Thank you for reporting about the Ravalli County Planning Board’s recent meeting during which Shannon Plocher ignored the concerns of the County Attorney and county residents, and offered a prayer. I was relieved to see the featured letter in Opinions by Elliott B.Oppenheim of Lolo, citing the case law that enjoins government business to be done in a neutral atmosphere. I would encourage Mr. Plocher to pray unceasingly, as the Bible encourages, in silence.
As a citizen who was not familiar with the next agenda item at that meeting, I’ve done some research about Agenda 21. Madison County Commissioner Dan Happel apparently talked at length at the meeting about Agenda 21, in lieu of discussing practical matters facing the County Planning Board. Perhaps talking is too mild a word. Commissioner Happel made strong innuendos, not based on fact, which indicated Agenda 21 would “destroy our consititution and destroy the middle class….”
Actually, in 1989 the General Assembly of the U.N. called for a meeting of all the nations on Earth, which then convened in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From this unprecedented meeting of over 100 world leaders, Agenda 21 was developed. Leading up to 1992, people representing all walks of life met, discussed and prepared extensive national reports from which the main agenda of the Earth Summit was drafted. Elders from a tiny Pacific Island nation, the Parliament of the United Kingdom, even the Swaziland Boy Scouts, participated in these preliminary meetings. Far from encouraging Communism, this gathering and the data it generated was entirely democratic, inclusive and diverse.
The focus of Agenda 21 is sustainability of the planet’s resources, clean water and air (not just for “developed nations,” but for all humans), waste management and sustainable economic growth. These are household goals for myself and my neighbors. Any homemaker can support these values. That a group of people from all over the earth affirmed these values, and have suggestions to implement them on a large scale, is good politics, not “wildly unpopular,” as Mr. Happel stated.
In the future, I would like the County Planning Board to stick to its stated purpose and regular agendas. If they feel moved to educate themselves or the public about international affairs, I suggest they sponsor a conference in which diversity and inclusiveness is affirmed, and both sides of issues are presented, that focuses on clean water, sustainable agriculture and economic stability, which are most pressing issues in our County.