By Freedom Advocates Staff
Posted on August 1, 2003
WSAU Transcript: Smart Growth
7 November 2002
Panel and callers discuss: Cases where citizens have resisted, and defeated Sustainable Development / Smart Growth programs; Individual and property rights written into the Constitution; How Sustainable Development programs are being implemented by a soviet system — a system of councils that report to the “apex council”.
[PAT] All right. Welcome back to “Sound Off Central Wisconsin”. A very good program here, talking about, well… the control of the land, the property. With Clark Palmer — the Committee for Fairness in Law, also from that committee — Bill Elmhorst, and Michael Shaw from Santa Cruz, California — part of the founding of a group Freedom 21. And let’s head back to the phone lines now, as patiently holding from Schofield… Sarah, good morning.
[CALLER: SARAH] Good morning Pat. Good morning gentlemen. Just to give them a background about why I’m calling, what my ideas are, I was on the Schofield City Council and Mayor for a total of twenty-two years (Mayor ten and a half). I’ve been on the County Board for twenty years. I am on the Comprehensive Planning Committee for Marathon County, representing my city.
[PAT] So you’re one of them then…
[CALLER: SARAH] Oh you bet, I guess I’m one of them… oh gosh. I don’t know. I’m a rebel, you know that Pat. I say what I think and I try to do what I think is the best. And I’m trying to listen to this as ultimately as possible but I have to disagree. I think that in listening to the gentleman from California who talked about the red part of the law, and I think he’s misinterpreting some of the words and the terms, and adding innuendo to what is actually being said. And I have to concur with what Ed said, he said “we as the county”. He didn’t mean WE as THE county, he meant we as those of us who are doing — who are part of the county. I am part of the county. Every citizen in Marathon County is part of this county. I don’t want any of my rights or anyone else’s rights to be taken away. I don’t want someone dictating to me, but I do want something done so that we do have planning.
I know of an instance in a township in Marathon County where a farmer sold off part of his property. Someone came in from the local municipalities, was not a farm person, built a home, and then proceeded to complain because the farmer’s cows smelled and the roosters crowed in the morning!
You can’t have that. I don’t want an industrial park in an adjoining municipality built next to where I have a school and children, and have semi-(trucks) going through. We have to work together. This comprehensive planning is to work together so that we don’t have mismatches. So that we don’t have utter and complete chaos in our country. We can’t have chaos. We have to have some assemblage of order. If everybody went about doing everything they wanted we wouldn’t have any laws to control anything. There would be no zoning and we all know zoning has been in place for ages. It’s done so that you can have some kind of development, you can have the economic development that was just mentioned.
We don’t want the government telling the people what to do. We want people to tell the government what to do. That’s what happens here on a regular basis. I’m not sure about California, but with their propositions I thought that’s what was happening in California as well! That their propositions — 21, or 16, or 18, or whatever they have — are telling the government “we’re not going to accept this!” We don’t want to accept this in Wisconsin either and we don’t want to accept this in Marathon County. We want to have some planning, we want to have some cooperation, we want to have some working together. We don’t want to take away your rights.
I’ve been on that committee, I’m on my planning committee for my municipality as well. And as mayor I was the head of that planning committee. I don’t see that we have ever tried to take anyone’s rights away. We have tried to work with people, we’ve tried to be more then fair, we’ve tried to do economic development, we’ve tried to bring people in, saying “what can we do as a comprehensive plan for our municipality that will help lower the tax rates, that will keep us in a good environment, that will give us all the things we have, all the recreation we have, but will also bring economic development?” Every municipality wants that. I don’t understand where you’re coming from in saying that we’re trying to control people?! We’re not, we’re trying to get people interested, to get involved. We’re not Russia.
[PAT] Okay, hold it! Take a breath! ([SARAH] (chuckle) — Okay Pat.).
[BILL] Can I respond? ([PAT] Yes). Well, first of all Sarah says she doesn’t want to lose land rights or rights — well if you don’t want to lose rights then you better run from this here comprehensive planning, because it does take rights away. You gave us your one example: a farmer sold some land, but you didn’t explain the solution! Because the problem created — the farmer sold the land, somebody built by it and some roosters crowed. So what is the answer then — that farmers then cannot sell land? Or that you can’t have roosters? Or that you can’t build in the country? I would say that most of the [SG] material I’ve looked at is to do as Mr. Shaw has stated, and that is to not allow “urban sprawl”. You don’t allow people to live in the country. So you end up with (just) farmers who don’t care when the rooster crows in the morning.
