Jonesboro Controversy With Agenda 21/Housing & Transportation

Jonesboro Sun published a front page article on "City officials address Agenda 21 concerns, quoting city officials' Mayor and MPO Director, and a concerned citizen, Bob Hester, the writer of this document. I responded to the article to the city Council members in an email, contents below.  The Jonesboro Vision 2030 has not been adopted YET. You may want to read the bullet points on the article below before reading this email to understand why I made these points.

To City Council: In regard to Agenda 21 newspaper article in Sunday's Jonesboro Sun , Sept. 23, that references me.

As I was quoted as saying in the newspaper article in Sunday's paper, I do not believe that city council members or the Mayor are knowingly implementing Agenda 21. But I am not sure about some other officials. 

However, to know whether you are indeed implementing Agenda 21 or not, you would have to become familiar with the Agenda 21 Sustainable Plan and familiar with the Jonesboro Vision 2030 Plan (700 pages) and the J-QUAD Jonesboro Comprehensive Housing Study (323 pages).   The draft for the Jonesboro Vision 2030 Plan was only finished August 31, and  city council members did not even know it was available until about September 15.  How many citizens would have time to study this much material so they could have input into city planning?  So how can it be called local?

And how can Jonesboro Vision 2030 be called local when the city council members, who represent the people, have never even seen the Jonesboro Vision?  And how can it be local when the Jonesboro Vision 2030 Plan is based on the 323 pages of the consultant's study (J-QUAD) who does plans for cities across the nation and specializes in  Comprehensive plans designed to leverage the most grants - the Feds buy our compliance (control)  with grant money - our tax money.  Jonesboro Vision 2030 contains this quote: "Hundreds of state and federal agencies manage grant programming and/or legislative earmarks (funding directives) which can be utilized to complete projects."  Quote from Jonesboro Vision 2030, Chapter 13, page 38 (approximate page number)

Agenda 21 is based on deception. The Sun article states that any perceived link between Agenda 21 and terms like "smart growth" is a  fabrication, according to the American Planning Association.   Note this quote from a UN website:  "Participating in a UN-advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals...would actively work to defeat any elected official who  joined 'the conspiracy' by undertaking LA21 (Local Agenda 21) So we call our process something else such as comprehensive planning, growth management, or smart growth." (emphasis added) Smart Growth is so well established as part of Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development, that it was surprising to us that they would even deny it. 

Mr. Ulkarim is quoted as saying that he had never heard of Agenda 21 before mid to late 2010 in a comment session.  However, November 15, 2010,  Mr. Ulkarim is on record as saying the opposite at a public planning MPO meeting.  A person in the audience asked this question:  Is this planning for the next number of year connected to Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development?  Ulkarim answered, "Oh, yes, Mr. Ewart with JETS can tell you about that."  Steve Ewart is on record as saying that same night that not only our children and grandchildren but the people in the audience, most of them senior citizens, would be riding bicycles and walking rather than driving cars. If you read the Jonesboro Vision 2030 Plans, you can believe that without any problem.

As for as the control aspect, check out these quotes in the Jonesboro Vision 2030 that I was able to read after the document was posted on the web.  Everything in green is a quote from Jonesboro Vision 2030. Emphasis added. For brevity, I tried to pick some short quotes that would show the control. The more you read the more conclusive and clear these points become.  Page numbers given are approximate since there are no page numbers on the 700 pages.

The City of Jonesboro is committed to adopting a complete streets ordinance...Action TR 12.8.1 reads, Adopt a complete streets ordinance.  A complete street includes lanes for pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, and public transportation all in one street. A quote from their Complete Street website:  "Complete Streets fight climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil by providing transportation choices and allowing people to leave the car at home."  (A bill was introduced in Congress in 2009 to require Complete streets but failed to get passed  (S. 584 / H.R. 1443).   The gov’t actually mandated that sidewalks built with any federal funds had to be cleared of snow. for quote on complete streets and  ,  Chapter 12, page 33, for Jonesboro Vision 2030 quote.

