Christmas List 2011 – A Lump of Coal for Agenda 21’s Smart Communities Plan

Dear Santa Claus, It looks like the government is trying to take over your job. Want to know what New Jerseyans are getting in their stockings this Christmas, thanks to the Democrat-controlled N.J. legislature, former Gov. Corzine, and even our future presidential hopeful Gov. Chris Christie and his Lieutenant-Governor Kim Guadagno? I’ll give you a hint: it’s got “Progressive” rubber-stamped all over.

I’ve met the Lieutenant-Governor and listened to a speech she gave. I’d hardly stamp her as a Liberal. She’s no Democrat-pal. The Media certainly didn’t love her when they anticipated her arrival. She came late and the reporters left the event early. But she may be a Progressive, all the same.

Here’s what’s in the Agenda 21 Stocking: the bogus reports of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the university/universal science community’s man-made, climate control, global warming, one-climate-catastrophe-fits-all-scam, and the Endangered Species Act, to re-zone New Jersey and the country and steal property from every area in the United States. Property rights are one of the most important rights in America. Through property rights, individuals gain equity in their country. America is the richest land mass in the world with huge mineral, oil and coal reserves. Agenda 21 and its communist goal is to replace American law with United Nations law, something presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich favored.

Agenda 21 is the single master plan affecting our lives today as it addresses every aspect of our lives while infringing upon our American freedom. The UN Agenda 21 is the United Nation’s goal for “sustainable development”. The Race to the Top educational program promotes this agenda in the schools. While focusing on helping the environment, this message is clear. In order to complete its goals, the American middle class must be disenfranchised. Humans are considered the enemy of the planet. Destroying property rights will destroy individual rights. The US Constitution will literally become history, along with the American way of life.

In its place will be: social justice for the good of the collective, herding Americans into sustainable communities with strict government controls over every daily function. Although the Senate never ratified it, the Agenda 21 Treaty is U.S. taxpayer funded and is in force destroying America. Agenda 21 is being implemented in every town, community and school. What’s more it’s unconstitutional.

But let’s just examine how bad Agenda 21 is, New Jersey-style, Santa Dear. The New Jersey State Planning Commission issued a proposed final draft of the “State Strategic Plan: New Jersey’s State Development & Redevelopment Plan” on Oct. 11, 2011.

The Tea Party asked me to write about this piece of bureaucratic balderdash and write about it in my blog. They asked me for a “timely” response. With a government document, there’s no such thing as “timely”, however. And we’re just talking about the main document, to say nothing of the supporting documents, such as the Recommendations from the Governor’s Institute for Community Design. That should be a doozy.

Gov. Christie, recognizing that businesses (including my own company) have fled New Jersey as though the Black Plague had broken out, proposes entirely redeveloping the state along transit hub lines and herding the masses grazing in the far stretches of sprawling suburbia back towards the cities whose crime, high housing costs, and high taxes they fled.

I must own, Santa, that most mass-transit commuters in the far northern and western counties absolutely hate their long commutes into New York City. Still, that’s where the jobs for educated (too-educated) people are. Travelling to Newark, Jersey City, and Elizabeth, being so close to New York as they are, isn’t much better. On the whole, Manhattan, while it’s expensive, is at least safer (at least in Midtown).

Still, the NJSPC has this notion of refurbishing cities like Newark and Camden in the south and drawing back the working-class taxpayers back to the cities and first-ring suburbs and the companies to employ them. The state hopes to enlist the help of colleges and universities to keep sharp the minds and skills of the workforce. Finally, the state wants to reclaim and preserve New Jersey’s open spaces.

It’s hard to argue with the concept of suburban blight. Empty strip malls. Abandoned townhouse and housing developments. Flooded homes, both of the financial and Mother Nature variety. Traffic congestion everywhere. Rt. 287 is a blessing of a highway – until an accident happens or the Rockaway River overflows its banks. Unless you’re a long-time local and know all the roads between Mahwah and Morristown, you can get around it. If you’re just passing through, bring a book.

Who do we have to thank for the blight? Ourselves, in part. The largest blame, however, goes straight to good ol’ Uncle Sam himself. The Fed is a law unto itself, lower the interest rates which made the big McMansions attractive – and expensive. Meanwhile, the lower interest rates devastating our savings accounts. Bank of America had the nerve to charge me for servicing my savings account.

So here comes the State Development and Redevelopment Plan to save the day and the state. The document is full of three and four-syllable words and phrases: “sustainable economic growth”; “paradigm” (one of my favorites from here in public relations); “transition”. The Plan discusses incorporating “administrative actions, legislative and regulatory reforms, and public investment prioritization.” Endless pages of this stuff.