[MICHAEL] No I didn’t say that. No, I think if a person wants to build a house on their property that’s fine. If there’s a conflict between neighbors it’s up to the neighbors to work it out — it’s not a governmental affairs issue.
[CALLER: SARAH] And I agree, it’s not a government (issue), but the government ends up getting involved because… ([MICHAEL] Only because you choose to be.) Oh no, because the guy who built this house went to the town board and said “you’ve got to do something about this!”
[MICHAEL] And you say to him, “if you have a nuisance violation that is actionable under common law, then go down to a judge and have the judge issue an order.” ([SARAH] — And what is the judge going to do?) But you won’t get a judge to issue that order because it’s not a common law violation. ([SARAH] — So what’s the judge going to do then?). The judge is going to dismiss it, and you know… move if you don’t like where you chose to live.
[CALLER: SARAH] Do you want the courts to decide what happens in our municipalities? I don’t want the courts to decide. I don’t want a judge standing up there when I can have several people deciding. When you have comprehensive planning you have a planning commission. You have all sorts of citizens sitting in on that, as opposed to a person who may have a agenda.
[MICHAEL] Here’s the reason. You can certainly end up with regulation that codifies common law. You can do that. The problem though, when you open it to a free-for-all vote on “who gets to win”, is that you have taken away the essence of individuality and private property. Now, if you’ve got a dispute between neighbors, they work it out themselves.
[BILL] Sarah, you said that you don’t want a judge determining how you’re going to live. You’d rather have a planning commission determine how you’re to live, and we’ve said that we would rather have the individuals determine how they live. So I think that there’s quite a difference between what we’re saying and what you’re saying.
[CALLER: SARAH] I want the individual to have the right, but I don’t want a person to make that determination. ([MICHAEL] A person is doing it in accordance with the law!) I would rather have the planning done by a group of people who are working together in that municipality with their neighbors, as opposed to someone who may come in from “Timbuktu” to make a determination on what happens with my municipality. I don’t want to have the thing with the judge coming in who is appointed by someone who may not know a thing. ([MICHAEL] Who follows the law). Not necessarily. ([MICHAEL] And the reality is this would not go to court…) I disagree with what you’re saying about the judges. There is so much innuendo. We’re trying to do this in an orderly fashion, we’re trying to make people understand, we’re trying to get people to work together, to have municipalities talking to each other. There have been years where municipalities don’t talk to each other.
[MICHAEL] How do municipalities talk to each other unless they’re represented by some sort of board? What we’re doing is creating little feudal serfdoms here.
[CALLER: SARAH] We have serfdoms right now where each municipality thinks they’re their own little serfdom. And they don’t talk to their neighbors and they go ahead and do something that has a negative impact on their neighbors, and you can’t do that. You know that and I know that, and that is why you have comprehensive planning! So that people will come together and their groups are like Marathon County!
[MICHAEL] Well George Washington said, “Government is not reason, and government is not persuasion… ([SARAH] — George Washington’s been dead for 200 years.) Well that’s what the folks who are against freedom always say. “Dead white guys who were not up to it”.
George Washington articulated meaningful philosophies that are true to the nature of human beings, and when he said, “Government is not reason, and government is not persuasion, it is force.” He was right! ([CLARK] That’s right. I agree with that.) And that’s forgotten! And that’s why you do not adhere to your oath of office, and upholding the constitution. ([SARAH] — I certainly do!) Citizens in your community heard you make fun of George Washington and I would resign if I were you.
[CALLER: SARAH] I certainly do represent my community, I work very hard for my community. And I really truly have tried to do what’s in the best interest. I have spent a lot of my time and a lot of my money for my community, to make sure that we had improvements so that things were done, so that we had decent roads to drive on, so that we have an industrial park that is not next to a neighborhood…
[BILL] Have you done what is in the best interest of the Constitution and the private property owner? Have you really bent over backwards and tried to protect the individuals’ rights?
[CALLER: SARAH] Let me quickly give you an example: we had a gentleman who had a house on the water, and he wanted to add on. He was within 25 feet of the edge of the water, which you know and I know the DNR says you can’t do that. The DNR came to our meeting trying to discourage us from allowing this man to add on to his home. We said — I looked directly at this guy from the DNR and said — “you are going by an administrative rule. You do not have a state statute that says he cannot do that. We are not going to abide by what you said. We are letting this gentleman do what he wants to do with his property and with his house. And we’re going to ignore you from the DNR.” And we did.