Increasingly people argue that "if only government would get out of the way" our communities and businesses would thrive. In reality, however, it is through government (federal, state and especially local) that key strategies are envisioned, defined and enacted. [Big government is applauded – where you have big government, you have big control] Chapter 13, Economic Development, page 19 


Strip development is avoided by encouraging the creation of a number of "village centers," termed mixed use activity centers, at certain locations throughout Jonesboro. Activity centers are intended to be mixed-use nodes/campus-style developments, having commercial, office, institutional, and high-density residential uses clustered together in a pedestrian-friendly, village-like manner. [Same thing radical environmentalist Dan Burden promotes - who said cities should be built to pedestrian scale and built so that you did not need a car to get around the city]   Chapter 10 -  Physical Element Development


Assure access to healthy foods and grocery stores; limit fast food establishments and allow drive-through service only in places where it is in the community’s best interests to have passersby shopping without turning off their engines.  Chapter 4 –


Develop public policies to make healthy foods more readily available to community...zoning to limit the number of fast food restaurants in overburdened locations including public schools...Pedestrian and bike routes—trails, walking paths, school tracks;

Chapter 4 – Health Element


Mandatory elements such as land use, open space, and transportation, as well as urban design requirements, can impact [impact is euphemism for control] food access, physical activity, housing choice and affordability, school locations, social equity, transportation choices, clean water and air.  Chapter 4 Health


Jonesboro's elected and appointed city officials are committed to comprehensive land use planning and overall development of Jonesboro.


Implementation of the City of Jonesboro Comprehensive Housing and Neighborhood Plan will require a partnership between the City, private sector, and nonprofit community along with an energized community in order to be successful. The City Community Development Office, Planning Department and Jonesboro Urban Renewal and Housing Authority will provide leadership in implementing the strategies and recommendations in the plan.   This will include...enacting public policy and regulatory changes in support of the various initiatives.  Chapter 11, page 121.


Jonesboro Visions 2030 incorporates Smart Growth principles, saying, "New residential areas will be encouraged as "villages" involving mixing of uses, pedestrian  scale. and unifying design.   Chapter 1 General Profile (Introduction) 


The Environmental Committee of Vision 2030 urges the City to view environmental goals as equally important to goals and priorities related to economic development.   [EPA control welcomed]

Chapter 5 – Environmental


The Land Use Plan provides strong support for transit-friendly development encouraging compact development with good walkability to help the city of Jonesboro maximize the efficiency of our municipal transit system.


Compact development can:  foster the emergence of vibrant, walkable communities; conserve land by accommodating more people in less space, support transportation alternatives; reduce household expenses related to transportation and energy.  What Is Compact Development? Successful compact development is a land use settlement pattern that features:  concentrations of population and/or employment; medium to high densities, a mix of land uses.  Chapter 10 -


Compare this quote in red font from the UN Agenda 21 to the quote from Jonesboro Vision 2030  "The objective is to provide...trough land use so as to ensure access to land to all households and...the encouragement of communally and collectively owned and managed land."  [That's total socialism]


Jonesboro Vision 2020 Policy 1.3 states: – "Promote equitable access for all residents to appropriate housing of their choice regardless of race, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, gender, familial status, age, physical or mental disabilities, income or source of income. "    [No responsibility on part of people being provided housing.  That too is total socialism. And regardless of national origin could apply to providing housing for illegal aliens.  According to JURHA eligibility requirements at the present time, one person in the family need only to DECLARE (not prove- just declare) he is a citizen to become eligible for public assistance.]  Jonesboro Vision 2030,Chapter 11, page 124

The above is just one example of  quote after quote from UN Agenda and Jonesboro Vision 2030 that could be compared like this. 

I do ask that you please study this material carefully and don't adopt this measure that will tie your hands in the future.  Our city is depending on you. If I have left out any documentation or if you have questions, please email me at

Bob Hester

 Jonesboro Sun front page story Sunday, September 23 with this title: " City officials address Agenda 21 concerns"

Article Facts by the reporter in the story

City Official Statements

Citizen of Jonesboro, Bob Hester Statements

This is the link to the full story, but it won't be available now and would have been available only to subscribers to the Sun.

Posted by Women Action Group  September 27, 2012