JCC Supes Debate Affiliation With International Sustainability Group

June 16th, 2011 by karenadmin

James City County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mary Jones said Tuesday that she’s uncomfortable with the county’s affiliation with an international sustainability program and she wants the Board to withdraw its membership.

Jones said at the Board’s Tuesday evening meeting that citizens have been asking why the county is a member of ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability, which the county joined as part of its Green County Resolution in 2007, according to Tuesday’s Board discussion. Jones said that citizens didn’t like that the group embraces United Nations policies, and that she shared their concern. Supervisor John McGlennon said the county has made sustainability a priority, and that’s also the goal of ICLEI. He also pointed out that local Tea Party members distributed negative information about ICLEI during a recent meeting, and he said he was concerned that the materials aim to create a conspiracy out of nothing. The Board agreed to discuss the issue further.

Jones said after hearing recent citizen concerns about the group she looked at the ICLEI website and that she was also concerned about the county’s affiliation with the organization. Jones brought a copy of the UN’s Agenda 21 that she had printed off the ICLEI website to the dais. Agenda 21 is an action plan to reduce human impact on the environment and one of the programs supported by ICLEI. Jones said citizens are asking “why we are embracing policies under UN resolutions… and I share that same concern.” She also said, “I have read a majority of Agenda 21; it is very interesting reading. That’s where my discomfort is.”

She said she’s “uncomfortable” that “we’re paying dues to be a member… I’d ask the Board to consider we withdraw our membership to ICLEI.” (View the meeting online and select the Board requests and directives section at the end of the meeting.)

McGlennon shared his concern about Jones’ request. “Our Comprehensive Plan talks about sustainability,” he said, and this is a core value to the county and to ICLEI. He said the group “provides useful tools to examine the impact we’re having on the environment… it is an information-gathering and dissemination organization rather than a UN arm.”

McGlennon also said “people are claiming it is an international and Socialist, Communist plot.” He said information on Article 21 and ICLEI was distributed at a recent Tea Party meeting he and Jones attended, though Jones said she left before that information was handed out. “If you look at materials disseminated at that [meeting], that really creates a conspiracy out of whole cloth,” McGlennon said.

Several conservative and Tea Party websites offer similar opinions on the alleged dangers of Agenda 21 and ICLEI. On the conservative website The New American, an article by William Jasper called “Your Hometown and the United Nations’ Agenda 21” says of the program: “these initiatives that have been enacted ostensibly to save the environment, invariably destroy economic vitality, erode property rights, undermine liberty and constitutional government, impose soviet-style rule through ‘stakeholder councils,’ subvert local control — and usually devastate the natural environment to boot.”

On the Patriot News Network website, an article titled “ICLEI Primer: Your Town and Freedom Threatened,” the article warns, “Right now, in your town and neighborhood, policies are being implemented that will ultimately eliminate your freedoms and destroy your way of life” and says that “ICLEI uses the false premise and outright lies of anthropogenic global warming to change our way of life, for the worse!”

Supervisor Bruce Goodson said he was on the Board when the county passed the Cool County Resolution in 2007, and that he was uncomfortable with the political language at the time. According to the minutes of the October 2007 meeting, Goodson moved to adopt an alternative resolution that removed language that said human action caused global warming because he didn’t believe there was enough indisputable evidence of it, but the Board voted him down.

Goodson also said an ICLEI member recently sent him a letter asking him to endorse some recent Environmental Protection Agency mandates. “This is getting into political lobbying,” he said. “That’s where I find my discomfort. What are they using our dues for in this organization?”

The county pays $1,200 a year for membership. The primary benefit, according to information from a 2011 Question and Answer document, has been the use of ICLEI software and protocol to conduct a baseline greenhouse gas inventory. The Clean Counties Resolution sets a goal for greenhouse gas reduction and the measurement process is based on ICLEI procedures. ICLEI staff is also gives technical assistance.

Jones defended her suggestion at the meeting. “To me, it’s about what’s good for James City County and what’s good for standing for freedom.”

