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Posts Tagged ‘sustainable’

What is unsustainable in Bradley County according to the United Nations?

In Agenda 21, environment on May 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

If Regional growth, the BCC 2035 Strategic growth plan, smart meters are SUSTAINABLE in Bradley County let me show you what is UNSUSTAINABLE in Bradley County according to the United Nations and the Global Diversity Assessment, the report directed by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) which calls for urgent action to reversethe effects of unsustainable human activities, including, but not limited to the following;

Ski runs
Grazing of livestock, cows, sheep, goats,h and horses
Disturbance of the soil surface
No large hoofed animals
Fencing of pastures
Agriculture
Modern farm productions systems
Chemical fertilizers
Herbicides
Building materials
Industrial activities
Human made caves of brick and mortar
Paved and tarred roads
Highways and rails
Railroads
Floor and wall tiles
Aquaculture
Technology improvements
Farmlands and ridgelands
Pastures
Fish ponds
Plantations
Modern hunting
Harvesting of timber
Logging activities
Dams, Resevoirs, straightening rivers
Power line construction
Economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment
Inappropriate social structures
Weakness in legal systems
Modern attitudes toward nature
Judaeo, Christian, Islamic religions
PRIVATE PROPERTY
Population growth
Human population density
Consumerism and population figures
Fragmentation of habitat
Cemeteries
Derelict neglected lands
Rubbish
Sewers, drain systems,pipelines
Land use that serves human needs
Fisheries
Golf courses
Scuba diving
Synthetic drugs
Agriculture development
Forestry urbanization
Impervious surfaces

The United Nations definition of what is sustainable!

In 1987, the United Nations released the Brundtland Report, which included what is now one of the most widely recognised definitions:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It contains within it two key concepts:

Unsustainable or sustainable, either way we lose out to the “Green Machine.” The EPA will unmercifully regulate us for not being green enough and fine us for not being complicit! Either way we lose this battle!

What do you want your future to look like? Encourage your elected officials to vote NO on the upcoming BCC Comprehensive Growth Plan that is being formulated by out of town consultants driven by non governmental organizations and committees of vested participants locally.

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Community Block Grants, full of fraud and abuse, Senator Mike Bell and Rep Eric Watson embrace them

In Agenda 21, Government on November 28, 2011 at 1:17 PM

I never cease to be amazed at the naievete of some of our elected State officials to partake of such a crime ridden, frequently abused program such as the CDBG program! Have you ever seen such a desire by our elected leaders to take seemingly endless tax dollars and literally give it away to beuracrats and private partnerships all for the love of the little bit of money that will trickle into our community after “federal, state and local administrative costs” are administered! Where is the dignity of these elected officials to think that by contracting with a federal agency like HUD that after we jump through the many hoops to recieve the grants that they are convinced they have done anything good for our communities? Senator Bell and Representative Watson you have been put on notice that these grants and it’s distribution of funds will be closely monitored for effectiveness of use by the taxpayers that you supposedly represent. In the event of your over willingness to spend the taxpayers dollars irresponsibly there will be a huge accountability factor involved! Recklessly spending tax payers dollars can no longer be tolerated! Spending money we do not have and causing great discomfort to the community you represent by federal government regulation for you simply accepting theses grants is not a favorable position to be in and can no longer be accepted as the norm! Federal spending and waste of tax payer dollars must be stopped! Someone must stop the madness!
Community Development Block Grants are the largest community development activity in HUD. They were created by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, which combined several narrower grants into one formula-based block grant for local governments. The change stemmed from local frustrations with the complex web of federal aid that developed in the 1960s.6
In 2009, CDBG spending totaled $8 billion.7 The bulk (70 percent) of the funding goes to selected local governments that are called “entitlement communities.” The top five recipients of these funds since 2000 are the cities of New York ($1.6 billion), Chicago ($780 million), Los Angeles ($758 million), Philadelphia ($557 million), and Detroit ($412 million).8 The other 30 percent of CDBG funding goes to state governments as “nonentitlement community” funding. State governments dole out those funds to local governments and nonprofit groups.
CDBG activities are supposed to meet one of three objectives: (1) benefit low- and moderate-income persons, (2) prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or (3) address a serious need or threat that has particular urgency.9 A huge range of activities meet these criteria, including:
acquisition of property
construction or repair of streets, recreation facilities, and other public works
demolition and rehabilitation of public and private buildings
public services and planning activities
assistance to nonprofit and for-profit groups for community development purposes
While CDBG funds are initially handed out to state and local governments, the ultimate beneficiaries are usually private businesses and organizations working on particular projects, such as shopping malls, parking lots, museums, colleges, theaters, swimming pools, and auditoriums. Here is a small sampling of projects funded in 2008:10
$588,000 for a marina in Alexandria, Lousiana
$245,000 for the expansion of an art museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania
$147,000 for a canopy walk at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in Georgia
$196,000 for expanding the Calvin Coolidge State historic site in Vermont
$294,000 for a community recreational facility in New Haven, Connecticut
$196,000 for the construction of an auditorium in Casper, Wyoming
$441,000 to replace a county exposition center in Umatilla, Oregon
$98,000 for the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts in Spring, Texas
$245,000 for renovations to awnings at a historical market in Roanoke, Virginia
$294,000 for the development of an educational program at the Houston Zoo in Texas
All these activities are purely local in nature, and there is no national interest in funding them. CDBG funding runs completely counter to the federalist model of American government.
Federal policymakers are supposed to make decisions on national issues such as defense and security; it makes no sense for them to be city planners, but that’s what the CDBG program effectively lets them do.
Battling over Formulas

