Unsustainable Sustainability

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Sum­ma­ry: Every elec­tion cycle can­di­dates deceit­ful­ly run on plat­forms of job cre­ation, pub­lic safe­ty, and a beau­ti­ful envi­ron­ment, because they know that’s what peo­ple want. Once in office, being fol­low­ers rather than lead­ers, they suc­cumb to ready-made tem­plates prof­fered by ICLEI and relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions. Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly, it is patent­ly wrong, even trea­so­nous, for an elect­ed offi­cial under oath of office to sub­ju­gate one­self to a for­eign polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion.

For the last 20 years the Coun­ty of San­ta Cruz in Cal­i­for­nia has imple­ment­ed plan­ning ini­tia­tives under the guise of sus­tain­abil­i­ty that are any­thing but. Ini­tial­ly called Agen­da 21 (as it still is world­wide), the Unit­ed Nations sus­tain­able devel­op­ment guide­line has mor­phed over time using var­i­ous euphemisms such as Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties Strat­e­gy, Healthy and Hap­py Com­mu­ni­ties, 8 Urban Agen­das and Com­mu­ni­ties 21. It has been enact­ed local­ly in the past through bal­lot con­duits like Mea­sure C and Mea­sure J and statewide via leg­isla­tive bills AB32 and SB375 regard­ing cli­mate, trans­porta­tion, land use and hous­ing. And more recent­ly con­tro­ver­sial plans such as One Bay Area pro­mot­ed by Joint Ven­ture Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Add into this mix San­ta Cruz County’s reliance on the Inter­na­tion­al Coun­cil for Local Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives ICLEI, aka Local Gov­ern­ments for Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, a non-elect­ed for­eign non-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion (NGO) that authored the Local Agen­da 21 plan­ning guide. ICLEI gen­er­ates rev­enue by charg­ing con­sult­ing fees to cities and coun­ties. For­mer Super­vi­sor Mark Stone boast­ed of the county’s affil­i­a­tion with ICLEIICLEI’s mis­sion is to teach local gov­ern­ments about unsus­tain­able devel­op­ment, envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tion, and pub­lic pol­i­cy pro­grams. This fix­a­tion on using a for­eign out­side enti­ty to guide pub­lic pol­i­cy should be under­stood and ques­tioned by res­i­dents.

These top-down pol­i­cy mech­a­nisms cou­pled with recent neg­a­tive eco­nom­ic devel­op­ments have pro­vid­ed fer­tile ground for exploita­tion. At the same time, exces­sive salaries for redun­dant man­age­r­i­al staff, lop­sided employ­ment con­tracts, and bal­loon­ing pen­sion lia­bil­i­ties have ren­dered the coun­ty into an insa­tiable feed­ing machine with lit­tle regard for good eth­i­cal gov­ern­ment. Bureau­crats, rev­el­ing in the crises, have enabled run­away reliance on pro­grams for which they have lit­tle capac­i­ty to man­age. Res­i­dents should edu­cate them­selves.

Some of the county’s mis­guid­ed projects led them down unsuc­cess­ful and in some cas­es ille­gal for­ays into the hous­ing, trans­porta­tion, and green indus­tries at the expense of busi­ness own­ers, con­struc­tion pro­fes­sion­als, landown­ers, and authen­ti­cal­ly envi­ron­men­tal­ly mind­ful cit­i­zens.

Every elec­tion cycle can­di­dates deceit­ful­ly run on plat­forms of job cre­ation, pub­lic safe­ty, and a beau­ti­ful envi­ron­ment, because they know that’s what peo­ple tru­ly want. Once in office, being fol­low­ers rather than lead­ers, they suc­cumb to ready-made tem­plates prof­fered by ICLEI and relat­ed orga­ni­za­tions. Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly, it is patent­ly wrong, even trea­so­nous, for an elect­ed offi­cial under oath of office to sub­ju­gate one­self to a for­eign polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tion.

Below are more details show­ing how coun­ty poli­cies, in the form of ICLEI ini­tia­tives and Agen­da 21 off­shoots have impact­ed San­ta Cruz Coun­ty.