[CLARK] Dear Sarah, live forever, because as soon as you die the DNR — which will go on forever — will be back for that gentleman down by the water, and you know it.
[CALLER: SARAH] And I agree with one thing that you said and that’s the DNR. ([CLARK] That’s correct… ) DNR has these administrative rules that they try to enforce on us as law, and they’re not laws, they’re administrative rules. ([CLARK] Well, let’s look at… ) We have to stop the DNR from doing some of the things they’re doing. I agree with that 100%.
[CLARK] Well thank you, thank you kindly. Let’s look at the comprehensive law, the planning law for just a second here. It says that “the local governmental unit will amend the plan”… as it goes along… to have it keep up with the times — that kind of thing. ([SARAH] — Right.) We’ve already demonstrated this at least in Clark County, and I think Ed [ ] is looking forward to the day here in Marathon County — perhaps not looking forward to it — but in Clark County we’ve had our Zoning Administrator stand up before a group of people and say, “as soon as this plan is completely adopted by all parties, I become the local governmental unit administrator.”
Do you get it? In other words, the municipalities now are subservient to the owner of the Clark County comprehensive plan. If you are a town and you have a planning commission, hey, that’s fine, that’s wonderful. Stay in touch with the local town. But when you get ready to do something, be sure to let the guy down in Neillsville [in Clark County, Wis] — the county zoning administrator — know what you’re going to do because he’s the one that gets veto power. It’s his plan. We’re talking the law here. We’re not talking regulations and administrative rules. We’re talking what the law says. And when I have an administrator in my county say, “my county plan is going to be ‘My County Plan’, and you local governments will just be subservient to me.” — that’s two meanings of the word “local”.
This man is very good at double-speak because we talk to him all the time. And the fact of the matter is that “local governmental unit” is defined for him and you in the law. And “local governmental unit” in the case of an adopted comprehensive plan at the county level, which includes sub-units that would be subservient to the county and other contexts such as townships,… they will answer to the county — not to anybody else, not to their own little town plan commission.
So the end is near. What would that lead to for a township? If you’re a town board official and you sign a comprehensive planning document, multi-jurisdictional with the county, you’re basically saying “you want to go out of business.” Because you aren’t going to have anything to do except plow the roads basically whenever the county decides you are superfluous and they want to cut back on the budget a little bit, or maybe they just don’t like you, you’re out of business. Because under the law you have signed into — been incorporated into — the county comprehensive plan. If you can’t have any land control authority in your township and all you can do is run the road grader up and down the road, I suggest you throw in at least with the township next door to you, or maybe just say “hey county, how much would you give me for this road grader. We’re out of here.” Thank you.
[CALLER: SARAH] Well I would hope that if Ed [ ] thought he were the dictator, I would certainly hope that the rest of us who are on the county board would certainly get rid of him and any of the ideas that you just proposed, and I just don’t think that that’s going to be happening… ([CLARK] Oh I just read the law, that’s all.) … [unintelligible] to be on the opposite side of you. Thank you very much Pat and have a nice week.
[PAT] All right. All right Sarah. We’re going to great a quick final break here and comeback and head down the home stretch on “Sound Off Central Wisconsin”. Stay tuned.
[PAT] We’re back and talking with Michael Shaw from www.freedom21santacruz.net, and also talking with Clark Palmer and Bill Elmhorst locally. You’ve mentioned on several occasions when people have called in and in talking with some of our officials, about the Soviet Union. You’ve brought that up a few times, patterning us after the Soviet Union. What does “Soviet” mean?
[MICHAEL] I didn’t know this until about six months ago, and all the councils that were starting to develop all over Santa Cruz County — watershed councils, fire safe councils, community plan councils — I decided to look up the word “Soviet ” for some reason… it was providential. The word “Soviet” is simple. It’s a system of councils that report to the “apex council”, where the members of the council(s) are chosen for purposes of how they will represent the goal of the “apex”.
