Have professional consultants descended on your town and “facilitated” meetings to “envision” more “vibrancy” in your downtown?
If we’d been paying attention, we might have noticed that Al
Gore, while using highly controversial—some say spurious—evidence to sell us
on the notion of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, leapt to a rather
curious and drastic solution: the “wrenching transformation” of America.
That’s wrenching, as in “to pull or twist someone or something suddenly and violently,” and transformation, as in “a radical change”…whether for better or worse. After all, with the US clocking in at only 4.5% of the world’s population, even if Americans traded their beloved cars for skateboards, this would hardly make a difference in the earth’s climate. No, this was never about cooling off supposed planetary fever. It was about grinding America down into an oppressed, de-industrialized nation.
So how do you “wrench” the world’s foremost free and prosperous nation into a downtrodden, virtually third-world status? In a word, sneakily.
You do it by creating Orwellian terminology to hoodwink the public into accepting new paradigms that lower peoples’ standard of living and impinge on their freedoms. You use incrementalism, changing things ever so slightly, little by little. (Think of the proverbial unsuspecting frog in the gradually heating pot of water.)
You do it by forcing cities to march to a new drumbeat as you quietly alter their zoning laws and land use policies, striking surreptitiously at the heart of property ownership and individual rights.
Take your own city. Have professional consultants descended on your town and “facilitated” meetings to “envision” more “vibrancy” in your downtown? Was the outcome a new Specific Plan or “Gateway Project” with new zoning laws permitting substantially higher density because the “consensus” reached during the “visioning” favored the “vibrancy” of multistory, mixed-use, high-density housing projects adjacent to rail or bus lines? What a coincidence! That happened in my town, too.
And perhaps, once the precedent of urbanized, higher density development had been set in your heretofore tranquil suburb, it became time to “update” the town’s General Plan for “consistency” with your new “Specific Plan.” Get the idea?
In fact, much of the wrenching transformation we are now facing is being presented to us under the seemingly innocuous guise of the “update.” For this is not only being applied to General Plans, but to Housing Elements, and Zoning Ordinances as well. We might say the cancer of the wrenching transformation that began in our Specific Plans soon metastasized to cover our whole city.
But it did not stop there.
Here in California, much of said transformation is being inflicted on us via newly powerful regional boards. Again, as with the supposedly innocuous “updates” of pre-existing city planning documents, these regional boards existed for decades without doing harm, so why be concerned about them now? Why indeed! Seemingly overnight, these boards of unelected, non-representational bureaucrats began to dictate to the residents/citizens/voters all over the Bay Area, precisely in the manner of Soviet councils imposing top-down, central planning agendas on a disenfranchised citizenry. The now-hated though innocent-sounding boards ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) and MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission), in spite of vehement public opposition, passed their infamous Plan Bay Area last summer. This Plan will compel people to live in high-density multi-story stack-and-pack housing projects in narrow “transit corridors” and drastically curtail driving, all for the “good of the planet.”
Plan Bay Area also creates Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs—these guys love acronyms), which comprise the majority of Bay Area lands, and woe to those who live in such newly designated areas. Their property rights are no longer worth the paper they are printed on. For, ominously, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is in the process of “updating” the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). And from here, anything goes—very likely including swaps (OK, pun intended, but you can bet they thought of it first). For example, your backyard may be deemed essential to the well-being of long-toed salamanders, so off you go into a cramped apartment in a high-rise near the train, the better to leave the salamanders in peace.
Here is a telling quote from the CDFW pertaining to the update in question: “The conservation strategies take into consideration the relationship between the biology and ecology of the natural environment, together with the social, economic, political and institutional systems that may affect the habitats being conserved.” So the priority is the “habitat” for reptiles, fish and assorted predatory and other animals, trumping the rights of property owners, i.e. people/residents/voters/American citizens/human beings.
And what does the CDFW seek to accomplish? To “create a common vision (that word again) for fish and wildlife conservation in California,” and to “update species at risk, vulnerable species and species of greatest conservation need lists,” among other things. By the way, the other things will apparently include a huge, statewide land-grab by means of claiming that most of the land in California is necessary for “conservation” purposes—the lizards and minnows again. Interestingly, Stalin didn’t find it necessary to rationalize his “land reforms” so that the peasants would quietly accept the State confiscation: he just starved them to death. But then the Ukrainian peasants would have surely seen through such ruses as “species protection” or “biodiversity” arguments and continued to fight against collectivization of their lands.
Of course, it couldn’t happen here…or could it?
Cherie Zaslawsky is a writer/editor/educator who lives in California. After many years as an unquestioning liberal Democrat, she woke up to reality, and hopes to help others do likewise.