Supervisor Jim Kennedy took umbrage with Jones’ use of the word “freedom”. “People throw that term around loosely,” he said. “If we have a feeling that our freedom is threatened, I want to know how.” But, he said, “I don’t want to get into a political debate.”

The Board agreed to look at the pros and cons of the county’s membership with ICLEI.

19 Responses to JCC Supes Debate Affiliation With International Sustainability Group

  1. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

    One “anti-sustainability” brochure that I read was tied to Virginia Delegate Rob Marshall who’s extremely conservative in his social agenda. We recall his alleged links some years ago between birth control and birth defects, a very sad and unfortunate statement that has nothing to do with good government in Virginia. Jones’ statements about sustainability and socialism are similarly misguided and disappointing. Stick to the issues in James City, Ms. Jones.

  2. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Once again, needless social meddling by partisan thoroughbreds like Mary Jones. What does this have to do with anything in James City County? Why did she and Goodson support the Comprehensive Plan and its sustainability emphasis and title? Sounds fishy, wasteful, and very politically expedient to me.

  3. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Too funny. Democracy is promoted by grassroots organizations, and we’re taught that involvement is key. So now “stakeholder councils” subvert local control? What precisely does that say to the various committees, etc. that provide advice and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors? Gee, I thought we emerge with stronger processes when we listen to stakeholders representing various groups. Silly me.

  4. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Why support James City County’s most recent Comprehensive Plan and its SUSTAINABLE emphasis (and title), Jones and Goodson, if you’ve worried about “evil socialism” in sustainability? You’re sowing uninformed, needless seeds of fear and division instead of making constructive progress for JCC and its citizens! Too bad.

  5. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Jim Kennedy, your outburst directed towards Mrs Jones was uncalled for. You knew the point she was trying to make and you know she is not the most articulate board member. Why would you construe what she said? I think you are loosing “it.” But, please answer the question, why should the County pay dues to an organization that is overtly lobbying a political position? Since we have an understanding of and know the tools for sustainability, should the County continue to keep its membership active with this group? What benefits are we receiving that we could not acquire elsewhere?

  6. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Such an oversight by UN world leaders, to not see what Mary Jones put together with laser-like efficiency: a direct line of cause-and-effect between sustainability and “soviet-style rule”. Brilliant, if this is leading up to a joke. And what good is Goodson if he can’t keep up with science? Lets see if we can meet on common ground, Bruce. Would you agree that the black, filthy smoke and exhaust from industries and vehicles over the course of years and years has changed the chemistry in the air? Can you think of what the consequences might be?

  7. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Chairman Jones and Vice-Chairman Goodson specifically asked what this has to do with JCC, and now the usual UNreal and UNpatriot start name calling and spreading false accusations. Obviously “SUSTAINABLE emphasis” is not something they are worried about… “evil socialism” might be though! And the possibility that some nefarious national or UNpolitical agenda is promoted under the guise of something good and non-partisan. Is this in JCC’s best interest for our taxpayer money to be paid to this organization? Does JCC receive a worthy benefit for these taxpayer funds? If so great, if not stop wasting our money!

    UNreal and UNpatriot – “You’re sowing uninformed, needless seeds of fear and division instead of making constructive progress for JCC and its citizens!” So kindly stop with your ridiculous assertions and expertly vague screed claims! Chairman Jones never said “socialism”…Supervisor McGlennon did, so it might help if you actually get the facts before you all start attacking the messenger, again…“Sounds fishy, wasteful, and very politically expedient to me”

    Isn’t this exactly “what democracy looks like” …when our representatives listen to us and ask questions and work in open transparency? Why so defensive? Where’s the “complaint”? Why won’t the Queen Bee sign it?

  8. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Don’t our local Board of Supervisor members have much more pressing matters to address than this? Give me a break from such needless and irrelevant ideology!

  9. Anonymous

    June 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Actually, the Soviets were very much for industry. Lenin actually said smoke means prosperity. Look at the currency from the old Warsaw Pact countries, and you will see heroic depictions of industrial complexes belching out smoke. Clean air and water movements were the antithesis of the soviet/communist philosophies. In fact, it was the Green movements that initiated the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and later the Soviet Union.