It talks happily of the preservation of “critical natural, agricultural, scenic, recreation, and historic resources” and then lowers the Big Government boom: “tactical alignment of government,” enabling “effective resource allocation, coordination, cooperation and communication among those who play a role in meeting the mission of this Plan.” Yes, the word “Plan” has a capital “P.” This, by the way, leave us, the taxpayers, out.

It talks about “predictability.” “The path and the answers offered by one Department/Agency will not conflict with those of another.” You vill obey!! “The State…will place value on the economic, social and environmental benefits of investing in areas where infrastructure already exists in an effort to control long-term costs of public services, reinvigorate existing communities, and protect important natural resources.” There’s that “control” word, not for the last time. The state will also “work with the private sector, higher education and all levels of government to ensure that State assets are leveraged in strategic locations.” During our company’s “transition,” I typed that word so many times for our “transition” that it’s one of those automatic words now.

“Implementation will be driven from the Executive Branch through a cabinet-level Steering Committee. Effective coordination will result from horizontal and vertical integration that breaks down silos, provides cross-cutting engagement, and leverages public and private resources for strategic alignment of policies, people and dollars.” Isn’t that a mouthful?

What that tangle of enormous words means is that all orders will come from the top, as in the military. Department supervisors will be tasked with checking one another, much as the person on the right side of a band makes sure everyone is in line with him while the drum major keeps everyone lined up front to back. “Engagement” means all bureaucrats must drink the kool-aid if they want to keep their tax-payer paid job. “Leveraged.” Oh, another of my favorite “transition” words. If I never have to type that word again. What it means, basically, is if you have enough money, you can get away with anything. Somewhere in this muddle of words they also talk about “breaking down silos.” That’s something we heard here at work a lot. In short, it means, “don’t even think about thinking for yourself or taking any initiative.”

The Plan goes on to talk about improving New Jersey’s “competitive position” to address “21st century trends and market realities”. The state plans to “balance” economic prosperity, physical development, resource conservation and quality of life “in a way that it can transcend (‘survive’) future changing dynamics.” Well, we haven’t done a very good job of it so far. Productive residents are fleeing the state; our students refuse to go to school here. We don’t have enough of a working population anymore. Yet, this committee feels that New Jersey will “chart a new course” to remaining competitive in the new global economy.

While they admit that “New Jersey struggles with high costs and unpredictability for development even in ‘smart’ locations (I live in one), creating higher financial and risk barriers, it’s policies for physical and economic growth have contributed to limiting options for existing businesses and residents to stay here and prosper. This paradigm is not sustainable and requires a new, strategic approach to planning for the State’s.” There’s that miserable, overused word “paradigm” again. All it really means is “example” or “model.” In this “paradigm,” it’s a social engineering word and one we should read with great alarm and dismay. It’s a word one uses when one is tinkering with something that doesn’t need to be tinkered with, or is being tinkered with by someone who shouldn’t be tinkering, like the government. It’s a Greek word and the social engineers hope it sounds Greek to you.

Just in case the bureaucrats – and the taxpayers – didn’t get the message about who’s in charge, The Plan reiterates again that its “coordinated and integrated approach” means “horizontal integration among State Departments and Agencies that regulate and influence land uses and provide incentives for development, land preservation, and infrastructure. The leadership to effectuate this change must and will come from the Executive Branch.” No legislation, no representation. Later on in the document, they promise that taxpaying residents will be seen and heard, but probably not listened to.

The government is no longer content to manage growth but to implement actual, physical change. Yet on the very next page, The Planner insist their plan is not a “top-down approach to force compliance with a statewide land-use plan,” “an additional layer of bureaucracy” (that’s where the “leveraging” comes in), or a substitute for local and/or regional comprehensive plans, nor will it take away local and/or planning and zoning authority.” Reading this “plan” reminded me of the scene in Tora, Tora, Tora!, where the Army generals were ordered not to engage in a first-strike against the Japanese. The assistant said the memo sounded like double-talk.

The next several pages are all about the wonders of New Jersey, with its “talented and well-educated workforce” which is at the moment, unemployed and preparing to leave the state, in the case of my company. I’m not going, but many others are following their company jobs out-of-state. I remember writing such a paper in the 5th grade and getting a C for writing a travelogue instead of a report about the 50 states.

In case you’re wondering, The Plan predates Gov. Christie by several years. “This process began in 2004. The Planners weep about how they had to overcome so many obstacles, such as competing public interests who were not interested in environmental protection or affordable housing. “The true magnitude of the pending economic crisis, housing issues, and budget constraints were either not full known or underestimated by policy makers at that time.”

Now we come to organizational names. This Plan comes to us courtesy of the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NJ Transit.