Moving funding for local projects up to the federal level injects federal politics into local activities. The particular cities and counties that receive CDBG funding have long been fought over in Congress. While the program was created to help high-poverty areas improve basic services such as fire and police, the program currently spreads taxpayer largesse very widely, including to some of the wealthiest areas of the country.11
CDBG money is doled out based on complex formulas that do not target need very well. For example, the wealthy community of Madison, Wisconsin, receives a CDBG allotment of a similar size as low-income San Marcos, Texas, partly because a large group of temporarily low-income college kids in Madison are included in the formula.12 The 2009 federal budget noted that the CDBG “formula has not been updated in over 30 years and as a result, many lower-income communities receive less assistance than wealthier communities.”13 Experts occasionally try to fix such problems, but those reforms are usually blocked by politicians benefiting from the status quo.
One allocation item in the CDBG formula is “housing built before 1940.” How did that obscure item get into the CDBG formula? The Northeast-Midwest Institute, which is a lobby group for a regional group of states, got a member of Congress to insert it into legislation in 1977 in order to tilt aid toward older cities.14 The Bush administration wanted to change this formula item in 2006 because “many poor communities have torn down old, blighted housing while affluent communities have rehabbed theirs, giving them a leg up in the distribution of funds.”15 But the Bush proposal met stiff resistance from wealthier communities such as Oak Park, Illinois, which would have lost some of its CDBG subsidies.16
CDBG spending has gradually shifted from poorer to wealthier communities over time.17 For that reason, the Bush administration rated the CDBG program “ineffective” due to its “weak targeting of funds.”18 It noted, for example, that wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut, received five times more funding per low-income resident than poorer Camden, New Jersey.19 It should not be the role of the federal government to redistribute income between regions, but even if it was, the CDBG program is not very good at it.
Excessive Bureaucracy

One result of involving all three levels of government in funding local projects is rampant bureaucracy. Local governments that receive CDBG funds spend 17 percent on administration, on average, according to the Government Accountability Office.20 For the portion of CDBG funds that flow to state governments, state-level bureaucracies are an additional cost. The GAO found that state government administration consumed 8 percent of CDBG funds. On top of those costs are federal administration costs, which are about 5 percent of the value of grants.21
After the government bureaucracies take their share, CDBG monies get distributed to the private businesses and organizations that carry out funded projects. Federal rules usually specify the share of funding that may be used by recipients for administrative costs, and 10 percent seems to be common. Thus, considering all the administrative costs at all layers of government and private organizations, a large share of the CDBG budget disappears before any actual work is done.
One cause of high administration costs in grant programs is that governments and private groups must comply with complex federal regulations. Consider, for example, that the State of Virginia’s CDBG manual explaining the regulations is 170 pages long, and the state’s application package for grant applicants is 132 pages long.22
Waste and Abuse