Hous­ing

Ignor­ing the hous­ing diver­si­ty in place via organ­ic growth, the coun­ty deter­mined that a cri­sis exist­ed where­by folks earn­ing between $30,000 and $90,000 annu­al­ly were in dire need of pub­lic hous­ing. Nev­er mind that indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in that income brack­et do not have any prob­lem find­ing com­fort­able shel­ter. The man­u­fac­tured cri­sis pro­vid­ed an oppor­tu­ni­ty to part­ner up with so-called non­prof­it hous­ing devel­op­ers with nei­ther pub­lic input nor due process. In Fel­ton, the coun­ty part­nered with a women’s envi­ron­men­tal group and South Coun­ty Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion which par­rot­ed green-speak going so far as to refer to a pro­posed gov­ern­ment hous­ing devel­op­ment as an “eco-vil­lage”. The ensu­ing out­rage over the county’s finan­cial and eth­i­cal malfea­sance through­out the plan­ning was its even­tu­al undo­ing.

Green House Gas Emis­sions and the Dimin­ish­ing Apoc­a­lypse

Con­trary to pre­vail­ing local belief the sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty is all over the board regard­ing cli­mate sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Despite small indi­ca­tors of warm­ing over the course of the last 100 years, tem­per­a­ture rise over the last decade, a peri­od of sig­nif­i­cant pop­u­la­tion growth and ris­ing car­bon emis­sions, is neg­li­gi­ble. Even as the cor­re­la­tion between emis­sions and warm­ing grow fuzzi­er by the minute, cli­mate pol­i­cy remains a cash cow – and ICLEI is cash­ing in.

Water

In 1998, offi­cials devel­oped a plan to inte­grate the coun­ty water sys­tems.

Step 1 Pull indi­vid­ual water com­pa­nies out of pri­vate hands and into coun­ty con­trolled part­ner­ships.

Step 2  Enact inte­grat­ed water pol­i­cy.

Step 3 Man­u­fac­ture short­ages and impose rate increas­es.

Trans­porta­tion

Mul­ti­modal” is the new “Smart Growth”. Using Peo­ple Pow­er as a tool, trans­porta­tion plan­ning meet­ings tout bike paths and safe routes for school. Who could dis­agree? On clos­er inspec­tion, many of  the bike paths already exist, but plan­ning for them in the same places all over again offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty for fed­er­al trans­porta­tion dol­lars.

RDA and the New Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Par­a­digm

Before the cheer­ing can die down over the elim­i­na­tion of Rede­vel­op­ment Agen­cies, new efforts to replace RDAs are pop­ping up like mush­rooms after a spring rain­fall. Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Dis­tricts, Busi­ness Improve­ment Dis­tricts, Eco­nom­ic Vital­i­ty Dis­tricts, and sim­i­lar­ly named con­trivances are the fund­ing fla­vors of the month and munic­i­pal­i­ties are sali­vat­ing over the pos­si­bil­i­ty of extract­ing rev­enue from busi­ness­es and land own­ers. Prob­lem is the rev­enue rarely solves the prob­lem and is about sup­port­ing gov­ern­ment bloat in part­ner­ship with select­ed insid­ers.

Crime and Pub­lic Safe­ty

Are all the poli­cies the coun­ty has been play­ing with since the 1970’s mak­ing us more pros­per­ous and safe? On the con­trary, we now expe­ri­ence more vio­lent crime, gang activ­i­ty, drug abuse, emp­ty store­fronts, loss of prop­er­ty, fail­ing schools, and a dimin­ish­ing of our cul­ture.

What to Do

Reject the ICLEI-man­dat­ed false pub­lic process. Demand that local politi­cians oper­ate with­in the realm of con­sti­tu­tion­al law. San­ta Cruz Coun­ty lead­er­ship is any­thing but hon­or­able. Their goal is to coerce and con­trol. Learn more about coun­ty gov­ern­ment process­es and part­ner­ships. Are they work­ing for you?

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Relat­ed arti­cle:  Trans­form­ing Your Town: Facil­i­tat­ed Meet­ings Com­ing Your Way by Andrea Sanchez

About Andrea Sanchez