David Frum

02.07.13

GOP: Ditch the Agenda 21 Tinfoil Hat Brigade

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This week, yet another state legislator denounced the UN's "Agenda 21" as a sinister plot to globalize America. My friend Rob Sisson of ConservAmerica can't take it any more. He actually served as mayor of his small city. He drew some ideas from Agenda 21 to lower city costs and cut taxes. Let me now pass the microphone over to Rob for the rest:

Have we entered some parallel universe where saving tax dollars and conserving natural resources has become a UN plot against American liberties?

Apparently so.

In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed the U.S. onto a non-binding United Nations agreement called Agenda 21. The agreement is hardly more than a list of ways that local communities can better conserve natural resources. The general header for such practices is "sustainability."

During my tenure as mayor of Sturgis (MI), a city of about 12,000 people, we implemented several sustainable practices that resulted in substantial savings to taxpayers. A green roof on a new public works building minimized heating and cooling costs in the building, reduced storm water runoff, and lowered long term maintenance expenses. When a neighborhood was annexed, we utilized rain gardens in lieu of costly curb and gutter to manage storm water, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hardly controversial, you'd think.

Yet Glenn Beck, the John Birch Society, and various tea party groups have condemned "Agenda 21" as a globalist conspiracy to destroy America. And state legislators are listening. 

I am a real conservative. I championed privatization of our ambulance service and our hospital, and lowered our city millage to the lowest level in fifty years. I was the first mayor in the city’s history to exercise the right to legally carry a concealed weapon (but let’s not open that can of worms right now).

Thankfully, though, that I wasn’t mayor of a community in Virginia, Iowa, Georgia, Missouri, or even Charlevoix County (MI), where elected officials have passed resolutions preventing local governments from implementing any practices spelled out in United Nations Agenda 21.

Even my beloved Republican National Committee approved the following plank in its 2012 platform: “We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as being erosive of American sovereignty.”

Lowering costs and conserving resources is always a good idea - even if the UN agrees. Can we all please get real?

Rob Sisson is president of ConservAmerica and is a four term city commissioner.