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 ICLEI. ICLEI’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.
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.
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.
“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?
Related article: Transforming Your Town: Facilitated Meetings Coming Your Way by Andrea Sanchez