    I don’t think the terms socialism or freedom mean what some people think it means.

  10. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Jones and Goodson have every right to question the expenditure of public funds. JCC pays $1200 each year to be a member of ICLEI. Please take that money and use it to cut the grass on Rt. 199 and Monticello Avenue.

  11. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Relax, little froggies, in the nice warm water. You’re getting sleeeeeepy…

  12. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Why is it that you only print the commente very selective that support your point of view? Please be honest in your reporting if you are going to ask for comments. Both sides should be reported. When truth is presented you become very selective. Typical media.2

  13. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Realtruthmatters: As it says, we expect civil discourse here. Personal attacks on others, indecent language and bad manners in general are unwelcome.

    However, these are the comments we have received. As for the story, both sides were reported.

  14. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Let’s get past the party politics and get serious. What we aren’t discussing is the fact the we ARE going to have make changes in our lifestyles in we hope to sustain any semblance of the lives and freedom we cherish. Is it soviet-style rule when the county charges you for using more water? What about gas taxes that clearly hurt those who choose to drive gas guzzling SUVs? You have freedom that you have chosen to use to take larger than your share of resources and you are paying for them. Sounds reasonable to me but I suspect there are others who see it as back door socialism. And I don’t care if you believe in global warming or not: the fact is that we are using up natural resources faster than we can create them. And, just ask the folks in those county neighborhoods that always flood about the perils of overdevelopment.

  15. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I thought that the new “and improved” Fresh Market and its cushy developer would gladly handle the mowing on Monticello and Route 199. Good lord, they’ve cleared everything else!


  16. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    To all of you sleeeeeepy little froggies in the nice warm water, mixed with kool-aide, please attempt a moment of intellectually honesty and explain a few things for US:

    You accuse Chairman Jones of “needless social meddling” because she asked if JCC benefits by paying dues to ICLEI? Please explain as this makes absolutely no sense!

    You state that ICLEI has nothing to do with JCC, but that is exactly her point

    She worked on and supported Sustainability in the CompPlan, yet somehow you scold her for her support, but your guys didn’t vote for it… again this makes no sense

    So again quoting “What does this have to do with anything in James City County?” This is exactly what Chairman Jones asks and maybe also why she asks it!

    Albemarle BOS ended ICLEI membership for exactly same reason last week

    “You all are sowing uninformed, needless seeds of fear and division instead of making constructive progress for JCC and its citizens!” Get the hate out of your heart

    It’s time to wake up folks! Truth has NO agenda
    This is not a difference of opinion…This is a different agenda, and it’s not about US!

  17. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    The medians on Rt. 199 and Monticello Avenue are public property and need to be properly maintained by VDOT or the local jurisdiction. York County and the City of Williamsburg do an excellent job of maintaining their sections of Rt. 199 and Monticello. why doesn’t James City County do the same thing. with its emphasis on quality of life and beautification this is a no brainer. New Town Associates tried to maintain the median and were told to stop by VDOT. Maintaining Rights of Way is a core government service and citizens and property owners have every right to expect government (VDOT and local) to do their jobs and maintain these roads properly. Stop wasting taxpayer money on membrships to ICLEI and the like and focus on core services. Those that endorse and want to contribute to ICLEI can do so individually.

  18. Anonymous

    June 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Courthouse Commons cleaned up a brownfield industrial site too and doesn’t it look great. What a terrific addition to our community. The cushy developer also contributed lots of money to fix the News Rd. intersection, saved 300% more trees than required, kept a major taxpayer and highly valued existing business in James City County and did it all with no stimulus money or government bailout from Obama.

  19. Anonymous

    June 18, 2011 at 2:34 am

    After reading the comments written here by most of the people, it is obvious that they know little if anything about sustainable development or agenda 21. My suggestion is they research the info on it before they criticize others. Agenda 21 is NOT the way any of you would like to live. John McGlennon needs to check it out, also….I agree w/ Mary Jones—remove membership to ICLEI and save the money and our county and our country.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login