Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lessons From the TSPLOST Campaign

As I write this we are halfway through the voting day on Tuesday. I look forward to celebrating the defeat of the TSPLOST this evening, but I’m still apprehensive. 
We had to overcome an $8 million ad campaign promoting it, which is more money than Romney spent defeating Newt in Florida.
This has been a fascinating and educational campaign. Here are some of the lessons:

1. Grassroots activation is hard work.
The degree to which the general public is apathetic is frankly scary. The current generation of politicians depend on that apathy. If our country is to have any kind of future, we all must become much more engaged and active in the political arena. I participate in this and other political activities because I personally feel threatened by the direction our governments (federal and state) are taking us in.  We will not change that direction unless a far larger percentage of the electorate becomes engaged. 

2. Good guys are hard to find.
During the campaign we had many internal exchanges over whether or not this or that politician could be “trusted,” whether he had “lied” or whether his position was simply politically expedient. It would be nice if we could have a reliable test for honesty, integrity and frugality that we could subject them to. As it is, I have found that making moral judgements, positive or negative, about political people is very risky and error prone. For now, we have allies and opponents on an issue by issue basis, and there are no other reliable rules.
3. Everyone will never agree on everything.
Reaching consensus in a business environment is difficult enough. In a grassroots environment is it impossible. Given that, everyone willing to work and add something is of value and different volunteers bring different skill sets. Those who are willing to work the hardest and contribute the most generally end up as leaders.

4. The press is not our friend.
After numerous debates, speaking engagements, radio spots, on-camera and off-camera interviews and a press conference, I am now keenly aware of the incredible editing and manipulation done by most of the media. With the single exception of Christine Foster of the Roswell Patch, every member of the press with whom I had contact engaged in heavy editing in favor of the TSPLOST, normally by omitting the most salient facts in opposition. After reading their continual advocacy journalism, it was no surprise to discover that Cox Enterprises was a major contributor to the pro-TSPLOST campaign. PolitiFact coverage became a standing joke. The tortured logic used to create a “mostly false” conclusion on numerous anti-TSPLOST statements and a “mostly true” on pro-TSPLOST statements completely undermined the credibility of their platform. Watching local TV news is completely useless as a reliable source of information.

5. Business interests will always act in their own self-interest.
The chambers of commerce and the major corporate donors to the pro-TSPLOST campaign have a completely different agenda than the citizens. Cost-effective transportation solutions are a completely separate issue from the benefits of increased spending that they don’t have to pay for. They love a sales tax because they don’t have to pay it. The CTM campaign funding showed over $1.2 million in out-of-state contributions from companies with business interest in the projects proposed. They want us to raise our own taxes as citizens to benefit their businesses.

6. We have a long, long way to go as a state.
Prior to the 2012 legislative session I personally lobbied a number of high-level legislators to avoid the obvious disaster that HB277 had created. It will be a disaster if it passes and it will be a disaster if it fails. They should have headed it off in the last session. I was told that “the legislature just doesn’t have any appetite” for the issue. I sincerely hope the voting results can give our legislature an appetite for repealing the entire mess and putting a coherent plan in place.  More on that in a later article.

My sincerest appreciation goes out to the Transportation Leadership Coalition members who gave unbelievable time and effort to this campaign. The public faces are well known by now. We’ve been debating, speaking and interviewing incessantly. The behind-the-scenes volunteers who built and managed the TrafficTruth.net web site, the Facebook page, the Twitter account, and who coordinated the speaking engagements, distributed the signs, sent hundreds of thousands of e-mails and made phone calls all are deserving of the public’s thanks, as well as my personal thanks.

Source: Mike Lowry, Roswell Patch, Posted on July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Why Vote NO on T-SPLOST