“Two growth scenarios were compared:

TREND (bad  ) – a continuation of current development traditions under “sprawl” conditions (their quote marks not mine)

PLAN (good  ) – implementation of the physical development strategies and policies that capitalized on existing infrastructures in areas ripe for development and redevelopment. Populations in urban communities would rise compared to TREND (bad) development patterns. Jobs and income in New Jersey’s cities, inner suburbs and rural towns would increase.

The study was based on the State Plan Policy map, “which was not intended to be a regulatory tool.” Still, the analysis is relevant, the Planners tell us, “because the physical development patterns assumed under the PLAN (good) scenario remain the same intended outcomes of this Plan.” What a coincidence!

Well, I shall not tax you readers with any more of their bureaucratic languages. It’s just more of the same old “cross acceptance,” “sustainable growth,” “consistent messages” (say the same lie over and over and people will begin to believe it), “planning areas” and “centers”.

The Plan depends on certain industry clusters for this “sustainable economic growth”: Big Pharmaceutical, Transportation, Finance, Advanced Manufacturing, Technology, and Health Care. You’ll notice that all of these are either wholly dependent upon the government (Transportation and Health Care), have government as their customers, or soon will have (Big Pharma, Finance, and Health), and/or are union organized (Transportation, Manufacturing and Health Care). Technology requires advanced degrees, which will help support those universities and colleges, mostly government-run, with which the government is so eager to partner with.

Since this is a Rutgers University/EPA Plan, Green Tech had to figure in this, and it does, on page 23, complete with all the unsustainable technologies they’re going to need the guys in the propeller beanies to justify spending taxpayer money on.

I’ve saved the best for last. The planned community, transit-hubs. Somehow, the state intends to “incentivize” homeowners and future residents to give up their suburban sprawl houses and move to apartments and condos in cities and first-ring suburbs. That’s a lot of people to crowd into only a few areas. The state wants us to consider taking mass transit, bicycling, or even walking to work. I’ll wait for you to get up from the floor where you’re rolling around laughing at the last two.

Gov. Christie should try walking or bicycling up Waughaw Mountain on Route 287 on a wintry day. He’s so fit and tan from wherever he vacations, it must be so sunny there, especially in the winter that he doesn’t realize what January in Jersey is really like. But that’s why he wants us to move closer to our jobs, so we won’t have to drive up and down that roller coaster of a highway.

The Plan insists that young people are interested in urban living. Yes, those just out of college, still used to the campus life, would be. Urban living isn’t so great when you factor in crime, higher food prices, and the difficulty of escaping your environment when you don’t have a car. Some people have no problem with that. They know how to play the mass transit game.

Mass transit carries inherent problems, though. The unionized labor, for one thing. Mass transit becomes ridiculously expensive when you add in the labor costs. If they go on strike, that means you’re not going anywhere. Inevitably, your taxes as well as your fares go up in order to subsidize them. The government also has a tendency to run out of money. When they do, which is often, they tend to cut down hours, and even lines, stranding the riders. Not enough people commute within New Jersey to make mass transit “sustainable” so they have to find a way to corral us into using it for something other than the trek to New York.

For commuting to New York City, mass transit really is the way to go. I would never drive there myself on a daily basis and didn’t when I worked in the city. NJ Transit has created very convenient transit hubs where commuters have big lots in which to park and then get on the train. They’ve made excellent use of the useless flood plains in Wayne for this purpose.

Mass transit within New Jersey, though, especially Northern New Jersey is problematic. Everyone (meaning residents) thinks a train line running from up around Oakland through Butler, Riverdale and Pompton Lakes and to points east would be great. A conservative friend was even working on a petition for it about ten years ago. The tracks are still there. Only why did they tear up the tracks leading south through Riverdale, Pompton Plains and Pequannock? They don’t need to sell us on the merits of mass transit to New York City. Build it and we will ride, especially if you lower the fares.

However, just what kind of mass transit do they figure on through New Jersey’s rolling hills? Do they plan on tunneling through the hills or do they plan on running more buses? Do you know why residents don’t want local mass transit? Because they don’t want the problems that ride up on the buses from the inner cities.

Willowbrook Mall in Wayne is one of those transit “hubs”. It’s been a hub of crime since it was built. Women don’t dare shop in that mall at night. As a woman, not for the life of me would I park my car there and ride to the city or anyplace else. I’m not sure I’d take my car down even to the Wayne Extension. Big parking lots are big problems for women and night comes pretty quickly in the winter.

Those young people Rutgers University dangles before us won’t stay in those cities once they have kids. City life doesn’t look so great when you have to walk your kids to school to keep the drug dealers and other lowlife from preying on them. It’s not that it can’t happen in the suburbs (it certainly can and does). But somehow, putting the kiddies on that school bus or piling them in the minivan is a better option.