Moving funding for local projects up to the federal level eliminates responsible city planning. When local funds are used for local projects, local officials have an interest in ensuring that the benefits of public projects outweigh the costs. But when the federal government is the source of funds, local governments tend to invest in a range of inefficient and wasteful activities.
The CDBG program also has a history of financial abuse and dubious project spending. In 2006, HUD’s inspector general found that fraud by CDBG grant recipients was common—and increasing.23 After recently auditing a sample of just 35 CDBG grantees, investigators found more than $100 million in improper or questionable spending, including:
An audit of redevelopment projects in San Diego found that $12.9 million was spent on activities there were ineligible or lacked proper records. For example, CDBG funds were used improperly for a festival to celebrate a shopping center.24
The City of Chicopee, Massachusetts, spent $4.3 million on projects that were ineligible or lacked proper records. Some of the funds went to the affluent neighborhood where the mayor lived. In 2005, the mayor was arrested on extortion charges related to illegal campaign contributions received in return for helping a developer obtain development funds.25
The City of Utica, New York, spent funds on a variety of improper uses, such as $902,799 on a marina and $255,158 on ski chalet renovations.26 That is not the targeting of funds to poor neighborhoods that CDBG supporters envisioned.
 In 2006, HUD’s inspector general reported that in just two and a half years of CDBG investigations it had “indicted 159 individuals, caused administrative actions against 143 individuals, had 5 civil actions, 39 personnel actions, and over $120 million in recoveries.”27 The inspector general found that there were “repeated” problems with the program, including the improper use of funds, grantee inability to account for funds, and a lack of monitoring and oversight.
Here is a sampling of some of the local-level scandals to hit the CDBG program over the years:
The economic development agency of Essex County, New Jersey, spent $1.6 million on county administration in assisting just seven businesses.28
A government employee in East St. Louis pled guilty to income tax evasion after directing $158,000 in CDBG funds to her bank account.29 East St. Louis has long had corruption problems with federal grant monies.
Former South Dakota governor Bill Janklow directed $825,000 of CDBG funds to a shooting range, which HUD ruled was an improper use of funds.30 HUD found that 9 of 12 CDGB awards it examined in the state failed to meet low-income targeting requirements.
Miami officials used CDBG funds to back a $5.4 million low-interest loan for an investment company controlled by a wealthy Saudi Arabian sheik.31
Selected audits of CDBG grantees in 1995 produced 31 indictments and 21 convictions for misuse of funds.32 Auditors found that the owner of a Louisiana sawmill used funds to pay off personal debts, the city of Troy, New York used $1.6 million to lure a hockey team to the city, and a California Indian tribe used $404,000 to construct an off-track betting facility.
The head of the Multicultural Center in Modesto, California, who was a Democratic Party activist, used $47,500 of CDBG money for personal and political purposes.33
The government of Washington, DC, gave $1 million to a funeral home for a business expansion, which ended up never occurring. That prompted the Washington Times to note: “It’s an example of a repeated problem the city has administering its community development block grants.”34
Niagara Falls and Lockport, New York, used $12 million to build an amusement center, which shut down after just six months of operation. The company behind the project pled guilty to defrauding HUD.35
The CDBG program has been a poster child for waste and abuse for decades. Unfortunately, few members of Congress have shown any interest in cutting the program or even conducting oversight. A 1989 news article explains why:
GAO investigators have been trying to interest congressmen in scrutinizing the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program. … Describing the program as the “next bombshell” waiting to hit HUD, investigators said it is rife with waste and mismanagement, but they got no takers. Lawmakers explained that since they had been struggling to save the grants from Reagan’s budget ax, they would be embarrassed by a scandal. In addition, many districts get money from the program, and legislators do not want to launch a probe that could turn off the spigot.36
Despite all the abuses, perhaps policymakers believe that CDBGs are nonetheless effective at stimulating growth. After 30 years and more than $100 billion it should be easy to demonstrate the program’s success, but it’s hard to find any examples of city rejuvenation created by the program.37 Instead, numerous cities, such as Detroit, which have been major CDBG recipients, have fallen further into decline. The reality is that no amount of federal money can overcome the local hurdles to growth in cities such as Detroit—including political corruption and destructive tax and regulatory policies. Indeed, just like international development aid, federal aid to the cities likely increases corruption and stalls much-needed local reforms.
With the federal government running huge deficits, it cannot afford to fund ineffective and often wasteful local development projects. Community development is a local concern, and only local leaders and businesses using their own funds can make sound cost-benefit decisions on projects. By providing local leaders with handouts from Washington, we simply encourage them to make irresponsible decisions. At the same time, experience has shown that federal politicians use local projects as political tools that are disconnected from sound economics.
 