1.      The election process allows no opt-out by counties who do not want the tax.  If 51% of the voters in your region vote for the tax, then all counties in your region will be subjected to the tax, regardless of how your county voted.
2.      This election process (no opt-out) violates the concept of “Home Rule” in the Georgia State Constitution.  Under Home Rule, one county cannot bind another county to a tax (see #1 above).
3.      Many counties outside of the metro Atlanta region are donor
counties under this tax, i.e., taxpayers in your county will pay out more in taxes than the county gets back.
4.      The project lists assembled by the Regional Roundtables (RRT) are nothing more than “wish lists” of projects put together by local politicians.  Projects on the lists were never subjected to a comparative analysis to determine which projects give the most benefit for the money spent.
5.      25% (15% in metro Atlanta region) of the tax monies collected in each region are skimmed off and given to the local politicians to be spent however they see fit, thereby buying their support for the tax.
6.      In the Atlanta region, 55% of the tax dollars are to be spent on
public transportation projects and 45% on roads.  Public transit carries only 5% of passenger miles traveled while roads carry 95%.
7.      In 2010, MARTA booked an operational loss of $520M.  Fare revenues covered only 17.5% of total operating costs.  A $2.50 ride on MARTA actually costs $14.37.  Every time a person boards MARTA and pays the $2.50 fare, someone else (you the taxpayer) is paying $11.87 in subsidy for that person to ride.
8.      34% of the T-SPLOST tax funds in the Atlanta Region are to be spent on projects that we know up front will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on reducing traffic congestion.  This is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
9.      Supporters of this new 1% sales tax include: State politicians,
local politicians (bought off by the up-front 15-25% rake-off of tax
dollars), and coalitions of contractors (MAVEN and Untie Atlanta) who will profit from the building of new roads and transit projects.
10.  We are told that the tax is “only a penny” (NOT) – it is a 1% sales tax on almost everything you buy, for a minimum of ten years (about $66 per month for the average family of four).
11.  We are told that the tax is for only 10 years, but some of the
projects don’t start construction until 2040.  How will those projects be paid for?  Will the politicians come back to voters in 10 years asking us to extend this self-imposed tax for another 10 years?  Will this become the “Forever tax”?
12.  Politicians are trying to “fix” the election in favor of the tax.
a.       The transportation referendum was put on the primary election
ballot – lower voter turnout for primary elections makes it easier for
supporters of the tax to get the tax approved.
b.      15-25% of the tax dollars are skimmed off and given to local
politicians to buy their support for this new sales tax.

 c.       Governor Deal has promised to campaign for any local elected
politician who will support the T-SPLOST tax.
d.      Sec of State Kemp has placed a supportive preamble on the TIA referendum ballot.  No other ballot issue has such a preamble.  A legal challenge has been raised.
13.  T-SPLOST is a wasteful tax pushed at a time when the economy is in bad shape.
If you want more information on which to base your decision on the vote, go to traffictruth.net.

Source:  Jane & Billy Wise

Monday, July 30, 2012

Which Vision Should You Vote For?

By Mike Lowry
On Tuesday you will have an opportunity to directly influence the way that transportation planning and development is managed in the metro region. The pro-TSPLOST vision is to spend over 52 percent of your increased tax dollars on economic development for downtown Atlanta (MLK Center trolley, beltline), on bailing out MARTA (“state of good repair” capital projects), and on expanding rail and bus transit. Very few major road projects are included in their vision, and those are deferred until the end of the project period. For example, the much-touted GA 400/I-285 interchange project isn’t to start until 2020.

The anti-TSPLOST position is that this is a very badly formed process that has, pardon the pun, gone off the rails. We think the legislature needs a do-over to establish a much-reformed and open transportation planning and management process. The solution isn’t simply to find more ways to throw more money into the process. It is to fix a badly broken process, then re-evaluate our needs and develop coherent solutions. That do-over cannot begin until you vote NO on the TSPLOST on Tuesday.

The metro-Atlanta region has grown well beyond the confines of the city limits of Atlanta. Most of our job growth has been, and will continue to be, in the suburbs.  We have the nicest, least-dense suburban lifestyle of any city in the United States. We don’t need to change that, we need to support it and develop real transportation solutions that work to help you travel from origin to destination in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible. The key elements of a working solution were advanced in Baruch Feigenbaum’s stellar analysis found on the Georgia Public Policy Foundation website.

Our transportation planners, and our politicians, are on a completely different     wavelength.   You can help them to shift their thinking by voting NO on Tuesday, then following up with letters and phone calls to let them know what you think.

It’s time they stopped doing things to us, and started doing thingsfor us.
Source: TrafficTruth.net

The T-SPLOST - Passage will obstruct progress

by Ron Sifen
The TSPLOST was supposed to be about reducing traffic congestion.

The Atlanta Regional Commission has conceded that the TSPLOST projects list will do little to reduce regional commute times. The ARC says they are defining “alleviating traffic congestion” as meaning increasing the number of people who can reach a point in the region within 45 minutes. The ARC has conceded that this has nothing to do with improving the flow of traffic, and that it will have an insignificant impact on reducing commute times.

The reason that so many state legislators are now opposing the TSPLOST is that the projects list became a massive bait-and-switch. Most of the money, billions of dollars, is going to projects that will do little or nothing to improve the flow of traffic.

In public presentations on both July 12 and July 13, TSPLOST proponents said

* Light rail has NOTHING to do with reducing traffic congestion, and

* Light rail has NOTHING to do with moving people.

* Cities build light rail to promote economic development.

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation recently concluded that the TSPLOST projects list has “massive boondoggles that will put this state at a disadvantage for decades,“ and that “it would commit the region to wasteful spending on questionable projects for long past the 10-year sales tax.”

They also point out that rail transit is appropriate in places with very high population density. However Atlanta has the lowest population density of any major city in the world.

