Keeping an Eye on Local and State Government Officials

Local Citizens Learn More about ICLEI from Roberta Fonzi at Atascadero Library

Local Citizens Learn More about ICLEI from Roberta Fonzi at Atascadero Library

Most of my life I have tried to be a good citizen. I studied issues and candidates before each election so I could vote intelligently in even the smallest local elections, and I almost always have voted. The only elections I have missed were a couple of small local ones. I was never politically active outside of that. But now things have changed.

I used to trust my elected officials to do what was best for the community, never suspecting that even my local government officials were actively working to destroy my rights as a property owner through onerous regulations. However, about a year ago I stopped believing even local politicians are representing me. Too many of them have signed onto ICLEI — The International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives.  This council was created in 1990 as a non-governmental arm of the United Nations to implement United Nations Agenda 21, which I’d never even heard of until last year, on the local level.

The purpose of ICLEI (pronounced ick-ly) is to influence and change local governmental policies that affect every aspect of our lives. The County Supervisors and our local cities (except for Atascadero, which just stopped paying for their services) pay for ICLEI’s consulting services. As a result, I and other concerned citizens have had to begin to spend valuable hours of our days attending meetings and hearings to protest onerous regulations being imposed that hurt  home owners, vintners, farmers, and other businesses.

Believe me,  I don’t relish giving my daytime working hours to attend boring meetings of the city council or the Board of Supervisors or town hall meetings held from time to time by other government officials. I do so only in self-defense and in defense of the way of life I grew up when  private property rights were respected except in cases of a real public need for a public project, and then after due process, a government could exercise their right of eminent domain to build a school or a road or such. They could not take property from one owner to sell it to someone who could generate more tax dollars for them. Now they can.

Now I feel the need to keep an eye on my public officials by attending some of these meetings, but like many, I’m not sure what to do when I get there. There’s an easy way to learn how to effectively influence public officials so our time attending meetings isn’t wasted. On Monday, February 13, at 6 PM, there will be a presentation on how to effectively make your voice heard. Come learn now to make a difference. Local wines will be served.

Free presentation and lecture with handouts by Kevin P. Rice.

Get more information on this event here.  You should RSVP at so they can have enough wine, but it’s also OK to bring friends at the last minute.

Many tonight will be in Arroyo Grande tonight at a town hall meeting called by our State Senator, Sam Blakeslee to get our response to new regulations being proposed by the Water Board.  The event will include a panel of community leaders representing Agriculture, Local Government, Business, and Builders – each sharing how these regulations would affect their industry or community. Those of us in rural areas are concerned about new regulations affecting our wells and septic tanks — things we’ve paid for and have always taken care of ourselves.

The meeting is tonight, February 9, 5:30pm- 7:30pm, in case you read this in time and would like to make your own voice heard on how these regulations might affect you and your business or property rights. It will take place at the O’Conner Board Room, Lucia Mar School District, 602 Orchard St., Building B, Arroyo Grande. These regulations, if passed, will affect use of your well and your septic tank. Not in a rural area? Water runoff regulations still might affect your property. Today you may not be the one most affected, but your turn is coming if our officials get the idea we will only fight when our own rights are trampled on.

The ultimate goal of Agenda 21 is to move us into high density housing near rail transportion such as they are trying to build in the Central Valley. They want to get us out of our cars and trucks, and and onto public transportation for places we can’t ride bikes or walk to. More about this in a post  to come.