From the June 20, 2012 edition
By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer
The county’s General Plan Update has been criticized as the outcome of a global initiative that began in the United Nations and is now being manipulatively carried out in communities across the country.
That argument has been advanced by Karen Brooks, the challenger in the recent Third District supervisors election and Kay Backer, the representative of the HELP developers group, who wrote a May 10 My Word guest opinion in the Times-Standard newspaper titled “Look Out for Hand of the U.N. in County Planning Process.”
It’s been ridiculed as a farfetched conspiracy theory by some but Backer, whose guest opinion suggested that the county’s public process has relied on mind control techniques, said it’s an opinion shared by the people she associates with.
Her piece quotes Rosa Kiore, author of the book “Behind the Green Mask: U.N. Agenda 21,” on the Delphi Technique, which Kiore describes as a “Cold War mind control technique” that’s used to channel a group of people to accept a point of view that is imposed on them while convincing them that it was their idea.”
For some who’ve been involved in the General Plan Update (GPU) process, Kiore’s description has the ring of truth. “The members of HELP have been living that experience,” Backer said in an interview.
Brooks has also commented on “meeting manipulation” as it relates to Agenda 21, an encompassing U.N. initiative that was introduced in 1992 and promotes sustainable development and economic equality. She noted that President George H.W. Bush signed onto it.
“This isn’t a right/left, liberal/conservative thing,” she continued. “The idea is that they’re taking people out of rural lands and putting them into urban areas – they’re limiting our choices.”
Focusing new development in urbanized, utility-serviced areas is a recommended strategy of the GPU, as is reducing car use and driving distances by locating new housing near jobs and commercial services. Brooks said the GPU’s Climate Action Plan is based on the directives of the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), an Agenda 21-related global association of governments that supports smart growth and sustainable development.
“There’s enough connection that it should cause people to pause,” she said. Asked how she’d respond to those who’d brush it off as a conspiracy theory, Brooks responded, “It’s a conspiracy but it’s not a theory.”
At the June 12 Board of Supervisors meeting, Brooks asked why Supervisors Mark Lovelace and Clif Clendenen signed on to ICLEI after they were elected but before they took office. Humboldt County is listed as one of ICLEI’s member governments.
Lovelace, who Brooks challenged in the recent election, said he and Clendenen were clearly listed as supervisors-elect when they signed on and they did so as individuals.
Before he was elected, Lovelace was a leader of the Healthy Humboldt Coalition, which is considered as HELP’s alter ego. He said he was at GPU scoping meetings beginning more than a decade ago and disagrees that they were manipulative.
He described the allegations as “unsupported scare tactics” and added, “To say we’re in lockstep with the U.N. on cold war mind control techniques – I’m not going to validate that ridiculous assertion.”
Lovelace also questioned why sustainability would be considered objectionable. “The earth has finite resources and we should be aware of the consequences of our actions as human beings – if that’s a radical notion, then so be it,” he said.
Asked about the influence of Agenda 21, Martha Spencer, the county’s Interim Planning Director, said that “I’ve never read it and I can’t even begin to comment on it because I don’t know what it is.”
She said the only meetings that were facilitated were 2004’s series of Deliberative Dialogues meetings sponsored by the Humboldt Area Foundation. The GPU includes policies that favor mixed use development in urban areas but Spencer pointed out that it also makes room for additional rural development.
“The amount of developable parcels is included in the Environmental Impact Report and we think there’s plenty available in the rural lands,” she said.
Spencer added, “My question to Kay Backer would be, ‘What is wrong with a sustainable community?’”
“Smart growth is a buzz word and it’s what everybody wants us to do but in a rural community like Humboldt, it just doesn’t work,” Backer said. “For a metropolitan area, it makes sense and infill makes sense, but trying to do social engineering is not this country’s system.”