Express bus is the form of transit that can best meet the needs of a city that has low population density and widely dispersed employment centers.

Light rail will likely wind up being at least 50 times more expensive to implement than express bus, and light rail is also drastically more expensive to operate and maintain. The TSPLOST will obligate a huge amount of future transportation dollars for purposes that have nothing to do with improving traffic flow on our roads.

In 2004, the State of Georgia produced the Regional Transit Action Plan (RTAP). The RTAP could have provided an affordable seamless transit network, serving the entire region, for less than 1/5th of what three light rail projects will cost.

For 80 percent less money, the region could have gotten dramatically superior service that would better serve the needs of our low population density city. Special interests opposed the RTAP because the only thing it would do was to address the region’s transportation needs. The RTAP did not provide a way for special interests to hijack taxpayer dollars for their personal profit.

Not only does the TSPLOST squander billions on projects that will not reduce congestion. It also obligates huge amounts of future transportation dollars to purposes that will not reduce traffic congestion. Passage of the TSPLOST will literally financially obstruct the Atlanta region from ever being able to solve our traffic problems.

The TSPLOST failed to fund many good projects that would have actually helped to improve the flow of traffic. Yes, there are a few good projects on the list. Billions are being squandered on projects that will not improve the flow of traffic.

TSPLOST supporters tell us that Dallas and Denver have light rail, so we must have the same toys that those cities have. They don’t mention that both Dallas and Denver have longer commute times than Atlanta. Light rail does not have a track record for reducing traffic congestion anywhere.

When confronted with these issues, TSPLOST supporters suddenly reverse themselves and say that Cobb’s transit project won’t really be light rail. It will just be $689 million to enhance an existing bus route. What could be more ridiculous than $689 million to enhance an existing bus route? Project CO-035 clearly states that if Cobb’s “alternatives analysis” study recommends light rail, that this project can be light rail. Light rail will cost at least $3 billion, and taxpayers are going to get whacked for the “cost overruns.“

TSPLOST supporters like to ask a trick question. Should Atlanta reject a good projects list in hopes of a perfect projects list? Unfortunately, we don’t have that choice. We have to make a decision about a projects list that is so bad, that it will literally financially obstruct this region from ever solving our traffic problems.

It is absurd for TSPLOST proponents to claim that if voters don’t approve their special interest boondoggles, that the region will give up and do nothing. On July 31 voters should reject the boondoggles list, and send a clear message demanding a new projects list that spends the money on reducing traffic congestion.

Source:  The Marietta Daily Journal, July 28, 2012  Ron Sifen, Columnist  Ron Sifen of Vinings is president of the Cobb County Civic Coalition.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Georgia Hispanic Republicans unanimously opposed to T-SPLOST

a.. These type of initiatives have not worked in California and New York

b.. It actually increases the size of government and bureaucracy

c.. The money spent will not solve the traffic problems that Atlanta faces

d.. The jobs that will be created will be in many case low paying jobs

e.. The tax is regional yet it will be primarily spent in the City of Atlanta.   Why should the entire region have to pay

f.. What about other more pressing needs for the money - education, public safety

g.. The best way to boost the metro area's economy and economic development potential is for each community to create the best living and business environment possible while recognizing the benefits of being part of the metro area

h.. Not all roads lead to Atlanta. Supporters seem to think all roads lead to Atlanta and that that area ITP (Inside The Perimeter) is the job creation center of all of North Georgia, especially the metro area.

a.. IF the regional brain trust that devised this monstrosity REALLY wanted to foster regional cooperation in a way that was conducive to economic development, they'd find a way to make our REAL economic development engine (Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport) more effective. A second airport for commuter traffic would do much more for regional cooperation and economic development than this TSPLOST boondoogle.

b.. It is a tax that the Governor and legislator's didn't have the courage to do themselves

c.. Yes there are some infrastructure problems but not the amount supporters would claim. Business Facilities Magazine says Georgia ranks in the top 10 in the nation for transportation infrastructure

d.. . A massive tax increase will hurt rather than help the economy. That is economics 101, just ask Herbert Hoover what raising taxes did for the Great Depression

e.. It will greatly expand MARTA, and MARTA is costing taxpayers 500 million per year in subsidies.

a.. T-SPLOST is redistribution of wealth from rich counties to poor counties.

Source: David Johnson  Georgia Hispanic Republicans Media Contact

Voters Are Catching On To TSPLOST Trickery

by Richard Arena

Reading the tea leaves on the 1 percent TSPLOST sales tax referendum, it looks like it’s going to be a train wreck - for the proponents.  

Through the efforts of a handful of civic minded citizens who did their homework and confronted TSPLOST supporters with tough questions, it is now confirmed that “untying Atlanta’s traffic congestion” is a big fat lie.