Source of info:
Tad DeHaven, writer!
Please visit his website below!
http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/hud/community-development#Top

ICLEI- Regional plans will go forward even if Feds, States and citizens dont want it!

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Yes, you heard it correctly! No matter how much you resist, the growth plan will go forward! Bypassing federal, state and local officials! They do this by capitalizing on our elected officials forming alliances with PPPs (Private Public Partnerships), NGO’s (Non Governmental Organizations) such as the Chamber of Commerce, our own locally appointed boards that our Mayors have relinquished all our sovereignty too!

Recently, we experienced this in action as our Bradley County Commissioners voted NO on the BCC 2035 Strategic Growth Plan, so the chamber and all these other NGOs joined together with ICLEI and Chattanooga to push the plan into our community by HUD, EPA and the DOT without a single vote cast or involving a single elected local official besides the two Mayors Rowland and Davis!

The residents of Bradley County have been duped by our two Mayors and they have bypassed the citizens of our beautiful city! We must hold them accountable for this lack of vision to protect our community from this plan!

You can see we are in trouble! We need representation in our city and county and it is up to us to make it happen and stop this madness!

Get on the phones, pass this around and let’s get them to include us in this process!

Local action key to sustainability

By Victoria Jack

 

Local communities and NGOs say they are making progress towards a sustainable future on a global scale, despite what many have described as inadequate action at national and international levels.

During the UN DPI/NGO Conference, many speakers leveled criticism at federal governments for their failures to provide strong regulation and effective policymaking concerning the environmental crisis facing our globe. Other speakers blamed the international community for failing to reach consensus and act collectively in efforts to achieve sustainability.

In a paper produced for the UN DPI/NGO Conference, plenary panelist Konrad Otto-Zimmermann referenced criticism of “un-united nations” in the fight against global warming.

“Countries and groups forged ahead in different directions and almost no one believes anymore that there could be one global climate agreement. Yet there is only one global climate. Who is taking care of it?” he asked.

Otto-Zimmermann, the secretary general of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, argued that there is potential for local communities to make significant environmental contributions.

He argued, for instance, that city governments can utilize a variety of policy options to encourage sustainable practices, such as implementing public transport networks and bicycle infrastructure, car-free areas or days and parking fees.

ICLEI, a network of more than 1220 local governments working towards sustainability, provides information and services to support the implementation of sustainable development at a local level.

ICLEI Executive and Policy Assistant Susanne Salz, who also spoke at the Conference, said the reaction from communities in the US to the Kyoto Protocol provides a good example of how local players have the power to make changes. Despite the refusal of the US government to ratify the protocol, more than 1,000 mayors from across the country signed the pact to meet the protocol’s targets for greenhouse gas emissions; a 7 percent reduction by 2012 from 1990 levels.

Ecocity Builders is another NGO that has solicited the involvement of local communities pursuing sustainable development. Executive Director Kirstin Miller, who attended the conference, said her organization aims to rebuild urban areas to promote a healthy synergy between humans and natural ecosystems. A core part of achieving that mission is providing pedestrian access to basic services and connecting city centers with strong public transportation and bicycle infrastructure, Miller said.

Ecocity Builders has designed a framework to assist towns and cities around the world in becoming ecologically healthy, or an “ecocity” – a term coined by the organization’s founder and President Richard Register. The framework is already being rolled out in a number of communities, including parts of Canada, Nepal and Brazil.

Miller said the framework would help local communities all over the world to band together and make positive environmental changes.

“We can get started without them [the federal governments],” she said.

“The government is beholden to this old paradigm – they withdraw their support from the industries and the businesses that can create green economies. But the cities are going to act anyway and create their own agenda.”

While local action is important, many speakers and NGO delegates present at the Conference agreed it would be ideal if local communities were supported at both the national and international levels.

“You’re going to have the most effective outcome if you act at all levels. There is a role for everybody and it works best if everybody does their best,” Salz said.

A Declaration calling for a more active and collective approach to sustainable development will be released by NGOs at the end of the Conference on Monday 5 September.

Miller said she is hopeful that governments will respond to the call; but, she notes, local communities will continue to make progress even if officials don’t.

“Even if that doesn’t happen, it [the push for sustainable development] will still be going forward with these local organizations and governments… so it doesn’t matter if it fails in a way, the movement will still be taking shape,” she affirmed.

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