Suburbanites also like their stuff. The closer they are to the city, the greater the likelihood that they’ll be robbed. Cars can be robbed from the suburbs, too. Just about every morning, I see one flying down Rt. 287. Saw one with New York plates this morning. You can tell because they weave in and out of the traffic. That’s why the choose the rush hour, because it’s harder for the cops to chase them and the hours between 7 and 8 are the shift change.

Don’t mistake the common suburbanite. They’d still be willing to live closer to the city. Only the richest homeowners will beat them to the property every time. The average worker can’t get closer to the city pricewise than say, Lincoln Park, which is in a flood plain. Bergen County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country. Any nearer and you can also count on being robbed because in between the outer suburbs and New York City are Paterson, Passaic, and Hackensack, to name just a few. Clifton is one of the few suburbanite havens for the lower middle class, but being on the Paterson border, they know they have to be careful.

That’s we live in the suburbs. But probably not for long. Gov. Christie has vowed to protect the Highlands. The Highlands Commission is a signatory to the Plan. Yet, for all their avowed concern for their environment and watershed land, they’re not too concerned to prevent development in the hills of West Milford, Ringwood and Wanaque. They’re all situated around the Wanaque Reservoir and they’re all slated for development. There’s already too much development in Haskell and Wanaque. The houses go right up the side of the Ramapo Mountains (they’re not high but they’re steep) and the governor and his crew want to build not just houses but apartment buildings.

Mom and I were riding along Ringwood Avenue on Sunday to go to Ringwood Manor for their Victorian Christmas (if anyone is interested in seeing an antique book collection, as well as antique rifles and muskets, Ringwood Manor has a great collections). As we drove through Haskell, she waved her hand and said, prophetically, “Very soon, all this is going to be apartment buildings. You’ll see. Just like in Yonkers. All of it. All these houses will be torn down.” We sighed and lamented over the deplorable traffic conditions of two-laned Ringwood Avenue, with no room to spare. The Plan didn’t detail how they’ll prevent people from owning cars, except to keep Ringwood Avenue the same, two-lane road until residents give up their automobiles in frustration. Might be nice if they built a proper sidewalk from the Hamburg Turnpike up into Haskell so people could actually walk! The Plan goes on and on about how “healthy” these changes will be. They even flirt with the notion of a Food Policy Panel.

There are laws my new, old supervisor exclaims. They can’t kick people out of their houses. They’re not going to kick his father out of his house in Clifton. We have laws! We have a Constitution! This is all crazy Conservative Conspiracy stuff! They can’t do this! It must be a mistake. This is all because you hate Obama. At least he nailed Osama! He’s an idiot otherwise, but at least he did the job in Afghanistan.

Apparently they can and intend to, if we read the language in this State Strategic Plan. My boss ought to recognize some of the language. He used such words himself in explaining away our company’s transition plan and how it was all for the good of the company and our customers. Leverage and strategize. That’s his title, in fact. He’s a strategist. No one but myself thought they’d close this building down, but they are (I had insider info). Consumers and business drive the economy, he exclaimed further, not the government. The Tea Partier in him started to come out but then he remembered himself and told me to calm down and not get excited about all this.

I don’t know about getting excited about it, but just as my company emptied out this building slowly, right under the noses of the Media and our own employees, the government could do the same thing. After all, if all you do, if all you can do or are allowed to do, is sit at your desk and type all day long, you’ll never be the wiser for what’s going on. Only the occasional photographer wandering around the building (on assignment) will notice that this department disappeared about two years ago or that department vanished two months ago. Our building is gigantic and you can only appreciate the vast emptiness if you actually walk around.

By the same tack, it takes someone keeping an eye on the Internet to realize that Agenda 21 even exists, listening to Glenn Beck and reading Ann Coulter’s column to know that Newt Gingrich is a Big Government progressive. You have to go to Tea Party meetings to find out about the DVD called “The Agenda.” Scary stuff. But who has time for all that? At work, you don’t dare breathe a word to your neighbor, not knowing which side of the aisle they vote on. If they’re on the Left, they’ll report you to Human Resources for harassing them. We blog in secret and surreptitiously e-mail the reports to fellow Think Alikes.

The Plan is scanty on details. But clearly, they intend a property redistribution at some point. Let the homeowner beware of Smart Communities. It works for me, a single condo owner with no kids; I guarantee, it’s not going to work for you family types and seniors who worked hard to own your own homes.

Santa, leave a great, big, earth-polluting hunk of coal in Agenda 21’s stocking, please!

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment