Two very different views of the community and its future were displayed at separate events in Delta County that took place within days of each other last week.
The first event took place on Saturday, Sept, 22, when more than 300 local residents paid $8 each to attend a day-long seminar at the Delta Center.
Organized by a local volunteer committee headed by Constitutional government advocate Barbara Hulet, the presentation featured three nationally-known speakers, Tom DeWeese, Michael S. Coffman and Michael Chapman. Each shared their years of research and documentation of a United Nations program launched in 1992, called Agenda 21.
When Agenda 21 is fully implemented, they claim, it will supplant American national sovereignty and bring an end to American Constitutional government and its guarantee of individual freedom and liberty.
The Agenda 21 speakers made the case that local comprehensive planning is one area where the UN Agenda 21 program for ultimate, top-down government control is undermining traditional American freedoms and creating a new global society. They say that Agenda 21 aims to restructure the American economy, its energy use, the media and education. Speakers said the Agenda 21 program is identifiable by a lexicon of politically- correct buzzwords that include the terms green, tolerance, global warming, multi-culturalism, sustainability, diversity and others.
Four days later, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, the second event took place which tests the cautionary message of the Agenda 21 opponents.
About 30 local elected officials, planning commission members, and staff from Delta County, City of Delta, Orchard City and Cedaredge gathered at Orchard City Town Hall for a seminar on "Planning 101." Two officials from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) presented a program on "comprehensive local planning."
Those attending the DOLA session on Planning 101 at Orchard City are not people who anyone would believe are players in a global plan to restructure human society and usher in radical world government controls. They are the people that most folks in their communities know and may have voted for. They are professionals, retirees, newcomers and life-long residents who have volunteered their time to help make their communities better places, or they are neighbors who work in positions of local government.
So what, if any, is the connection between UN's Agenda 21 program and the comprehensive planning activities taking place on the local level in Delta County?
The Planning 101 session didn't make reference to any of the buzzwords said to be part of Agenda 21's supposed new paradigm of thought, with one exception – "SmartGrowth"
Andy Hill, DOLA director of the Community Development Office, began her presentation stating that DOLA provides only "technical and financial assistance" to community planning efforts which, she emphasized, are local. Her projector screen then filled with the image of a "SmartGrowth" guidebook used by DOLA and its Office of Smart Growth. A web search directs people to DOLA's Community Development Office.
The web search on "Smart Growth" also brings up links to national and world-wide programs.
According to the Agenda 21 event speakers, "Smart-Growth" is a direct outgrowth of the UN's program for "sustainable development and comprehensive planning." Its goal, they say, is to remove natural resources and private property rights from individuals and replace them with government processes and government approvals.
Hill's presentation went on to give the local government planners useful tips on avoiding conflicts of interest, steering clear of legal pitfalls, handling ex parte contact situations, making proper motions, working with staff and various matters. Also, planning regulations are seen as necessary for government to ensure that developers are treated evenhandedly, and many citizens want growth and development controls in their communities.
Other points in Hill's Planning 101 presentation also included the following:
• Slides portraying elected and appointed officials as clean-cut business types trying "to please everyone." But citizen participants of planing meetings were portrayed as shouting and angry, making ugly facial expressions with negative body language and making rude gestures.
• If one type of land use control doesn't work, Hill advised the local planners to try others. There are dozens of different types of land use controls that can be used for a given purpose, and any two or three others might work in a particular situation.
• Many planning commission members feel conflicted in their roles of "telling other people how to live."
• If an official in good conscience cannot support an official action, they are advised only to take notes, but to say nothing. They must vote with the "rules" and deal with their own private doubts and concerns at a later time.
• There was emphasis on staging public events classroom style to enhance credibility, and on conducting public sessions to maintain control.
• Hill referred to statutory requirements of the Colorado Open Meetings Law as "something nobody talks about anymore."
DOLA's Community Development office offers assistance through other programs of sustainability, historical preservation and Main Street revitalization.
Agenda 21 became a public issue in Delta County when Roger Bentley stated his opposition to it in his bid for the Republican nomination for county commissioner. Bentley is a seven-year member of the Delta County Planning Commission.blog comments powered by Disqus