Toward the end of last year I saw where Edmond's attempts toward sustainability were foiled by the Tea Partiers. I thought about writing about this, but I let is slide because I didn't want to acknowledge it or justify it with a response, and I didn't want to go political. I also don't have any stake or concerns about Edmond, and I believe they can do whatever they want, and more power to 'em. I'm just now getting to this now that this political ideology has taken aim at the Horseshoe.
It all goes back to when a meeting held by the City of Edmond was stormed by a crowd of angry Tea Partiers who were upset about anything sustainability-related (I assume that includes saving money). They weren't upset however because they disliked density, or because they were afraid roads would get less priority, or because of schools, or some possibly understandable but misguided reason that would be on-topic. They turned out because they were devoted to stopping Agenda 21 in its tracks.
Look, I know urban OKC better than anyone, the projects, the neighborhoods, and so on. And I'm an environmental design major to boot, so I know my stuff about urbanism and design and sustainability. But I had never heard of Agenda 21 before, I just had no Earthly idea what it was, so I had to look into it. Apparently it is part of a U.N. meeting in which the U.N. listed as a "Millennium Goal" for the world to have, among other things, clean water, safe air to breath, and well-designed cities. It is interesting to me that they list American-style sprawl among other maladies like infested water supplies or polluted air, but they're totally right to do so. Sprawl is a health and living issue. It makes you fat and drives you insane when all you do is sit in a steel box and obey color-coded lights. People who live in walking cities are healthier, and this is a fact.
So I guess I support Agenda 21 without even knowing about it, but now I do, thanks to the Sooner Tea Party. First of all, I don't understand what is wrong with the U.N.'s Millennium Goals. I dislike the U.N. as much as anyone, but I just haven't given it any thought since it kind of became irrelevant a few years ago. Is it going the way of the League of Nations? Who knows, and who cares? I support what I do and believe what I do regardless of who agrees with me, and it's blatantly obvious that the Tea Party wouldn't even care about urban planning (a truly non-partisan debate if there were ever one) if the U.N. didn't have a position.
To be fair to them, you can read the thoughts of these nutjobs in their own words here, here, and most-interestingly here, where a Letter to the Editor (of the Edmond Sun) concedes that Okie urbanists don't talk about eminent domain, "mandatory rules" (you mean like Don't Ask Don't Tell and abortion laws?), etc., but that it still matters that we defeat the U.N. conspiracy. See, I'd have thought that the issue should go away once they address what Okie urbanists actually talk about, but I guess not, amazingly. You take away the crux of the issue and still have an issue, I suppose.
Some excerpts from the ironically-named American Thinker write-up (can't call it an article):
Undoubtedly, residents of any town, county, or city in the United States that treasure their freedom, liberty, and property rights couldn't care less whether it's called Agenda 21 or smart growth. A recent example of this can be found in Carroll County, Maryland, where a smart growth plan called Pathways was drafted by the County Planning Department. The plan, if enacted, proposed a breathtaking reshuffling of land rights:
* Rezoning of thousands of acres of beautiful, low-density agricultural farmland and protected residential conservation land into office parks
* Down-zoning of agriculture land to prevent future subdivision by farmers
* Up-zoning of low-density residential land around small towns into higher density zoning to permit construction of hundreds or possibly thousands of inclusive housing units, including apartments and condominiums
* Inclusive housing with placement of multi-family construction on in-fill lots within existing residential single family communities
* Endorsement of government-sponsored housing initiatives (subsidies) to ensure healthier, balanced neighborhoods
This is a kenard. It's not even close to smart growth to rezone farming land into office parks. That's anti-smart growth, which actually would seek to preserve the farming land, in that instance, and to LIMIT SPRAWL. Furthermore, the rezoning is just that, rezoning. It gives greater freedom to developers to do development they want. It would be a different case (that I would still support) if the rezoning put a density minimum on developments, but that has never been the case. We should explore that, but it would be politically very unpopular. Also, when they throw around words like "protected residential conservation land," the term "land rights," and mix it with political rhetoric, which I've never seen done before, I get a distinctly Soviet vibe from these people. That's just me, though. I'm also curious to know what up-zoning means, but I suppose it's them not knowing what the hell they're talking about. Kind of like when my elderly grandmother always calls Wal-Mart "Greider's," which used to be a big supermarket in South OKC. I'm sorry grandma, did not mean to bring you into this! My point though is just that if you're going to demagogue about city business, know exactly and precisely what they hell you're talking about. These clowns don't.
And I'll also quote the Edmond Sun letter:
Edmond Sustainability will probably talk about smart growth (means United Nations Agenda 21, UN resolution 44/228, etc.) at 6 p.m. Monday at the Downtown Community Center.
I guess we can agree that philosophically, urban planning is a liberal idea. It's one that we've accepted for over 200 years in this nation, as we've always planned our cities. D.C., our nation's capital, was masterplanned by a French planner. I bet that wouldn't have gone over well with the Tea Party back in the 1800s (by which I mean the real nation's founders who also wore 2010-style wigs and old-timey dress). Oh wait, they supported it, and they wore wigs because that was normal then. Now that is ironic.
For those who are stumped and find it difficult to agree with my use of language in the title of this blog post:
So if we agree that planning is liberal, then so is getting an education. I don't mean having government fund it, I mean even getting one, because we're using a very specific definition of wicked liberalism here. We're all liberals in that case, because we support human rights for African American citizens. I think the KKK also had a resolution or two opposed to liberalism of any stripe, and I see more of a connection to that than I do between urban planning and the U.N., which does not award degrees, certify planners, or even think-tank on it (that would be the APA in every case).
When it comes to KKK, resolutions, I am opposed to anything they have to say. I do not even need to find out what it's saying, because it's the KKK. It's like speed, I don't even need to try it. I oppose any political thought from people who dress up in creepy garb. I do not even need to know what they say. This is especially the case if they do not even care what us normal-dressing people actually say.
Down with the KKK. Support your existing council, with the exception of Brian Walters, who is not part of the KKK, but still kind of backwards. Support the city council because it has been a shining example of putting policy BEFORE politics. It can prove to the world how a strongly conservative-dominated group (with exception of Pete, Skip, Sam, and probably Meg as a safe guess) can be as far from backwards as possible, and can push for smart growth, saving money, and better built environments that make healthy lifestyles possible, if you want to pursue that for yourself. They've proven that it IS important to give people options of different neighborhoods and lifestyles. We have it all here in OKC, even though the urbane is more fledgling.
So in summary, I oppose the KKK, and any resolutions it has regarding classical liberalism and governmental institutions like planning and education. I therefor have empathy for the Tea Party in its quest to defeat the U.N., but I would encourage them to visit NY or Brussels and save it for someone who cares. About the U.N., that is.
What's next, a boycott of grocery stores that sell products from U.N. nations? After all, it could bring us one step closer to a financial, economical, and governmental one-world order that the aliens in Europe are trying to control us in...