"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Regional Planning Commissions are Not the Enemy.

Where to begin? This comment in part ( scroll down)  came in late last night spewing the same misinformed and downright falsehoods about Master Plans and Regional Planning Commissions. My comments are in red and one in very large blue. 
It is important once again to note that Moultonboro has not signed on to anything involving HUD or any other Federal money. No one is influencing your Planning Board. The process is completely under our control. 

Current State Rep. Glenn Cordelli apparently buys into the Regional Planning conspiracy theory when he co-sponsored  HB 1573 ( voted overwhelmingly Inexpedient to Legislate in March of 2014) which sought to eliminate Regional Planning Commissions. 
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Regional planning commissions were created in 1967 so that towns could plan together for things that overlapped like bodies of water, roads, bridges and perhaps share schools, fire stations, and police stations.
Fact: New Hampshire’s Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) are advisory bodies voluntarily formed by their member communities. Established by state law in 1969 by the NH Legislature (RSA 36:45-58), most RPCs were created in the early 1970’s. The purpose of the RPCs is to provide technical planning assistance to communities for: 

  • master plans and other local planning studies, 
  • fostering regional cooperation among communities, and 
  • developing comprehensive regional plans for transportation, land use, water resources, housing, economic development, emergency management, energy and other planning topics.
 The primary duty of an RPC is “to prepare a coordinated plan for the development of a region, taking into account present and future needs with a view toward facilitating the most appropriate use of land… the facilitation of transportation and communication… the proper and economic location of public utilities and services; the development of adequate recreational areas; the promotion of good civic design; and the wise and efficient expenditure of public funds.” (RSA 36:45) The recommendations contained in these plans have no force of law or regulatory effect; they are advisory documents intended to assist communities in developing their own plans and in coordinating with one another.
 
The requirement to create master plans exists but the fact remains that regional planners are not elected ---they are appointed. 
One common talking point is that the members are not elected.  A little research will dispel that myth.  Membership in planning commissions is voluntary. They are essentially employed by the member towns. Many if not most of the commissioners are elected to offices in the various member towns. Selectmen, Planning Board, Zoning Board etc. They are appointed by the governing body after recommendation by the Planning Board. No one is preventing anyone from volunteering their time and asking for a seat as a commissioner, instead of making unsubstantiated accusations. 

And they now they have morphed into an agency that wants to promote federal programs as if the ideas within came from the community when they did not.

They have in fact employed actors through a PR firm to try to make people think the ideas came from them. 


In the final report for who gave input on the GSF program, only 600 people from New Hampshire actually participated. Of those 600 people it is likely that 200 were agents for a PR firm known as New Hampshire Listens, a creation of the Carsey Institute. So the ideas are only coming from a few biased foundations, NGOs, and non-governmental agencies.
New Hampshire Listens is a civic engagement initiative of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. They are not a "PR firm" and implying so is extremely misleading. A two phased approach.They used a “community of interest” model to identify specific self-identified groups in New Hampshire who would have views reflecting their particular circumstances. Examples of such groups included youth, those with disabilities, senior citizens, low-income residents, veterans, immigrants, and other minority populations. The second phase of the process was based on a “community of place” model, in which extended deliberations were conducted in 10 different geographic locations representing all areas of the state.1 These events were widely advertised and open to all members of the public. Each discussion lasted three hours and was organized around small groups of 8 to 12 participants working with a trained facilitator.
 


99.9% of all residents of New Hampshire not only do not know what a regional planning commission is or does, but they are unaware of these programs and projects that are being suggested to be included in the master plans. 
There is essentially nothing in the Lakes Region Regional Plan that was purposely put into our Master Plan. Nothing. Our Master Plan rewrite began in 2013 with numerous listening sessions and surveys. There were plenty of opportunities for public input and that input is the basis for our plan. There will be public hearings before it is approved by the Planning Board.  


And for the lucky few who did catch wind of these little meetings that went on, agents like New Hampshire Listens employed actors to bring the participants to a "consensus", the oldest trick in the book. 
 What book? The " actors" are actually trained facilitators that  ( now read this carefully)  are people who volunteer to be facilitators. Could be you. Could be me. Could be anyone. 

The regional planning commissions have become nothing more than mouthpieces for the federal government. Anyone who has the sense enough to read the blog at the GraniteStateFutures.org/news website will get more insight into what it's about as the info couldn't possibly be all posted in one comment section. 
The blog you reference is a prime example of conspiracy theories gone wild. It is a disgrace in my opinion as it uses conjecture and false equivalency to justify their bizarre and outlandish claims and ignores the real facts. It deserves to be ignored and anyone with with half a brain can see through it as nothing more than a conspiracy fire starter. 

At some of these listening sessions, they have discussed poverty, education, health, water ownership, transportation, housing, and medical care. Do you want to put every aspect of your life in the hands of a few unelected bureaucrats who are serving a federal agenda?
Repeat from above: most of the commissioners are indeed elected. The RPCs are governed and controlled by Boards of Commissioners. Each Commissioner is nominated by their community’s Planning Board and appointed by the elected Local Governing Body. 
Author Stanley Kurtz has written numerous books and articles about this.

Please Google search Stanley Kurtz, AFFH, Sustainable Freedom Lab, and American Policy Center.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421389/attention-americas-suburbs-you-have-just-been-annexed-stanley-kurtz

http://granitestatefutures.org/news/2016/06/08/how-huds-affh-rule-jeopardizes-local-control/

I would suggest readers who are interested  to Google Stanley Kurtz and draw your own conclusions. One of his bright ideas is for the Federal government to control what is taught on college campuses. Ill leave it at that. 

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