Even as the Untie ad runs on TV, advocates have no choice in public debates but admit that the tax is NOT ABOUT SOLVING TRAFFIC CONGESTION.

Now they say it’s really an economic stimulus that, oh by the way, will change metro Atlanta's suburban landscape in to stack ‘em pack ‘em urban complexes clustered around MARTA stations. Who knew, certainly not the people targeted to pick up the tab.  

There are other unwelcome surprises hidden in the folds of this tax – like the fact that voters will have little choice but to roll it over after ten years so key projects can be finished, and also the fact that no one in authority admits to having any idea how MARTA’s maintenance and operations costs will be covered in the out years  . . . and so on. 

There was a time when measures like TSPLOST would have passed with little public attention and no real opposition, but that was before the consequences of government gone wild started hitting Americans where it hurts.

Now a huge segment of voters is aware that government apparatchiks at the Federal, state and local levels routinely mislead and outright lie to voters in order to pass measures that have negative financial and/or social ramifications.

And that neighbors, is precisely why TSPLOST went under the microscope and also why Governor Nathan Deal’s second go around at promising to take down the toll booths on Georgia 400 was greeted with skepticism and scorn.  

It's time for office holders who don't understand the whole Tea Party, talk radio, Fox News, Internet thing to get with the program or start looking for real jobs - in the private sector.

Source: Alpharetta-Milton Patch Opinion: Posted on July 26, 2012 at 8:30 am

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sustainable Development Report

TEA Parties and “End the Fed” Protests Cannot Win Back the Republic Without this Information!

Many Americans appear to be awakening from their slumber of apathy as government forces are making their move for total control of our lives. Massive TEA Party protests across the country show a growing movement of concerned, dedicated Americans. But there is a major component missing from those protests. There is a nearly universal lack of understanding of the issue of Sustainable Development and the dangers it poses to our liberty. Consequently, that issue is being left out of the protests.

Meanwhile, as thousands attend the TEA Parties and protest the Federal Reserve, taxes, and out of control federal government, inside their local city halls, international forces are busy turning the communities into little soviets.

I have been traveling the nation sounding the alarm that we cannot win this battle to restore our Republic if we don’t understand that what we face is not a bunch of random issues – but a complete agenda of control – Sustainable Development. Cap N Trade, global warming, population control, gun control, open borders and illegal immigration, higher taxes, higher gas prices, refusal to drill American oil, education restructuring, international IDs, natural health supplement control, food control, farming “reform,” control of private property, NAIS and UN Global Governance are all part of the Sustainable Development/Agenda 21 blueprint.
To that end, I am providing this Special Report on Sustainable Development to give activists all the ammunition they need to fight back. I am also including a list of more than 500 cities that are currently enacting Sustainable Development policies. If this is happening in your town (and it is), I urge you to challenge your local city council and mayor to stop these policies. The battles now must be fought on the local level. Remove Sustainable Development from every community and policies out of the federal government will be neutralized. And only then can we be on our way to restoring the American Republic. ------- Tom DeWeese – American Policy Center

Sustainable Development: The Root of All Our Problems

In his book, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore warned that a “wrenching transformation” must take place to lead America away from the “horrors of the Industrial Revolution.” The process to do that is called Sustainable Development and it’s roots can be traced back to a UN policy document called Agenda 21, adopted at the UN’s Earth Summit in 1992. Sustainable Development calls for changing the very infrastructure of the nation, away from private ownership and control of property to nothing short of central planning of the entire economy – often referred to as top-down control. Truly, Sustainable Development is designed to change our way of life. In short, it’s all about wealth redistribution. Your wealth into a green rat hole.

During the Cold War, communists tried to get us to surrender our liberties and way of life for the wisdom of Karl Marx. Americans didn’t buy it. But now, they have taken the same clap trap and wrapped it all in a nice green blanket, scaring us with horror stories about the human destruction of the environment – and so we are now throwing our liberties on the bonfire like a good old fashioned book burning -- all in the name of protecting the planet.

It sounds so friendly. So meaningful. So urgent. But, the devastation to our liberty and way of life is the same as if Lenin ordered it.

We now have a new language invading our government at all levels. Old words with new meanings fill government policy papers. The typical city council meeting discusses “community development,” “historic preservation,” and “partnerships” between the city and private business.

Civic leaders organize community meetings run by “facilitators,” as they outline a “vision” for the town, enforced by “consensus.” No need for debate when you have consensus! People of great importance testify before congressional committees of the dire need for “social justice.”

Free trade, social justice, consensus, global truth, partnerships, preservation, stakeholders, land use, environmental protection, development, diversity, visioning, open space, heritage, comprehensive planning, critical thinking, and community service are all part of our new language.

