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Do You Know What Your Local Government is Doing?
Tea Party Tax Day Rally 2012
Should You Fight City Hall?
If you are like most Americans, and like I was three years ago, you vote in elections and pretty much consider your civic duty is done. You may have never been to a city council meeting or the meeting of your County Board of Supervisors. You may have decided politics isn't your thing. You have to work and you want to relax during your time off. You have been willing to let the politicians, who like boring meetings, to do their thing while you do yours.
So what happened to change me into a more political animal? I suppose it started with the election of a socialist as President, Obamacare being passed, the the feeling that Washington just didn't care about what I wanted, including , most Congressional representatives in my own party. I saw the country I had grown up in changing before my eyes, and even people I had voted for were undermining the Constitution, however good their intentions might have been. Now we've learned that even the Supreme Court is not willing to uphold the Constitution, opening the door for citizens to be taxed for things they don't do. ( Such as not buying health insurance.) It was these changes that sent me to my first anti-tax rally sponsored by a local tea party group.
Gradually, as I went to more rallies, I became part of the group that now meets regularly together for educational and organizing purposes. This caused me to be more aware of my local government and what city and county officials are up to. It isn't good. I learned that many nations throughout the state of California and the nation as a whole, are quietly implementing the policies advocated in United Nations Agenda 21, which President George H. W. Bush signed on to in 1992, along with leaders from 178 other nations. It did not need to be ratified by Congress because was a "soft law" It began to be implemented by President Clinton's President's Council on Sustainable Development (hereafter referred to as (PCSD). The PCSD consisted of members of the Cabinet, leaders of industry (including Ken Lay of Enron), and leaders of non-profit groups environmental groups such as the Sierra Club. There were also representatives of some local governments.You can see the complete list of members on the page for The President's Council on Sustainable Development.
Do You Pay Attention to Your Local Government?
Have you ever been to a City Council or County Board of Supervisors Meeting?
Learn How Agenda 21 May Affect You
What Does the PCSD Have to Do with My Local Government?
That's a good question. One of the first things this commission did was to grant millions of dollars to the American Planning Association to design a guidebook local city,county, and state governments could use to implement the policies of Agenda 21. The result was Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change.
Has your local government been bombarding your community with a lot of new ordinances, rules, and regulations since 2002, when this book was put in the hands of every local planning department and every department at any level of government that controls land use? Have you been required to put a Smart Meters on your electric meter? Are they wanting to meter or tax your well if you live on rural land? Are they building a high speed rail in your state that most citizens don't see a need for? Does your city council now want more mixed use buildings downtown? All of these are probably in response to the guidelines in this publication.
Although I'm not a Democrat, I was doing a search for more information on Agenda 21 and the Smart Legislative Guidebook referred to above, and I ran across this site, Democrats Against Agenda 21, where I found this excerpt that explains very well how Agenda 21, if fully implemented locally, would affect the lives of average citizens. Since I don't want to reinvent the wheel, I have also included the video above that explains how Agenda 21 (or Smart Growth) may affect you or your children or grandchildren.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
This book, which arms readers to withstand the tactics of manipulated consensus in meetings for public input, is on my wish list.
This book is also on my wish list.
My Appearance before the Board of Supervisors
I live in San Luis Obispo County, California. We have three supervisors who are trying to implement Agenda 21 in our county policies, and they've made a lot of progress. We now have Smart Meters, a plastic bag ban, and a forced energy audit that costs hundreds of dollars before you can sell your house. Long ago they passed a view ordinance along Highway 1 to limit what can be seen from Scenic highways in our county. This is supposed to keep tourists from seeing anything that might mar their scenic view, such as a house and outbuilding that don't match, an ugly barn, etc. It's a nice idea, but limits what an owner can do with his own property. Also coming up are a new ordinance to keep water, including that from rain, from running off your property, regulating and taxing wells in rural areas, and moving people from rural areas to urban areas. This last item is what I spoke against.
All they've done so far is commission a study to gage the economic effect it would have on the county if they limited the number of rural building permits to encourage more people in the area to move to the cities. Results of these studies are normally used as for the officials to refer back to in support of what they have already determined they want to do.
