Author Archives: joyceswanson

Sustainable development foe battles for local control of planning

A trend toward regional government must be stopped because it will severely limit personal liberties and property rights, speaker Debbie Bacigalupi told the Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women during its May 20 meeting at the Three Flames Restaurant in San Jose, CA. Drawing on information from the United Nations, local government agencies and historical events, Bacigalupi explained how American communities are being crafted to dramatically change how people live, work and travel.

Bacigalupi, a former candidate for Congress, a daughter of California ranchers and vocal advocate for property rights and constitutional governance, provided several examples of planning changes that she said would eventually affect everyone across the nation.

In particular, California is serving as a pilot program for regionalism, a means of governing an area that transfers power from elected city council and county boards to regional entities, such as the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The underpinning political philosophy to regionalism is sustainable development, a planning process that emphasizes public transit and high-density housing while discouraging suburban and rural housing.

Bacigalupi criticized sustainable development, which is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (source: “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future,” also called the Brundtland Report, after Gro Harlem Brundtland, the commission’s chairwoman and former prime minister of Norway).

Sustainable development can encompass concepts as wide-ranging as economic justice, environmental justice and climate change. California’s current water shortage is partly a result of the state’s unwillingness to build new dams for water storage, a concession to environmentalists, Bacigalupi said.

She urged SVARW members to fight the regionalism efforts and to stand for our republic.
“What’s happening with liberty and freedom? It is disappearing,” she said. “America was founded on dreams. America was born to win.

“It was based on God’s creation, natural law, individual rights. That’s what makes America worth fighting for. Regardless of how tired you are. Regardless of how sick you are. Regardless of how poor you are. This is the most important battle of our lifetime,” she said.

Why do we need permission to exercise our rights?

Americans are losing their liberty as the government expands its efforts to force people to ask permission before engaging in behaviors that previously required no government approval. At SVARW’s April meeting, attorney Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation spelled out a chilling vision of how the progressive approach to governing is encroaching more and more into areas that America’s founding fathers considered God-given rights.

“We’re replacing the free society with the permission society, a society where you have to ask privileges from the government instead of being allowed to exercise freedom,” Sandefur said. “What changed? The answer is the progressive era.”

He continued, “Progressives have radical new ideas for how the government ought to operate. All that stuff in the constitution and the declaration, that’s old out-dated superstitious nonsense.”

He said that a key idea of progressives is that, “Rights are permissions that government gives you for the government’s own purposes.”

The brilliance of the U.S. Constitution is that it gave rights to the people and government has to ask permission of the people in order to govern. Progressives turn that idea upside-down.

“As we drift away, farther and farther, toward the permission society, I am afraid that we are abandoning the principals that we hold dear,” he concluded.

In the question and answer session, Sandefur explained that “Most of the laws under which you live your life are not written by elected officials. Most laws are written by hired bureaucrats at administrative agencies. These agencies exercise a wide variety of powers that we really don’t pay much attention to.” Through his work with Pacific Legal Foundation, Sandefur attempts to overturn these laws that restrict liberty and freedom.

Learn about the Pacific Legal Founation at