Viewpoint: Should taxpayers’ money be used by city to promote ‘green’?In the span of just a few days, the city of Woodbury sponsored two "green" initiatives. While seemingly modest in scope, they ought to ring a few alarm bells for taxpayers growing a bit weary of funding those views with which they may have disagreements.
By: Jason Lewis, Viewpoint Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
In the span of just a few days, the city of Woodbury sponsored two "green" initiatives. While seemingly modest in scope, they ought to ring a few alarm bells for taxpayers growing a bit weary of funding those views with which they may have disagreements.
During the week of Oct. 13, local television personalities Don Shelby and Sven Sungaard hosted separate environmental forums at Central Park.
Both events focused on “climate change” as well as going “green” — code words used these days for restrictions on individual energy use.
And that’s something not every Woodbury taxpayer is equally thrilled about.
Co-sponsors of the events, Vital Aging Network and the Woodbury Sustainiability Committee respectively, unfortunately reveal a similar left of center bias.
The Aging Network is primarily funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, which also funds a slew of liberal groups, including the ACLU, LaRaza, the Childrens Defense Fund, Amnesty International and the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.
The Woodbury Sustainability Committee (a subcommittee of the city’s environmental advisory commission formed in January 2007) is charged with developing a “green” policy for the city, but its ultimate goal seems to be heavy handed sustainability mandates within the city code.
Indeed, in May 2007, sustainability was incorporated as one of the city's seven "Critical Success Factors." The 2030 Comprehensive Plan Update includes a staff directive to make sustainability a key element which will guide development through the period.
The city is also undertaking a sustainability audit ostensibly to aid its efforts in "sustainable development," whatever that means.
Finally, Woodbury also plans to participate in Minnesota's model sustainability ordinances, the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and even join the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).
Roundabouts, windmills, and watering restrictions are nothing compared to what might be coming next. Carbon tax, anyone?
Beyond the righteousness of Al Gore's agenda, the question here is whether the city should use taxpayer funds as agitprop.
I can think of two local television meteorologists who have a differing opinion on man-made climate change and the push for more environmental regulations, but who will most likely never get a rent-free invitation to appear at the City Centre on behalf of a politically correct foundation or city committee.
Someone needs to remind the city council of Thomas Jefferson's warning: “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
The recent property tax increase notwithstanding, city officials (in their ubiquitous “City Update” newsletters) love to remind residents that they're getting more from city hall than they are from their cable TV bills.
But using city funds, however minimal, for this sort of a one-sided agenda, won't convince many taxpayers. Nor should it.
Lewis is a resident of Woodbury.