City of Glendale and Local Governments for Sustainability
In November 2011, the City of Glendale, forced by the State of California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, approved a sweeping plan to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. A state mandate forces the city to have a 75% recycling rate by 2020. Emissions come from city buildings, city’s power plants, public lighting, employee commutes, landfill use, water transport and other sectors of city operations. The city tapped a $160,000-grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the plan. (1)
Low-carbon, low-emission or even carbon-neutral cities, are the signposts to sustainability. In 2010, 82 percent of Americans lived in cities; by 2050 it will be 90 percent. Cities are responsible for around two thirds of the energy used, 60 percent of all water consumed and 70 percent of all greenhouse gases produced worldwide. As cities continue to grow, as more people move into urban areas, with the shift towards urbanization, cites are experiencing an increasing strain on their infrastructure systems. Roadways, power grids, telecommunications lines and efficient healthcare all rely on a strong infrastructure to handle demand. Therefore, it was vital for ICLEI to have an effective international climate agreement that focuses on urban greenhouse gas reduction.
On November 9, 2010, the City of Glendale adopted a resolution to address sustainability and climate change and to use the United Nations Urban Environmental Accords as a framework for sustainability actions (Appendix A). The UN Accords outlines seven focus areas (Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Nature, and Environmental Health) for achieving better sustainability.
Given the broad consensus that modern global development and consumption patterns are causing negative environmental, social, and economic impacts, the City of Glendale is joining an increasing number of California local governments committed to addressing sustainability at the local level. (2)
On Nov 1, 2011, City Council adopted the Greener Glendale Plan for Municipal Operations. In its introduction, it said, the City of Glendale (CA) is committed to doing its part to promote sustainable living through eco-friendly programs and projects. We also are committed to the betterment of our community through sustainability outreach and education to our residents. This document addresses conservation efforts within internal government operations.
The Greener Glendale Plan is funded by the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant and Glendale Water and Power, to meet grant requirements and State legal requirements to address climate change. The Greener Glendale Plan was produced by the City of Glendale Community Development Department with Assistance from ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). (3)
On March 27, 2012, City Council adopted the Greener Glendale Plan for Community Activities. This document addresses how the City of Glendale can help the community improve livability and conservation. (3)
ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability, formerly known as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative. According to its sponsors, it is the leading global network devoted to local governments engaged in sustainability, climate protection, and cleans energy initiatives. ICLEI USA works to help local governments achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and tangible improvements in local sustainability. ICLEI says that it is not a United Nations agency or affiliated by the U.N. in any way. (4)
Agenda 21 is a voluntary action plan developed by the United Nations and national governments at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Governmental leaders around the world agreed on the need to become more sustainable—to meet today’s needs without sacrificing our future. According to its sponsors, Agenda 21 presents a vision for how all levels of government—especially in the developing world—can take voluntary action to combat poverty and pollution, conserve natural resources and develop in a sustainable manner. (4)
Agenda 21 introduced the concept of a “Local Agenda 21,” offering a vision for how local governments can develop their own sustainability initiatives. At the Earth Summit, in 1992, ICLEI served the role of technical representative for a range of local government organizations, pursuant to areas pertinent to local government, such as urban development, water resources, and waste management, and presented these positions to UN representatives that was included it in its final context. (4)
Critics of ICLEI and Agenda 21 believe that The summit, organized by the United Nations, brought together the most extreme environmental activists from around the world to deal with the supposed threat from global warming, and Agenda 21 was the document they drew up. (5)
President Clinton created the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Made up of federal agencies, corporations, and non-profit groups, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development moved quickly to ensure that all federal agencies would change their policies to comply with UN Agenda 21. (6)
Over the last ten years there has been a ‘planning revolution’ across the US. In many cities, commercial, industrial, and multi-residential land was rezoned to ‘mixed use.’ Nearly everything that got approvals for development was designed the same way: ground floor retail with multi stories of residential above. High density, mixed use. Hundreds of apartments and condos built in the center of town recently. Glendale was no exception. Development after developments was approved over the last few years, with inadequate parking spaces, and lack of landscaping. (6)
Most towns provided funding and/or infrastructure development for these private projects. They used Redevelopment Agency funds. Notice how there’s very little money in your General Funds now, and most of that is going to pay Police and Fire? Less money available for public services, parks, libraries, water & power infrastructure, roads are pot-holed, etc.. The money that should be used for these things were diverted into the Redevelopment Agency. It’s the only agency in government that can float a bond without a vote of the people. And they did that, and now you’re paying off those bonds for the next 45 years with your property taxes. (6)
Critics believe that Redevelopment is a tool used to further the Agenda 21 vision of remaking America’s cities. With redevelopment, cities have the right to take property by eminent domain—against the will of the property owner, and give it or sell it to a private developer, by declaring an area of town ‘blighted. Sound familiar. Thank god, the State of California had to dismantle its redevelopment agency in order to tackle its budget deficit.
UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is the action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all energy, all education, all information, and all human beings in the world. INVENTORY AND CONTROL.—-Rosa Koire
It calls for lowering the standard of living for Americans so that the people in poorer countries will have more, a redistribution of wealth. (6)
Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced — a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. The environmental activists began fighting for “soft-law” changes by centralized governments to bribe with aid, smaller government sub-units (states or localities) or private companies for following ever-more stringent eco-standards with tax breaks or outright cash “aid.” ICLEI has become a big part of the subsidy and regulation regime on the state and local level. Many fear that local governments sustainability drive will become hostile towards property rights, freedoms. (5)
ICLEI’s vision for sustainability requires transforming economic development dynamics in a manner that simultaneously pursues the goals of poverty eradication, full and decent employment and reducing inequalities, while promoting social and environmental regeneration and sustainability. (7)
ICLEI believes that the only way to pursue more sustainable development is to fully engage the citizens and stakeholders of cities and local communities in defining their own plans for development. ICLEI says that it has no authority over its local government members, and it does not in any way circumvent public input in decision-making processes, nor does it mandate, impose, or enforce any national or international policies or initiatives. (4)
Yet, ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability has had an abundant history of association with the United Nations and the association carries on today. There are over 600 cities and counties within the United States that have contracts with ICLEI, including the City of Glendale.
During the Local Government World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa (August 2002, representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN-HABITAT and the World Health Organization (WHO), joined ICLEI in launching Local Action 21 as the next phase of Local Agenda 21. It is a mandate to local authorities worldwide to move from agenda to action and ensure an accelerated implementation of sustainable development. (8)
ICLEI, Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, is intended to influence and change local governmental policies related to all aspects of human life. It designs and sells systems that monitor, report, and control water and energy usage. This information is then shared. By concentrating power in cities, it circumvents requirements for ratification of international treaties and gives the illusion of local control.(9)
ICLEI communicates with local special interests to translate international policy into local and regional legislation. The resident’s are marginalized and placed under increasing oversight of government planners. (10)
Opponents believe that ICLEI’s main objectives include moving people off the rural, open land areas and into higher density housing in towns and villages, concentrated around transportation hubs with trains and buses. (10)
· Private property and cars will go away or be heavily restricted, as well as other aspects of our lives.
· Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are unsustainable.
· “Individual rights will have to take a back seat to the collective” in the implementation of Sustainable Development. As we continue to allow Sustainable Development, Smart Growth, i.e. (smart meters), and others will become our county’s doctrine, these stated principles become inextricably woven into our local government
CLEI’s programs for smart growth, sustainability and educational dictates have now been seeded into almost every city, town and county in the United States. Smart growth initiatives alone affect every aspect of our lives: transportation, housing, environment and education. Every city plan has the same standards (11)
The Obama Administration has warmly embraced smart-growth policies and, more broadly, increased environmental regulation and restriction of use of natural resources. If implemented, the types of policies encouraged in Agenda 21 would be detrimental to economic growth and prosperity.
Agenda 21 is non-binding; it depends on governments for implementation. If opponents focus excessively on Agenda 21, it is much more likely that homegrown smart-growth policies that undermine the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities will be implemented by local, state, and federal authorities at the behest of environmental groups and other vested interests. Preventing American implementation of Agenda 21 should therefore be viewed as only one part of a broader effort to convince U.S. government officials to repeal destructive smart-growth programs and prevent the enactment of new ones. (12)