Presentation at 2nd Hearing Jonesboro Vision 2030

by Debbie Pelley


Agenda 21 Is Using Same Pattern To Gain Government Control of our Cities As They Used in Educational Reforms to Control Our Schools  (see last 2 paragraphs)


Most people in Jonesboro and the state would agree that Jonesboro is a vibrant, growing, great city in which to live.  Jonesboro is the result of a capitalistic, private enterprise system - built by the people, not the government.


Implementing Jonesboro Vision 2030 would greatly squash the successful capitalistic, private enterprise system, and would result in government control.  Most of us know how successful the government has been in running the post office, social security, Medicare and on and on which are all now broke and running on borrowed money.  


Even though Vision 2030 states in several places that it is a citizen driven plan, there is much information to indicate Vision 2030 is a government control plan and does not reflect the people's values.


Vision 2030 actually applauds government control saying, "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." Almost every recommendation in Vision 2030 depends in full or in part on federal or state grants for financing.


Most citizens don't want their taxes, even federal ones, going to endeavors that are used to control them as Vision 2030 does.   


For example, Vision 2030 recommends the need to use proactive zoning to move people into higher density, compact housing, called urban development.  "This Future Land Use Plan is very different from prior plans. The following features make it unique:  This Future Land Use Plan has a very strong emphasis on urban design."  Urban design is - where "people live, work, shop, and play" in a pedestrian-friendly, village-like manner."  These principles can be found in almost every document that advocates for Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development.


Vision 2030 even points out that residential permits have been extremely low in the inner city areas and growth has occurred in the outlying areas of Jonesboro.  There is a reason for that - people don't want to live in high-density areas.


Vision 2030 also points out that the highest crime rates are in the high-density areas. So why is the city trying to push people back into these areas with all kinds of grants and maneuvers like proactive zoning, incentivized zoning, mixed land use, and land management through regulations? 


Higher density is used at least six times, mixed land use at least 15 times and mixed income housing several times in the Housing chapter alone in Jonesboro Vision 2030.  Zoning is used 16 times - different kinds of zoning, higher density zoning, inclusionary zoning, proactive zoning, incentivized zoning and Regulations, regulatory or regulate about 20 times.   


How is Vision 2030 is going to accomplish the following without government control:  Quote: "The Johnson Avenue corridor itself must be reclaimed for commercial, residential, retail and restaurants...Replace the current dilapidated retail commercial and residential buildings that line the commercial corridor and neighborhood streets." Just how is the city going to reclaim property and replace buildings in this area without significantly using eminent domain or trampling on people's property rights?


Other government intervention discussed in Vision 2030: 


Quote: "Increase Homeownership Initiatives...Nationally HUD has set a home ownership goal of 65%. Jonesboro has 56.7% home ownership but "The African American rate was 17.5%."  Remember the HUD goal is 65% - long way to go.  Following are a few of the ways Vision 2030 intends to increase home ownership.

* Assistance for down payments,

* creating entrepreneurs in low income areas by helping finance low-income businesses

* Targeting federal funding toward low income e communities

* Increasing community revitalization   (even though it hasn't worked in the downtown area where it has been tried. ED - 35

*Decreasing size of some housing units to as small as 450 to 600 square feet.


And the final one:

Promote equitable access for all residents to appropriate housing of their choice regardless of...income or source of income.  HOU-124


Another element connected with housing for low-income neighborhoods and revitalization is quote:  "expansion of nonprofit...resources engaged in...activities that "affirmatively further fair housing." 


Nonprofit organizations are extremely important to revitalization. Nonprofits are named 38 times in Chapter 27 of UN Agenda 21 and 22 times in Chapter 11 of Vision 2030.  And the nonprofit organizations promoting the principles like higher density urban development and walkable neighborhoods will be the nonprofits that get the support and financial help from the government.


The Jonesboro Vision 2030 has five pages outlining the plan to "Establish a long-term, dedicated funding source for the downtown organization," even naming the director and setting up the yearly celebration, - even though 2030 says these downtown revitalizations across the nation have not been successful.  Downtown Jonesboro has received a commitment of $105 thousand from city taxes through A & P.   Many other nonprofit organizations would like to have that amount of money and could run their VOLUNTARY-OPERATED organization for several years on that $105 thousand.  


This is all government intervention and not people, nor private enterprise oriented.  And by the way the low income citizens  2030 & Agenda 21 are supposedly helping, will wind up being the first ones to live in the high density, cramped housing, crime ridden areas and walking, biking or riding transit to work because the areas where they live are the areas targeted first for these reforms.  That's the way government usually works! With lots of unintended consequences.


I have in my hand  a Confidential grant we were able to get hold of early in the educational reformation back in the 90's that basically spearheaded all our national educational reforms. Arkansas was one of the first players, being partners along with the state of New York, Vermont, Washington & Kentucky in that grant.  Their goal was to break the education mold. A quote from this grant says, "Breaking the mold means breaking this system, root and branch." The grant says, "It will require a change in the prevailing culture - the attitudes, values, norms and accepted ways of doing things."  


They have a section in this grant called "How We Plan To Do It."  They say, "We will know that we have succeeded when our approach to education sets the norms, frames the attitudes and defines the accepted ways of doing things." It took them over 20 years, but they finally succeeded.  And now we have a national curriculum controlled by our President's administration. Practically no one knew about this confidential grant and their plans to break the mold and how they planned to transform education. This is what is happening with Agenda 21.  It is not a law nor is it mandatory; it just has all the powers that be behind it and their principles are becoming the accepted ways of doing things. 


Posted February 1, 2013