So when you look at Santa Cruz we’re able to take these councils and draw them right up to state organizations, into federal organizations, and then to contracts with UN organizations. And interestingly enough, these councils then in the U.S. are being coordinated through a UN non-governmental organization (NGO) that sits in Canada called the International Council For Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). When they say “local”, they mean American local communities. So our town has a contract with ICLEI as it’s called, for the implementation of Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, and Smart Growth. ([PAT] Wow.) So this has been in work for about 10 years, with these higher tier councils coming down into the local community, and then spread through our community. It is the “Sovietization” of America.
[PAT] All right. Clark, how do you bring that locally?
[CLARK] Well, I think we can see that pretty well. Bill mentioned that in order to be on the planning advisory committee for the comprehensive plan in Clark County you have to be for it to begin with. So any talk about this being planning from the bottom up — from the grassroots up — is just pure hooey. What you need to be is you need to be on the same page as the planners in order to get to play the game. This whole [SG] law is basically a full service plan for planners.
And we haven’t mentioned the fact that this is being called a “mandate”. That everybody has to do this by 2010, that its got to be done… I’ve gone to the Legislative Reference Bureau [LRB], part of the Department of Administration in Madison, to help me with the wording that we didn’t quite get to back in sub section 3 here. Because it seems to me that it could be worded a whole lot plainer if it was a mandate. Why does it say that, “after 2010 any laws you make have to be consistent with the plan”? Why doesn’t it say, “after 2010 you must have a plan, and then you can do the following things… the 20 things?”
Ed, are you still listening? Because if that was the case, that would be a mandate. But what this says is that basically if you have no plan in 2010 you have nothing to be consistent with. And you can continue to make laws and so on and so forth as you have in the past. I’ve looked into this a little further in the case of cities. There does appear to be a cross reference that would indicate that cities may be covered. But that’s because cities and states have some over-lapping authority… home rule and things like that. So that comment I made may not be applicable to cities.
But I’m from a “Cow County”. Our biggest city is 2,700. So my concerns are really how does this affect the farmers? The rural townships? We know that the Wisconsin Towns’ Association [WTA] has sold out on this and they’re ready to have every square inch of rural land zoned. We have this from articles in the country today. We have Mr. Stadelman [WTA Executive Director] stating “I will sell this to the townships”. So your townships out there that are seeking legal advice based on what the Towns’ Association is telling you — you’re looking to a prejudicial source. So if you want to avoid comprehensive planning, first of all it’s not mandated to you — I can guarantee you that — and secondly, the Towns’ Association will assist you in [comprehensive] planning; they will not assist you in avoiding same. That’s about what I’ve got. Bill?
[BILL] Just to reiterate a few things here. Due process was denied in Clark County. And we can speak more specifically to what’s taken place over there. But what we are finding out is that a lot of the problems are the same throughout the region… deception was used, a loss of local control (that’s what it results in), loss of property rights, and this whole thing is really hinged on whether or not this was a mandate. So we believe that lies and deceptions have been used. One of the things [said] is that “planning is not zoning”, this is the thing that we hear continually. Well, we understand that — no, there is something different between planning and zoning, however, comprehensive planning… comprehensive planning… for all practical purposes requires zoning because you cannot have any control about what people are doing unless you have a zoning ordinance. Another thing said is that “it’s your plan”? Well, it may be your plan, however [according to Wis law], it has to be consistent with all plans to adjoining areas [and “it’s your plan” until the next higher “local governmental unit” takes control of it away from you]. [Also] “that the county will plan for you” is another thing that’s been said, and that “if you don’t plan well then the county will just have to plan for you…[that] you won’t be a part of it.” [But you do have an option to not do the “Smart Growth” planning without the county doing it for you.] It makes you feel that they [the counties] are going to do something bad and you won’t be able to protect yourself. [But there are better options available].
[PAT] Okay, unfortunately I’ve got news coming up here in a few seconds, but Michael, hopefully folks I’ve got it — www.freedom21santacruz.net, and they can reach you there right?
[MICHAEL] They can, and watch your schools in Wisconsin. If they follow the California pattern then your children are being trained up to be little soldiers of the new world order. ([CLARK] You’ve got it.) ([PAT] Wow!). Comprehensive control.
[PAT] Well Michael, we’ll have you back. And thank you! ([MICHAEL] Well, thank you.) And Clark and Bill, thank you! ([CLARK]/[BILL] Thank you [www.fairnessinlaw.org again is our website]). I’ve got the information to give the other folks so you [listeners] can call me here at the station as well. This is News Radio 5.50(AM), WSAU, Wausau.