What could possibly go wrong with a Comprehensive Plan?

July 9, 2011

Nearly everyone lives by some type of schedule, be it work, family or activity. Often times those schedules must be altered to work-in unexpected interruptions. We became accustomed to allowing those we elect to hopefully make the right choices for us and the communities we live in and go on about our daily routines. OK, that’s the way it has been in the past 40-50 years, but thanks to an awakening of the senses by a government out of control, we have become active participants on all levels of government that is affecting our very rights and freedoms. Say hello to the  International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).  ICLEI, when implemented, creates new local laws and city planning requirements that restrict economic development and personal freedom in the name of “Sustainable Development and protecting green space”. If you recall last next, I asked the question, what are your city, parish or county planners up to? I would like to introduce you to some cities and counties that have smelled the coffee and put the brakes on UN initiatives that were already adopted and controlling land usage and development in their jurisdiction.

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Carroll County, Maryland, in February,  elected 5 new county commissioners. Their first act was to close the county’s Sustainable Development Office and fire its manager. They then ended their contract with ICLEI and rejected the county’s ICLEI-written comprehensive development plan – telling the planning commission to re-work it to protect property rights and assure the plan was in compliance with the U.S. Constitution. 

  • Also in February, Amador County, California was the second community to reject its contract with ICLEI and begin to dismantle the Sustainable Development policies that had been put in place. The effort was led by the “Mother Lode Tea Party.”
  • In March, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania became the third community to reject its ICLEI contract and send them packing.
  • In April, Edmond, Oklahoma became the fourth community to reject ICLEI and its policies. The Edmond City Council was confronted by nearly 200 citizens demanding that the city end its contract with ICLEI.
  • In May, Las Cruces, New Mexico became the fifth community to out  the ICLEI policies previously adopted.
  • In June, Spartanburg, SC became city number 6 to oust ICLEI by a city council vote of six to zero.  This data taken from: http://communitysolutionsmn.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/communites-are-fighting-agenda-21-and-they-are-like-charlie-sheen-says-winning/

One fine example of ignorant city ordinances comes from Oak Park, Michigan where Julie Bass was issued a ticket for growing a nice, well organized garden in her front yard. Thinking she was doing nothing wrong, she was totally amazed and shocked when the city code enforcement officer wrote the ticket. “City code says that all unpaved portions of the site shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other suitable live plant material. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are what the Basses see as suitable”. I tend to agree with Ms. Bass though some of her neighbors and the city disagree and mandate what their yards should look like. So off to court Mr. Bass is heading to fight city hall. BTW, if she loses she is looking at over 90 days of jail time for growing and eating fresh vegetables. http://www.theagitator.com/2011/07/07/does-michelle-obama-know-about-this/  Now this is Michigan and surely this kind of idiocy is not happening in your town, right? Crap, I forgot Calcasieu Parish is working towards that new comprehensive plan including how big new subdivision lots “must” be all the way down to what kind of trees you must plant, how big and how many to plant. And how about a mandated home owners association you “must” join and can not be dissolved for a minimum of fifty years to boot.

Do I sound truly enthused about the subtle changes going on around us?  I think my position is clear as to where our private property rights are heading (what’s left of them) and it is not in favor of the land owner, but that of the local government. We keep hearing its in the best interest of the parish and future business growth. BC The truth of the matter is we do not have the funds available for infrastructure to these unincorporated areas and the new regulations on business developments will certainly curtail expansion into these areas by design to guarantee growth within the municipalities with existing services. Of course, nearly all of the local cities are supporting this plan by the parish, they would be foolish not to, to keep and enlarge their tax base. I suppose if I were a mayor I would do the same with my cities financial well being at heart.  Where does your garden grow? Unless a person is doing something that may directly endanger the health or safety of his/her neighbors,  our local governments need to back off and maybe think about doing like Carroll County, Maryland and start setting an example for Louisiana and the rest of our states.

 

Mark Parham

 

Firm eyes suit claiming BP 401(k) plan broke law

AP Online June 23, 2010 | EILEEN AJ CONNELLY A law firm known for shareholder lawsuits on Wednesday said it is investigating whether the agents who ran BP PLC’s employee savings plan violated federal law by buying BP stock.

New York-based Milberg LLP, which has sued dozens of companies on behalf of investors in many prominent companies, including scandal-plagued Enron, Worldcom and Tyco, said it is looking into whether the fiduciaries of the BP Employee Savings Plan may have violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by buying and holding on to the oil company’s shares “when it was imprudent to do so.” There are four BP Employee Savings Plans, which collectively had nearly $8.27 billion invested at the end of 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission submitted last week. About $2.45 billion of that was in U.S.-traded shares of BP.

BP stock has plunged since its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded nine weeks ago and began spewing up to 2.5 million gallons of oil a day. The stock closed at $60.48 in the session before the blast, and ended Wednesday trading at $29.67, a 51 percent dive Milberg maintained the devastating effects of the spill extend to the BP plan participants. It is looking into whether the fiduciaries of the 401(k) plan knew or should have known of BP’s problematic safety record, including safety measures used on the Deepwater Horizon, which would have made the stock fund an imprudent investment for participants. here bp stock price website bp stock price

David Wray, president of the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America, said such suits have been filed before in cases of corporate fraud and wrongdoing. “In most cases where you see these severe stock drops, you see a similar suit filed on behalf of the plan participants, and in virtually all those cases there have been settlements,” he said.

Wray noted that each case must be decided on the facts particular to that company. The question in this case, he said, would be whether the fiduciary, the person or company that administered the plan, would have any reason to believe something like the Deepwater explosion and subsequent spill would happen. “BP is certainly one of the most studied stocks,” he noted. In fact, Wall Street analysts still favor the hugely profitable company, and some have upgraded the stock because of the share price drop.

Milberg, formerly known as Milberg Weiss, was implicated in a lawsuit kickback scheme in 2008. Authorities said the firm made about $250 million over two decades by filing legal actions on behalf of professional plaintiffs who received $11.3 million in kickbacks. The firm’s co-founder pled guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and was fined and sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role.

Separately, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said Wednesday he hired the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll to represent the New York State Common Retirement Fund in a suit stemming from the explosion and spill.

“BP misled investors about its safety procedures and its ability to respond to events like the ongoing oil spill and we’re going to hold it accountable,” said DiNapoli, who serves as trustee of the $132.6 billion fund. DiNapoli is seeking to lead a class action against BP. The fund held more than 19 million shares at the time of the explosion.

EILEEN AJ CONNELLY


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