At the meeting, the study, which had been published online before hand, was presented so the public could comment and and supervisors could ask questions. In my opinion, the study, which made no recommendations, offered no evidence that the county would save any money with this plan. In fact, implementing it would cost millions of lost tax revenue from people who would have been rural home owners, builders of the homes, suppliers of the building materials, and all the employees who would have spent more money on taxable items in the county if they had full employment.
As I considered speaking, a few things went through my mind. I'd never done it before. I had attended a workshop earlier in the week on getting politically active, and one of the presenters was also going to speak. I asked him if it was OK to just get up and say that I agree with him. He said it's OK, but there's no guarantee he'd be called to speak before I was. So I jotted a few notes about my opposition to the policies and waited. I was planning to see what those before me did so I could use them as models in how to address the board, etc.
As it turned out, I was the first one called, and I was shaking in my shoes. I had no models to follow. I addressed my comments to the chairman of the board and the board and then offered my comments. Fortunately there were few people to hear me. There were five board members, some presenters and other people with official jobs to do at the front. That made about ten people. There were probably less than 15 people left in the chamber room as speakers waiting their turn or spectators. I was most concerned that I might say something illogical or stupid that would hurt my case. It's hard for me to remember details.
After I sat down, I was surprised that almost every other speaker opposed the limitations on rural building permits, for a variety of reasons. Some were builders. Some, like me, were rural property owners. Some were professional watchdogs, like my workshop leader.
I have discovered that it's not quite as hard as I thought it would be. Most people could probably do what I did. If enough people visibly watched their public officials at work and offered their comments frequently, those officials might be more responsive to those who elected them. And if they aren't, enough concerned people can organize to vote them out and replace them with someone who will listen. In June, one country district did just that. And the loss of that one seat will change the political balance of the board away from implementing the Agenda 21 policies. It won't be an easy fight. It will continue.
The city of Paso Robles is also working to implement these policies, and a group of concerned citizens are starting to keep a close eye on that city council. I'm not yet involved there. That's why I'm aligned with larger groups of like mind. We can split some of the work between us and specialize in our research and share what we learn with the rest of the group. It is grassroots groups that will turn the tide and help keep our liberty alive.
Voting is also important. Fear of losing power is about all that can make these officials listen to the people . County officials and city officials are often automatically part of the state and county boards that aren't elected but make many of the regulations that remove our property rights. These include boards such as the Air Pollution Control District, the regional transit authority, the water board, etc. who make decisions that affect many aspects of your life. Changing one local official such as a county supervisor can also change the composition of the other boards that official sits on. So don't skip any local elections. They may impact your life even more than the national elections do. Often these elections are apart from national elections just so there will be a low turnout that the vested interests can dominate more easily.
Learning to be an Activist
How to Influence Your Local Officials
First, educate yourself on the issues they will be discussing and acting on. You can go to the government site for most local governments (city, county) and look for a link to the agenda. Read it and decide what could be important. Sometimes there are many hearings on the same issue before it's decided. Go to the meetings where these items will be discussed. Fill out a speaker card and give it to the clerk. It will usually ask for your name and the agenda Item number of what you want to comment on. It will ask for a brief description. It's good to let it be known here whether you support or oppose the item to be discussed, but there isn't space to go into much detail. Then you wait until you are called to the podium or, in some cases, those who want to speak form a line. Go to a couple of meetings to just observe so you can learn the procedures in your city or county.
Support Your Candidates
The Future May be up to You.
Of course you have better things to do than read books and do online research on topics that you might not be all that excited about. If you're like me, going to city council meetings and reading meeting agendas is on the same level as having a tooth pulled. It's so much easier to leave this up to the officials -- who love not being watched -- and the people who represent interests opposed to your interests. They are depending on you to continue to ignore them or just complain to your friends about the things you see happening you don't like.
It's time now for average concerned citizens to rise up and make their voices heard at city hall, in the county board chambers, in planning commission meetings, and at the voting booth. Will you be one of them?