Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Evolving Debate Concerning Agenda 21-Driven Olive Town Plan

My bald spot is evident, lower right hand corner. Looks like over 100 attended.
I wrote a piece for The Lincoln Eagle and wrote a letter to the editor of The Woodstock Times concerning coverage of the Town of Olive meetings on Monday and Tuesday nights concerning the Agenda 21-driven proposed Town plan.

Green Olive Plan Generates Large Turnout—But Is It the Pits?

Town of Olive-- Special to the Lincoln Eagle. By Mitchell Langbert. Monday, August 8.  An overflow crowd came to an Olive Town meeting to discuss a controversial planning document.  Town of Olive Supervisor Berndt Leifeld and the Olive Town Board used part of a $50,000 grant to hire the Matthew D. Rudikoff consulting firm to develop a town vision plan.  The plan is peppered with jargon that comes out of the globalist 1992 Agenda 21, the UN’s environmental vision that would wrest control of communities from voters, replacing them with national building codes, regulations and UN bureaucrats.  Supervisor Leifeld, seeking additional grant money, has published Rudikoff's plan, but he is unfamiliar with Agenda 21, which is available on the UN's Website.  Assuring the meeting that the plan is merely a means to obtain grants and is not binding, Supervisor Leifeld seems to have seen green in one sense but to have been duped by greens in another sense.  Approximately 100 concerned Town of Olive residents swamped the meeting, and cars overflowed from the Justice Hall parking lot onto Bostock Road.  Discussion was civil. 

Charles Blumstein of Olivebridge asked why the vision plan was not better publicized.  Supervisor Leifeld, the Town Board, and their supporters claimed that it was.  Retired West Shokan fireman Steve Cadette suggested a vote, and about 15% in the room had known about the plan six months ago while 75% had heard about the meeting only in the past week due to local activists’ handbills and e-mails.   Although “progressives” in the audience expressed the mistaken belief that an Agenda 21-driven town plan is necessary for intelligent development, New York City’s near-bankruptcy in the 1970s followed decades of Robert Moses’s intensive urban planning and pursuit of grants.  Supervisor Leifeld and the Town Board now pursue a Moses-like planning-and-grants strategy seasoned with possibly precedent-setting rhetoric from George H. Bush’s globalist agenda.


PO Box 130
203 Watson Hollow Road
West Shokan, NY 12494
August 10, 2011

Brian Hollander
Editor, Woodstock Times

Dear Editor:

I appreciate Paul Smart’s attention to my blog and to the brewing controversy concerning the Town of Olive plan in his recent article (“Tea Pot Tempest,” August 4).  The meeting on August 8 was well attended, but, contrary to Mr. Smart’s concerns, it was peaceful.  Those who are concerned about the Town of Olive vision plan are not Tea Party members or right wingers--if anything they are left wingers. Recall that the terms right and left refer to the seating plan of the French Estates General, where liberals, believers in freedom of speech, occupied the left and monarchists, who favored strong central authority, and political correctness, sat on the right.  As I recently blogged, Ulster County’s leftists are misnamed. They are rightest. We who oppose speech suppression, such as recently occurred to me at the LEED event in the Town of Ulster, and enviro-fascism emanating from Washington, are on the left

As Town of Olive residents digest the Town of Olive plan, its incompetent conceptualization and execution become evident.  Any plan needs to link budgets and costs to its vision. Costs and benefits are always trade-offs, and any competently designed plan will clarify them.  This plan does not discuss costs, taxes, or budgets, or compare the Town of Olive’s current cost structure to other towns’.  The proposal that Olive ought to build sidewalks is an example of an irresponsible vision that does not consider costs, budgets, and taxes.  Currently, the Town of Olive has among the highest paid Town Supervisors in Ulster County and among the highest cost structures and per capita staffing levels in Ulster County.  The plan does not address over-spending, political cronyism and government bloat that harm retired and working residents.  The  $47,000 paid to the consulting firm that drafted the plan is part of an ongoing  problem of runaway government spending that causes exodus from New York State and from the Town of Olive.

At the meeting Supervisor Leifeld stated that the plan need not be taken seriously because its purpose is to pursue grants.  I can think of several instances, such as Polytechnic University, where grants and gifts have led to financial collapse.  Moreover, representation to a grant giver of a false plan could amount to fraud and conceivably to a cession of local control, potentially becoming a threat to local democracy.  One thing Olive does not need is Woodstock’s right wing approach to zoning, which reflects the needs of the local aristocracy and squashes local residents under weekenders’ fashionable Gucci heels. Mr. Leifeld’s supporters ought to  sit on the right hand side of the next planning meeting. The debate may become more intense because the issues are becoming clearer to us left wingers.  


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

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