in its turn, was bound by Federal law.

The final vote for this plan is scheduled for only a few days from now.  Oh, there have been plenty of meetings for “stakeholders”.  That is, mayors, town councils, freeholders, real estate agents, utilities, and social justice advocates.  When a citizen complained about the invitation, the speaker noted that the legislators were, after all, our elected representatives.  And the meetings were open.

This is why we Tea Partiers have been trying to tell Mr. and Mrs. America to wake up.  My town is on the forefront of this Smart Growth plan.  I can’t pretend to ignorance; I’ve known about it since I moved in.  Being neither in The Plume, a housing development in the north of town basically condemned and devalued by the EPA, and the flood zone, which was expanded when the upstream Pequannock River dams “collapsed” and the new Pompton Lakes dam was created, I’m safe.  However, I doubt that my friend and co-worker, who lives in the Flood Zone, will be very happy trying to raise two young sons in a condo or apartment.  Our company is leaving and so is her job.  She’d relocate, but company policy doesn’t cover a flood zone home.

That’s Smart Growth for you.

Some of the rowdier attendees catcalled about Agenda 21.  I was seated next to “The Enemy”.  They had a strategist who encouraged them to laugh and titter at any mention of Agenda 21 or SD (that’s Sustainable Development for those of you who don’t speak policy lingo).  Interesting that they did.  He also urged them to take advantage of every surge of angry on the part of the residents.

The Conservation Lady was taking notes – and names.  I took notes in shorthand.  She looked over at my pad and laughed, supposing that I was trying to keep my notes secret or something.  No; I just know shorthand.  I had a copy of “Our Common Future” conspicuously on my lap and the “Sustainability Paradox” flyer.  I even turned it so she could see it better, especially the bullet point about changing the terminology to “Smart Growth.”

·         “In 1998, J. Gary Lawrence, an advisor to the PCSD [the President’s Council on Sustainable Development], recommended the term ‘Agenda 21’ and U.N. references be dropped to more easily implement ‘SD’ in the U.S. Agencies and planners changed their terminology to Smart Growth and other environmentally-friendly [and politically careful] terms.

Lawrence’s address was called “The Future of Local Agenda 21 in the New Millennium” and delivered to a UNED-UK/LGMB (Local Government Management Board) seminar in 1998. 

“In this case of the U.S.,” he said, “our local authorities are engaged in planning processes consistent with Local Agenda 21, but there is little interest in using the LA21 brand.  Participating in a U.N.-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society such as the National Rifle Association, citizen militias, and some members of Congress.  This segment of our society who fear ‘one world government” and a U.N. invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21.  So, we call our processes something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or Smart Growth.”

But, the State Plan disavowed any knowledge of Agenda 21 or even Sustainable Development.  I happened to have a copy of the Agenda 21 mandate and gave it to him.  He threw up his hands to the audience, in his best who-me?! attitude and exclaimed, “This is the first I’ve heard of this!”

The audience laughed derisively.  The Conservation Camp sneered, all for our benefit, to be sure.  Conservation Lady didn’t sneer at me.  In fact, she avoided all eye contact.  Like naming a baby, now they’ll have to go down their list and find the next name for Smart Growth, since we’re obviously onto them.

“Our Common Future” is the report the World Commission on Environment and Development was commissioned by the United Nations to write.  The first page of its overview pretty much tells the whole story (“’A global agenda for change’ this was what the World Commission on Environment and Development was asked to write,” notes the then-chairman, Gro Harlem Brundtland):

In the middle of the 20th Century, we saw our planet from space for the first time.  Historians may eventually find that this vision had a greater impact on thought than did the Copernican revolution of the 16th century, which upset the human self-image by revealing that the Earth is not the centre of the universe.  From space, we see a small and fragile ball dominated not by human activity and edifice but by a pattern of clouds, oceans, greenery, and soils.  Humanity’s inability to fit its doings into that pattern is changing planetary systems, fundamentally.  Many such changes are accompanied by life-threatening hazards.  This new reality, from which there is no escape, must be recognized – and managed.

Fortunately, this new reality coincides with more positive developments new to this century.  We can move information and goods faster around the globe than ever before; we can produce more food and more goods with less investment of resources; our technology and science gives us at least the potential to look deeper and better understand natural systems.  From space, we can see and study the Earth as an organism whose whole health depends on the health of all its parts.  We have the power to reconcile human affairs with natural laws and thrive in the process.  In this, our cultural and spiritual heritages can reinforce our economic interests and survival imperatives.

This Commission believes that people can build a future that is more prosperous, more just, and more secure.  Our report, Our Common Future, is not a prediction of ever-increasing environmental decal, poverty, and hardship in an ever-more polluted world among ever-decreasing resources.  We see instead the possibility for a new era of economic growth, one that must be based on policies that sustain and expand the environmental resource base.  And we believe such growth to be absolutely essential to relieve the great poverty that is deepening in much of the developing world. 

But the Commission’s hope for the future is conditional on decisive political action now to begin managing environmental resources to ensure both human progress and human survival.

In later chapters, the Commission scruples not to assert that there are simply too many people and one of the tenets of Sustainable Growth is population management, specifically through various birth control methods.

Last night’s speaker insisted that their studies indicated that young people want to live in cities.  Traditionally, young single people and young marrieds do want to live in urban environments, resembling the college campuses they have recently left.  Once they start having children, normal adult couples seek the open spaces.  They recognize that cities are not safe environments for children; that cities are more expensive, with higher taxes; and that apartments are unpleasant places when your infants and especially toddlers are screaming their heads off.

Young people, to say the least, are extremely unreliable bases upon which to base future studies, although they like to think they know it all.  There is a tendency towards fewer marriages and fewer children, all thanks to the long-term strategy of the Progressives.  There are some of us old enough to remember the Zero Population Growth plan, which Americans fell for.

This is the future Americans.  We’ve been telling you to wake up now for three years now.  Take a good, long, hard look at the Smart Growth Plan and study its history.  And take off your rose-color reading glasses when you do.


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