Dear Editor:

The Carbon County Office of Planning & Development (OPAD) meets regularly on the 3rd Tuesday of each month; 2 p.m. at Carbon County Emergency Service Building and these meetings are open to the public. At a particular point of the meeting the floor is opened for visitors to address the Board. At this time I took the opportunity to present a few questions to the Board members. The first question I asked was, "Does anyone here know what Agenda 21 is?" When I asked that question, Jesse Walck, from Summit Hill, got up and walked out of the meeting. For myself, I thought how convenient. The remaining Board members indicated that they had no idea of what I was talking about.

Since it appeared that the Board was unfamiliar with the topic of 'Agenda 21', I then asked if they would be looking at the Carbon County Comprehensive Plan at any time in the future. Will this plan ever be brought before this commission for a possible vote? Some said no, others said that they didn't know.

They indicated that they only deal with matters of planning and development. I thought, as part of their planning and development commission job, wouldn't this be a subject that they might want to familiarize themselves with? I was directed to ask Judy Borger, the Board's Director, about the Comprehensive Plan however she was not present at the meeting.

I read to them part of the plan stated in the United Nations The Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements and the Vancouver Action Plan. http://habitat.igc.org/vancouver/vp-d.htm [1]

Preamble

"Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings-and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole."

After reading this, I asked if anyone there would be willing to have forced public access to their property. Imagine that, no one answered 'yes'.

Your land and my land becomes vulnerable to being used as trails, parks, open spaces, greenways and whatever else is deemed 'socially just' for the good of the society as a whole. If a community accepts grant money to do these things, the community is then responsible for the maintenance of said projects. The grant money to develop any land use project is our tax money to begin with, but consider this, beyond the initial 'grant' the community will be responsible to collect additional local tax money to maintain land use project. What may sound appealing in the beginning could very well end up costing the local taxpayer in the long run.

There was talk about trails connecting the small towns. Aside from providing access to the public from outside the area, consider the potential problems that could be presented from undesirable elements wishing to use such areas for conducting criminal activities. Additionally, who will be responsible for patrolling these trails? Because of ever rising expenses, communities are coping as best they can just to maintain an adequate police force for security as it is. How do I know that Agenda 21 is part of our local plan?

In July of 2001 Judy Borger was a board member of the GLOBE USA Board of directors. Since the Conference Proceedings were hosted by GLOBE USA (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment) http://www.worldsummit2002.org/texts/ilcce.pdf [2] I would imagine she knows all about this subject. Expressed appreciation to: The members of GLOBE USA and their staff within the US Congress. The GLOBE USA Board of Directors: Ms. Judy Borger, Ms. Rachel Kyte, Ms. Lisa Jordan, Mr. Truman Semans and Ms. Katherine Fisher. There is a lot of information in that document; I would suggest reading 'page 27':

"Local Agenda 21 is a program that developed as a result of the 1992 'UNCED' (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ) process. It is an effort to get local governments involved in producing sustainable development programs."

"There are three ways in which energy efficiency programs can be implemented.

1. One is through voluntary initiatives by industry

2. Second are voluntary programs by citizens

3. Lastly is the role of government and legislators in promoting energy efficiency. An organization such as GLOBE has the ability to transmit and diffuse ideas across countries about what is being used effectively and what successful programs exist in order to address such environmental issues."

With all the information that is available, I suggested that the people on this committee and in the local area educate themselves. If you go to tp://www.lehightonborough.com/index.php?page=comprehensive read the 3 documents that are listed. Learn what is going on in your community.

Now, I can only give the Board the benefit of the doubt that they have no knowledge of 'Agenda 21', however I would not be surprised to find that they do know something about the Plan especially since their Board's Director, Ms. Judy Borger, was associated with 'GLOBE USA'. I was told the plans are not law, they are merely suggestions. If that is the case, then why do we need these plans like the United Nations 'Agenda 21' in Carbon County? The state needs these updated plans to allow us to get grant money's. In other words more tax money to build things that will again take more tax money to maintain whatever they decide to build. What a vicious cycle. We will never get out of debt.

Now I get it, these are the United Nations suggestion that's why they are not laws. Finally, who gave the United Nations the authority to dictate to the communities in Carbon County, or anywhere in the United States, to develop a plan to conform to their idea of land use for 'social justice'?

Hope Gramlich

Lehighton