In the face of Agenda 21, Cobb opts out of ARC program
by Nikki Wiley
July 31, 2013 12:25 AM | 5613 views | 8 8 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Cobb Board of Commissioners has told a regional agency it will not meet the top guidelines that some critics believe come straight from the Agenda 21 filing cabinet of the United Nations.

Commissioners were presented with two options by the Atlanta Regional Commission last spring for meeting a January 2014 deadline that involves obtaining federal money. One option is to comply with the minimum standards put out by the ARC. The other is to go the extra mile and get a “certification of excellence.” Maintaining compliance is tied to the county’s status as a “qualified local government,” a designation that can make the difference when applying for federal grants.

“There are certain grants and loans that are tied to that so if a community doesn’t maintain their qualified local government status then they can lose funding from those particular loans and grants,” said Dana Johnson, county planning manager.

To be considered “excellent,” the ARC told local governments they should offer bilingual services for non-English speakers, promote community gardens and ensure pedestrian and bicycle access in and around bus stops.

Cobb opted for the minimum standards that Johnson says are already being done, such as researching the transportation needs of drivers and pedestrians.

Maintaining those standards won’t cost the county any extra money, he said.

“There’s nothing that’s on the excellence list that is not Agenda 21 in spades,” said Bill Hudson of Marietta, a former board member of the Georgia Tea Party, referring to a United Nations initiative encouraging “smart growth” – a type of development that promotes “sustainable communities.”

This involves “non-motorized transportation” options such as bike paths and sidewalks, and clusters of high-density housing around rail or bus lines. Advocates of the approach say it’s smart to develop communities in a way that depends less on automobiles and creates fewer carbon emissions, with Amsterdam and other European cities serving as the model.

Tea party groups nationwide see the Agenda 21 concept as an enemy of private property rights and the curtailment of the automobile as the primary source of transportation in America.

Hudson said he’s glad the commission didn’t choose to pursue so-called excellence standards but still finds fault with the regional commission and the way compliance is tied to funding. He sees the minimum standards as a sort of “Agenda 21 light” and calls on the county to wean itself from federal grants.

“The counties, the cities, the state government, the school boards, they’re all just hooked on grant money like crack cocaine,” Hudson said.

Cobb shouldn’t take federal grant money, Hudson said, and should live within its own budget.

“The strings that are attached are nothing that anybody wants,” he said of the grants.

Susan Stanton of Kennesaw, who is also involved in the tea party movement, agrees.

“They’ve got to stop listening to the American Planning Association (which represents regional planners) that has an alternative agenda and start listening to residents,” Stanton said.

She maintains the ARC’s goal is to promote more urban-like living in concentrated areas and questions if the ARC is needed.

“There are very few issues that concern all 10 counties that are represented in the ARC,” Stanton said. The commission represents metro Atlanta counties extending from Cherokee County on the north to Henry and Fayette counties on the south.

Who’s calling the shots?

Cobb Chairman Tim Lee says the excellence standards just didn’t make sense.

“The excellence standards would require a lot more money to be spent with very little return on investment,” he said.

Still, he says the ARC doesn’t make local policy decisions. The Board of Commissioners does.

“Anyone that says the ARC is trying to come in and run our government is not up on the facts,” Lee said.

The county takes advantage of grants to move important projects along, he said. Grants can fund anything from road improvements to park development to community centers.

It’s true the county stays in the regional agency’s good graces to be eligible for grants, Lee said, but the county doesn’t follow direction from the group on a whim.

“If it makes sense to accommodate it, we do,” Lee said.
Comments
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Wide Awake
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August 02, 2013
Anyone who makes fun of Agenda 21 is only fooling themselves. You need to buy a copy of it......in fact, it can be purchased from Amazon.com for a mere $2,000.....this for a 1,000 page document. Do you think the U.N. doesn't want anyone to read about the evil that is in this document? You bet!!
cozz
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August 01, 2013
are we not or own nation? Why in the world would we take direction from the UN regarding city planing and then tie that compliance up with federal funding/grants ?Great forward thinking by the City!
Cobb ain't Atlanta
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July 31, 2013
Here's to Tim Lee. Stop Agenda 21. Tell ARC to take a hike. The failed TSPLOST sent a clear message that ARC is out of touch. Cobb ain't Atlanta, and Cobb don't need no stinkin' badges.
Eric S
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July 31, 2013
I got to get the hell out of Cobb county.
hammerlibiots
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July 31, 2013
"Just Wait" and ITCWAOAA are not very bright. Federal loans and grants always have strings attached and a community is better off learning to operate within their means anyway. I guess JW & ITC just can't help but wet their panties when the words "tea party" are mentioned.
Just Wait
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July 31, 2013
Any surprise that the people picked to be interviewed for this article are associated with the tea party? They say we should not take grant money and live within our means. Unless that also means fewer police to answer their false alarms, more crumbling roads and longer lines to get their tags. Then they demand more. Just take it from south Cobb, they don't need it.
Wide Awake
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August 02, 2013
Just Wait............do you have any idea of the strings (massive strings) that come attached to federal grants? Educate yourself before you start making unreasonable comments.
ITCWAOAA
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July 31, 2013
It's the Civil War all over again, again!

The only relevant question regarding the ARC's concept of excellence is whether or not it is excellent.

However, the local Tea (Lo-T) people believe the ideas to be associated with ... THE MAN. The ideas simply HAVE to be bad, because the Lo-T guys resent THE MAN.

Never mind whether the ideas are good or not. THE MAN said them, so they're bad!

It's just like Common Core.. Who cares if it's a good or bad concept. "IT'S THE MAN TRYING TO TAKE OUR FREEDOMS," said the paranoid Lo-T guys, and that's all that matters. Get yer guns! They's a comin' to take our freedumz!
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