What are they really talking about? What mental pictures come to mind when those words are used? George Orwell realized that those who control language and manipulate key phrases can control policy.

The language is being changed and manipulated to quietly implement a very destructive policy. Whenever you see or hear these words, know that, in every case, they are defining one thing - the implementation of Sustainable Development.

Rather than good management of resources, Sustainable Development has come to mean denied use and resources locked away from human hands. In short, it has become a code
word for an entire economic and social agenda.

I have spent most of the past 12 years studying every facet of this new political agenda which is fast becoming a revolution -- touching every aspect of our businesses, our public education system, our private property, our families and our individual lives.

Interestingly, it is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s not Liberal or Conservative. It is being implemented on a purely bipartisan basis. It is now the official policy of the United States, put in force by literally every department of the government. It is the official policy of every state government, and nearly every city, town and county in the nation.

But, I warn you, accepting the perception that Sustainable Development is simply good environmental stewardship is a serious and dangerous mistake.

So what is Sustainable Development? The Sustainablists insist that society be transformed into feudal-like governance by making nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society.

To achieve this, Sustainablist policy focuses on three components; global land use, global education, and global population control.

Keep in mind that America is the only country in the world based on the ideals of private property. But, private property is incompatible with the collectivist premise of Sustainable Development.

If you doubt that, then consider this quote from the report of the 1976

UN’s Habitat I conference which said: “Land …cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth, therefore, contributes to social injustice.”

According to the Sustainablist doctrine, it is a social injustice for some to have prosperity if others do not. It is a social injustice to keep our borders closed. It is a social injustice for some to be bosses and others to be merely workers.

Social justice is a major premise of Sustainable Development. Another word for social justice, by the way, is Socialism. Karl Marx was the first to coin the phrase “social justice.” Some officials try to pretend that Sustainable Development is just a local effort to protect the environment -- just your local leaders putting together a local vision for the community. Then ask your local officials how it is possible that the exact language and tactics for implementation of Sustainable Development are being used in nearly every city around the globe from Lewiston, Maine to Singapore.

Local indeed. Sustainable Development is the process by which America is being reorganized around a central principle of state collectivism using the environment as bait. The best way to understand what Sustainable Development actually is can be found by discovering what is NOT sustainable. According to the UN’s Biodiversity Assessment Report, items for our everyday lives that are

NOT sustainable include: Ski runs, grazing of livestock, plowing of soil, building fences, industry, single family homes, paved and tarred roads, logging activities, dams and reservoirs, power line construction, and economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment (capitalism, free markets).

Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s Rio Earth

Summit in 1992 said, “…Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air-conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.” Are you starting to see the pattern behind Cap N Trade, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water

Act, and all of those commercials you’re forced to watch about the righteousness of “Going Green?” They are all part of the enforcement of Sustainable Development. And one of the most destructive tools they use to force it on us is something called the “precautionary principle.” That means that any activities that might threaten human health or the environment should be stopped -- even if no clear cause and effect relationship has been established – and even if the potential threat is largely theoretical.

That makes it easy for any activist group to issue warnings by news release or questionable report and have those warnings quickly turned into public policy – just in case. Many are now finding nonelected regional governments and governing councils enforcing policy and regulations. As these policies are implemented, locally-elected officials are actually losing power and decision-making ability in their own communities. Most decisions are now being made behind the scenes in non-elected “sustainability councils” armed with truckloads of federal regulations, guidelines, and grant money.

The three Es

According to its authors, the objective of Sustainable Development is to integrate economic, social, and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.

The Sustainabalists insist that society be transformed into feudallike governance by making Nature the central organizing principle for our economy and society. As such, every societal decision would first be questioned as to how it might effect the environment. To achieve this,

Sustainablist policy focuses on three components; land use, education, and population control/reduction. The Sustainable Development logo used in most literature on the subject contains three connecting circles labeled Social Equity; Economic Prosperity; and Ecological Integrity (known commonly as the 3 Es).

Social Equity

As stated, Sustainable Development’s Social Equity plank is based on a demand for “social justice.” Today, the phrase is used throughout Sustainablist literature. The Sustainablist system is based on the principle that individuals must give up selfish wants for the needs of the common good, or the “community.” How does this differ from Communism?

This is the same policy behind the push to eliminate our nation’s borders to allow the “migration” of those from other nations into the United States to share our individually created wealth and our taxpayers paid government social programs.

Say the Sustainablists, “Justice and efficiency go hand in hand.”

“Borders,” they say, “are unjust.” Under the Sustainablist system, private property is an evil that is used simply to create wealth for a few. So too, is business ownership. Instead, “every worker/person will be a direct capital owner.” Property and businesses are to be kept in the name of the owner, keeping them responsible for taxes and other expenses, however control is in the hands of the “community.” That policy is right out of the Socialist handbook.

Economic Prosperity

Sustainable Development’s economic policy is based on one overriding premise: that the wealth of the world was made at the expense of the poor. It dictates that, if the conditions of the poor are to be improved, wealth must first be taken from the rich.

Consequently, Sustainable Development’s economic policy is based not on private enterprise but on public/private partnerships. In order to give themselves an advantage over competition, some businesses -- particularly large corporations – now find a great advantage in dealing directly with government, actively lobbying for legislation that
will inundate smaller companies with regulations that they cannot possibly comply with or even keep up with. This government/big corporation back-scratching has always been a dangerous practice because economic power should be a positive check on government power, and vice versa. If the two should ever become combined, control of such massive power can lead only to tyranny. One of the best examples of this was the Italian model in the first half of the Twentieth Century under Mussolini’s Fascism.

Together, select business leaders who have agreed to help government impose Sustainablist green positions in their business policies, and officials at all levels of government are indeed merging the power of the economy with the force of government in Public/ Private Partnerships on the local, state and federal levels.

As a result, Sustainable Development policy is redefining free trade to mean centralized global trade “freely” crossing (or eliminating) national borders. It definitely does not mean people and companies trading freely with each other. Its real effect is to redistribute American manufacturing, wealth, and jobs out of our borders and to lock away American natural resources. After the regulations have been put in place, literally


destroying whole industries, new “green” industries created with federal grants bring newfound wealth to the “partners.” This is what Sustainablists refer to as economic prosperity.

Ecological Integrity

“Nature has an integral set of different values (cultural, spiritual and material) where humans are one strand in nature’s web and all living creatures are considered equal. Therefore the natural way is the right way and human activities should be molded along nature’s rhythms.” From the UN’s Biodiversity Treaty presented at the 1992 UN Earth Summit. This quote lays down the ground rules for the entire Sustainable Development agenda. It says humans are nothing special – just one strand in the nature of things or, put another way, humans are simply biological resources. Sustainablist policy is to oversee any issue in which man interacts with nature - which, of course, is literally everything. And because the environment always comes first, there must be great restrictions over private property ownership and control. This is necessary, Sustainablists say, because humans only defile nature.

Under Sustainable Development there can be no concern over individual rights – as we must all sacrifice for the sake of the environment. Individual human wants, needs, and desires are to be conformed to the views and dictates of social planners. The UN’s Commission on Global Governance said in its 1995 report: “Human activity… combined with unprecedented increases in human numbers… are impinging on the planet’s basic life support system. Action must be taken now to control the human activities that produce these risks”

Under Sustainable Development there can be no limited government, as advocated by our Founding Fathers, because, we are told, the real or perceived environmental crisis is too great. Maurice Strong, Chairman of the 1992 UN Earth Summit said:

A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns. The shift will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.” The politically based environmental movement provides

Sustainablists camouflage as they work to transform the American systems of government, justice, and economics. It is a masterful mixture of socialism (with its top down control of the tools of the economy) and fascism (where property is owned in name only – with no control). Sustainable Development is the worst of both the left and the right. It is not liberal, nor is it conservative. It is a new kind of tyranny that, if not stopped, will surely lead us to a new Dark Ages of pain and misery yet unknown to mankind.

Many Americans ask how dangerous international policies can suddenly turn up in state and local government, all seemingly uniform to those in communities across the nation and around the globe.

The answer – meet ICLEI, a non-profit, private foundation, dedicated to helping your mayor implement all of his promises. Originally known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), today the group simply calls itself “ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.”

In 1992, ICLEI was one of the groups instrumental in creating Agenda 21. The group’s mission is to push local communities to regulate the environment – and it’s having tremendous success.

I have included a list of 544 American cities in which ICLEI is being paid with tax dollars from city councils to implement and enforce Sustainable Development. ICLEI is there to assure that the mayors keep their promises and meet their goals. Climate change, of course, is the ICLEI mantra.

Here’s just some of the programs ICLEI provides cities and towns, in order to spread their own particular political agenda in the name of “community services” and environmental protection, they include:

Software programs to help set the goals for community development – which leads to taking control of your private property;

Access to a network of “Green” experts, newsletters, conferences and workshops – to assure the indoctrination of city employees is complete;

Toolkits, online resources, case studies, fact sheets, policy and practice manuals, and blueprints used by other communities – so you know you are not alone;

Training workshops for staff and elected officials on how to develop and implement the programs -- wanna bet they never seem to mention that thousands of scientists around the world now say man-made global warming is a myth and none of these programs are necessary? Probably doesn’t make it into the workshop; And, of course, there’s Notification of relevant grant opportunities – this is the important one – money – with severe strings attached. ICLEI recommends that the community hire a full Remove ICLEI - Restore the Republic! time “sustainability manager,” who, even in small towns, can devote 100% of his time to assure that every nook and corner of the government is on message and under control.

As I said, it’s not about protecting the environment; it’s about reinventing government with a specific political agenda. ICLEI and others are dedicated to controlling your locally elected public officials to quietly implement an all encompassing tyranny over every community in the nation. Like a disease, ICLEI (or others of its kind) is entrenched in most American cities, dictating policy to your locally elected officials, controlling policy and making sure they do not listen to your protests. To truly see tyranny in action, one only needs to go to a city council meeting and attempt to ask questions or discuss a sustainable development program. Most who have tried it have been literally physically removed from the chamber.

It’s time to remove ICLEI. Look at this list of communities where they currently hide behind the curtain -- and take action to remove them. Now, before your community is run like a soviet, where there is no debate, no regard for constitutionally-guaranteed rights, no property rights, no free markets, no alternative thought.

Through ICLEI there is only top-down control – just like a soviet. Remove ICLEI - Restore the Republic!

Action to Take:

ICLEI is one of the most dangerous forces in the nation, particularly because so few people know of their existence. But your mayor and city council know. They are in regular meetings with them. They get memos on policy. They are told what to support and who to silence. What they fear most is exposure. Now, we can turn the tables on ICLEI by shining a bright spotlight on their activities in your community.

First, go to a city council meeting and listen to the discussion. Are they talking about land use, water control, development control? Are they using the language I have described in this issue? If so, Sustainable Development is ruling your community.

Second, begin to ask questions. You may have to do it after the meeting, but if you can, ask during… Ask where these policies they are discussing come from. Ask if your community is now paying dues to a group called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Once you have determined that ICLEI is truly in your community, then the battle can begin. Remember, the list of ICLEI cities on this page came directly from the ICLEI web page – so you already know they are there.

Third, our opposition to Sustainable Development is not oppositition to Environmental Protection. We oppose the process which replaces locally-elected representation with all-powerful non-elected boards, councils and regional governments. That process eliminates input, discussion and debate from community citizens.

Fourth, demand that your locally-elected representatives stop paying dues to ICLEI and remove the organization from making policy.

(ICLEI member Cities and Counties in GA include: Atlanta, GA, Chatham County, GA,
Decatur, GA, Fulton County, GA, Savannah, GA

All other Cities and Counties in GA that have used the American Planning Association or have a Sustainability Commission will have ICLEI policies in their Master Plans.

The Georgia legislature passed HB 1216 in 2008 authorizing appointed, unelected Regional Councils to help us do things we’ve always done on our own.  They also passed HB 277 authorizing the T-SPLOST with projects approved by appointed, unelected Regional Councils to control transportation project authorization.  This usurps city and county sovereignty and “home rule” in the Georgia Constitution.  They did this in order to get federal transportation funds.)

The Four Part Process Leading to Sustainable Development

So how is this wrenching transformation being put into place?

There are four very specific routes being used.

In the rural areas it’s called the Wildlands Project. In the cities it’s called smart growth. In business it’s called Public/Private Partnerships. And in government it’s called stakeholder councils and non-elected boards and regional government.
The Wildlands Project was the brainchild of Earth First’s Dave Foreman and it literally calls for the “re-wilding” of 50% of all the land in every state – back to the way it was before Christopher Columbus set foot on this land. It is a diabolical plan to herd humans off the rural lands and into human settlements. Crazy you say!

Yes. Impossible? Not so fast. From the demented mind of Foreman, the plan became the blueprint for the UN’s Biodiversity Treaty. So now the scheme is international in scope.

But how do you remove people from the land? One step at a time.

Let’s begin with a biosphere reserve. A national park will do. A huge place where there is no human activity. How about Yellowstone National Park? Then you establish a buffer zone around the reserve. Inside the buffer only limited human activity is allowed. Slowly, you squeeze until you squash that human activity.

Once accomplished, you extend the area of the biosphere to the limits of the former buffer area – and then you create a new buffer zone around the now larger biosphere and start the process over again. In that way, the Biosphere Reserve acts like a cancer cell, ever expanding, until all human activity is stopped. And there are many tools in place to stop human activity and grow the reserve.

Push back livestock’s access to riverbanks on ranches; 300 feet ought to do it. When the cattle can’t reach the stream, the rancher can’t water them -- he goes out of business. Lock away natural resources by creating national parks. It shuts down the mines -- and they go out of business. Invent a Spotted Owl shortage and pretend it can’t live in a forest where timber is cut. Shut off the forest. Then, when no trees are cut, there’s nothing to feed the mills and then there are no jobs, and -- they go out of business.

Locking away land cuts the tax base. Eventually the town dies. Keep it up and there is nothing to keep the people on the land – so they head to the cities. The wilderness grows – just like Dave Foreman planned. It comes in many names and many programs. Heritage areas, land management, wolf and bear reintroduction, rails to trails,
conservation easements, open space, and many more. Each of these programs is designed to make it just a little harder to live on the land – a little more expensive – a little more hopeless. Now tell me how they can deny that the process is herding people into human habitat areas?

In the West, where vast areas of open space make it easy to impose such policies there are several programs underway to remove humans from the land. Today, there are at least 31 Wildlands projects underway, locking away more than 40 percent of the nation’s land. The Alaska Wildlands Project seeks to lock away and control almost the entire state. In Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, parts of North and South Dakota, parts of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas, Utah, and more there are at least 22 Wildlands Projects underway. For example, one project called Yukon to Yellowstone (Y2Y) – creates a 2000 mile no-man’s land corridor from the Arctic to Yellowstone.

East of the Mississippi, there are at least nine Wildlands projects, covering Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Watch for names of Wildlands Projects like Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Appalachian Restoration Project and Piedmont Wildlands Project.

The second path is called Smart Growth.  After they herd you into the city, they have more plans for you in regimented and dense urban communities. They put a line around the city and tell you no growth can take place outside that line. Urban sprawl, they say disdainfully. They refuse to build more roads as a ploy to get you out of your car into public transportation, restricting mobility.

Because there is a restriction on space inside the controlled city limits there is a shortage of houses, so prices go up. That means populations will have to be controlled, because now there is a shortage of land.

Cities are now passing “green” regulations, forcing homeowners to meet strict guidelines for making their homes environmentally compliant, using specific building materials, forcing roof replacements, demanding replacement of appliances, and more. In Oakland, California, such restrictions with compliance demanded in just a matter of a few years will cost each homeowner an estimated $36,000. The Cap-N-Trade bill contains a whole section on such restrictions for the nation.

Third, inside the human habitat areas, government is controlled by an elite ruling class called stake holder councils. These are mostly nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, who, like thieves in the night, just show up to stake their claim to enforce their own private agendas. The function of legitimate government within the system will be simply to enforce the dictates of the councils. The councils are unelected, but all powerful. They are controlled by a small minority in the community, but they are all powerful. They will make you ask permission (usually denied) for anything necessary to live in the community.

They destroy business. They dictate the number of outlets a business may have in a community, no matter what the population demands. For example, in San Francisco there can only be seven McDonalds. Period. They can dictate the kind of building materials you can use in your home – or whether you can build on your property at all. Then, if they do grant a permit for building, they might not decide to let you acquire water and electricity for your new home – and they may or may not give you a reason for being turned down. They can dictate that you get the proper exercise – as determined by the government. Again, San Francisco is building a new federal building – the greenest ever built. The elevators will only stop on every third floor so riders are forced to use stairs – for their own health, of course. These councils fit almost perfectly the definition of a State Soviet; a system of councils that report to an apex council and then implement a predetermined outcome. Soviets are the operating mechanism of a government-controlled economy.

The fourth path is Public/Private Partnerships. Today, many freedom organizations are presenting PPPs as free enterprise and a private answer for keeping taxes down by using business to make a better society. In truth, many PPPs are nothing more than government-sanctioned monopolies in which a few businesses are granted special favors like tax breaks, the power of eminent domain, non-compete clauses and specific guarantees for return on their investments.

That means they can charge what they want and they can use the power of government to put competition out of business. That is not free enterprise. And it is these global corporations that are pushing the green agenda.

For example, using government to ban its own product, General Electric is forcing the mercury-laden green light bulb on you, costing 5 times the price of incandescent bulbs. Such is the reality of green industry. PPPs are building the Trans Texas Corridor, using eminent domain to take more than 580,000 acres of private land - sanctioned by the partnership with the Texas government. And PPPs are taking over highways and local water treatment plants in communities across the nation. PPPs controlling the water can control water consumption – a major part of the Sustainable Development blueprint.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the root of the “Free Trade” process and the fuel for PPPs between international corporations and government, thereby creating an “elite” class of “connected” businesses – or what

Ayn Rand called “the power of pull.” Success in the PPP world is not based on quality of product and service, but on who you know in high places. To play ball in the PPP game means accepting the mantra of Sustainable Development and helping to implement it, even if it means going against your own product. That’s why Home Depot uses its commercials to oppose cutting down trees and British

Petroleum advocates reducing the use of oil. It is not free enterprise, but a Mussolini-type fascism that will only lead to tyranny. And it’s all driven by the Agenda 21 blueprint of Sustainable Development.

Source:  Tom DeWeese,  American Policy Center


Google TrafficTruth.net and Vote NO on T-SPLOST.  A yes vote authorizes Regional Transportation Councils to take over our road system.

 Norb Leahy,  Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader