Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why is Sarasota County Government Clueless on Agenda 21?

I asked Nora Patterson, Chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission, the following question: Is Sarasota County a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI)?  If so what do we pay and what do we get in return?

I asked this particular question because ULI is all about UN Agenda 21: Environmental Sustainability. I was interested if county staff is supporting its agenda of sustainable communities/development. The question got the following reply from Thomas C. Polk, Planning Director, Sarasota County Planning Services:

Commissioner Patterson,

Matt Lewis and I are members of the Urban Land institute (ULI).  We pay a full public membership fee of $410, respectively.  The full membership is targeted for senior-level public officials.  The ULI provides us many sources of information and services that include free on line reports on the latest emerging trends related development, public/private partnerships, infrastructure and demographics.  We also receive a monthly overview of 70 economic indicators that is recorded in online Real Estate Business Barometer.  Additionally, free webinars are provided on a multitude of real estate topics.

As stated in an earlier email, the ULI comprises 30,000 national and international members.  The members are “real estate’s most proactive developers, owners, builders, investors, architects and related industry professionals.”  With these resources, Sarasota County has maintained a long relationship with this group.  The ULI assisted us with the 2050 Plan in the initial stages of development (by providing us an expert advisory panel) and has personally supported me with a wealth of information related to public/private partnerships over the years.

If I can provide you any additional details/information, please let me know.


You will note that Thomas portrays the Urban Land Institute (ULI) as a benign organization. Thomas also notes that ULI provides on line reports on emerging trends, and assisted with the Sarasota County 2050 Plan by "providing an expert advisory panel". ULI has also assisted him with public/private partnerships for years.

So what is the Urban Land Institute?

The Urban Land Institute is a major contributor to the UN International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives - Local Governments for Sustainability's (ICLEI) STAR guidelines. According to the ULI Advisory Group: Climate, Land Use and Energy (CLUE) Final Report:

"ULI–the Urban Land Institute will bring its organizational resources to the complex issues surrounding energy and climate changeacknowledging that the successful global reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions requires substantial investments in local communities. We believe ULI has the ability to foster new policies and solutions to address global climate change that are both feasible and effective at the nexus of land use, real estate, energy and infrastructure." [My emphasis]

As we now know man made global warming is a hoax. Additionally, research by the highly respected scientists of CERN have discovered that it is the Sun that determines the Earth's climate changes, not man. Reduction of GHG and CO2 is a fools mission.

What are the policies, solutions and substantial investments demanded by ULI?

According the the ULI Advisory Group Final Report, "ULI recognizes that effective strategies to combat global climate change will require cooperative effort by all segments of the economy and all segments of society, around the globe. . .By focusing on issues at the core of the ULI mission—the responsible use of land—ULI seeks to make an important contribution within the emerging chorus of collaboration and partnership."

What does the responsible use of land mean and who determines what is responsible use?

This means government, not the land owner, determines what is and is not responsible use. Government at every level must highly regulate how land is developed, restrict the use of existing lands via easements, establish wild lands, support mass transit and purchase land to keep it from being used for commercial or residential purposes. All in the name of reducing CO2 emissions. This is done under something called the "Smart Growth" agenda favored by ULI.

Who established the Smart Growth Network? The Environmental Protection Agency in 1996, of course.

Sarasota County and the state of Florida have led the way in what is called Smart Growth and sustainable development. To understand how this works please go to the below link, which uses a series of short two minute narratives to explain this massive land grab:

Currently about 33% of Florida land is owned by government. In Sarasota County this number is about 30%.

What is interesting is this statement from Thomas, "[N]either Matt Lewis or myself have attended any symposiums, conferences, or webinars regarding Agenda 21. It should be noted that both Matt and I are unclear what the term 'Agenda 21' represents. Pardon my lack of knowledge, but it would be useful to know what this term actually is/means."

If Thomas and Matt are clueless then the County Commissioners are as well. Time to educate both the Commissioners and staff.

It is the role of government to protect property rights not determine what is responsible land use. This belief has led to private property being devalued by county ordinance and the 2050 Plan, implementing a Smart Growth Agenda, taking useful land off the tax rolls and reducing the amount of land available for productive uses by private owners.

And we wonder why Florida and Sarasota County is in a recession. It is because you and I allowed this to happen over the years. Time to put a stop to it and reverse course.

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