I wrote three articles in the past couple of years with these titles: On the Road To A "Carless” Sociey, Brummett Says Amen to A World Without Cars, and How Obama and Governor Beebe Are Weaning Us Off Cars.
See the links to these at the end of the article. You will more fully understand the following information by reading those articles, that is unless you are already knowledgeable about this movement. And everyone should read the articles by Tom DeWeese which are the best summaries of this entire movement that I have found. (See the last three links in red font below for these)
However, I had no idea how far along our own area of Jonesboro was into this movement - so far along that we were told at the meeting by our own Metropolitan Planning Organization that they are planning for a future where our children, grandchildren, and even we who are over 60, will be depending on public transit, bicycles, and walking rather than driving our cars for transportation.
We learned this when some of us attended the Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting for the public on November 15, 2010.
MPPO stands for Metropolitan Planning Organization. "A MPO is a transportation policy-making organization made up of representatives from local governments and transportation authorities. Federal legislation requires the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000"
We saw an ad in the paper for the meeting and noticed there would be information on bike trails. From our research, we knew that bike trails are part of the plan to move us from our cars and put us in (or on) alternate modes of transportation like bikes, buses, and rail and to move us all into urban type high density areas so common in the European nations and Communist countries. We learned after we were there that the meeting was to get the input of the community on the policies and list of transportation-improvement projects in this area.
We were totally flabbergasted to learn how far along our own area is on this road to wean us off cars and to coerce us into using alternate transportation like bikes, buses, walking, and rail.
Muhammad Amin Ulkarim (yes a Muslim) is the person who headed up the meeting and is the Transportation Study Director of this Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Northeast Arkansas. We could only understand about 1/10th of what he was saying because his accent was pretty bad. Fortunately his introduction was short, and then he opened it for questions. I had understood the words in his presentation that "we have been doing _____ since May and June of this year and also understood the words he said, "another mode of transportation, walking , and riding a bicycle." That is basically about all I could understand in his five minutes presentation, and I was straining and concentrating very hard to understand him.
So the first question I asked when I had the chance was this: "Are the bike trails for the purpose of recreation or for actual transportation to reduce the number of cars on the road?
Mr. Muhammad Ulkarim's answer: "The bike trails are mostly recreational now, but in the near future they will be for transportation and to reduce the number of cars on the road."
[He was more honest than I expected him to be on this point since these programs are usually sold to the public very dishonestly; and as we asked the questions, he moved to where we were so I could lip read better]
The next question I had a chance to ask was: Are there other organizations involved with Jonesboro's transportation planning. He said, "Oh yes,"
and named a couple of them. I then asked if Smart Growth was involved.
He said, "Oh yes." [Smart Growth is one of the main words used to describe all the movement from cars to mass transit and bikes and walking so we knew who was behind all of this at this point.] This question brought forth other information. Mr. Muhammad Ulkarim informed us that every city with 50,000 population or more had to have a long term plan in order to get government funds for transportation. He made the point that the federal government regulations are advisory at this time but this MPO and others were requesting the government to make them mandatory. [In other words, they are just asking for the government to control us and take away our freedom.]
When one of the other people with me had a chance, she asked, Is this planning for the next number of years connected to Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development? He said, Oh, yes, Mr. Ewart with JATS (and nodded toward Mr. Steve Ewart him) can tell you about that (or something to that effect,)
JATS stands for Jonesboro Area Transportation Study or the bus transit system in Jonesboro. [Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development is the UN plan that oversees all the plans on global warming, cap and trade, etc. Everything to do with these global warming issues has its roots in the Agenda 21 Sustainable Development plan. ]
Again we had the information we had come for because we know all about Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development.
Mr. Steve Ewart, Director of the Jonesboro Bus Transportation then gave a presentation. He and Mr. Muhammad Ulkarim kept talking about how the world was changing and with all the transportation and congestion, the world was going to have to change. Ewart mentioned that most cities and areas are going to the complete street concept. The complete street concept was a new term for me although I thought I knew what it meant from the context of the conversation. I raised my hand and asked what does complete street mean. His Answer: "Complete streets" means streets that also have bike trails and bus transportation stops, etc in which cars are not the only or main transportation.
(He told me he would send me information on this and he did.)
He (either Steve Ewart or Muhammed Ulkarim said "In national trends, national data, etc. public transit is a necessary compound of sustainability. " He said increasingly you are going to see a combination of buses, rail, public transit, etc. as viable options we want to invest in. We are poised to do whatever the public wants us to do, like special bus trips to events, like ballgames, etc. Mr. Steve Wart said Arkansas has been adopting the complete street concept which means there is no wrong way to travel. Every mode of transportation is considered, bikes, cars, buses, rail, etc. There will be a total array of transportation services. In outer years we will have transfer stations and described these as places where a person driving into town would catch a bus at one of these stations rather than driving around town in his car.
I asked “Who is going to ride these bicycles? He said they were bombarded with requests for bike trails (I doubt that is true but if it is, it is for recreation and not transportation – If people think it won't cost them anything and have these of course people want something for nothing, but they have no idea the bicycles are intended to be used for transportation instead of their cars.
I asked: “How are you going to get us and our kids and grandkids out of the cars and on those buses? Our kids and grandkids are more spoiled than we are.”
Muhammad Ulkarim answered that we were to blame for our kids being spoiled, and we had to help them learn to walk again or something similar to that. Someone in the audience mentioned the obesity problem and indicated biking and walking would be good for our kids.
Mr. Steve Ewart made a point with someone who had asked a question. He said something like this. You know in the last 30 years or so walkways from your house leads to the driveway not the street because you expected to walk to your car and not walk on the street. Then he said something to the effect that it would not be that way in the future implying people would use their walkways to lead to the streets where they would be walking on the streets rather than driving. (One can find this stuff on the web but we were shocked that our own local people were talking like this)
So after this kind of talk for a while, we decided to ask this question:“So do you envision a future where our children and grandchildren will be riding bicycles rather than driving cars?” His answer: It won't be just our kids and grandchildren, it will be you and me – us, indicating it would be coming very soon.
(Most of the people there were over 50 and probably over 60. )
We were just flabbergasted that they had been so brainwashed that they could be this open and honest about what they intended to do. Up to this point we had just been trying to get information. At that point I started making some comments about what they were really doing in the hope of causing some of the people there realize what was happening. There were probably about 20 to 25 people there. I told them something like the following: that the only way they would get people out of their cars and on bicycles or walking would be when they forced us to do so. I told them this was not local planning – that it had all been planned for them and us and coming down from the top– that they planned to tell us where we were going to live, and what kind of transportation we could have, etc.
Mr. Steve Ewart mentioned that increasingly we are seeing bike racks on buses. They also kept talking about how they are doing all these things in other cities and it was the way of the future. I also told them about the videos on the web that show future plans for Kansas City where the trains tracks and trains were the streets instead of cars (http://debbie-pelley.c.topica.com/maaoohBab1r1kaBV5JFcaeQCRr/)
and how that I had even read on the web where they had actually turned some blacktop roads back to gravel roads in Michigan and Pennsylvania to discourage people from using cars. I was just trying to get anyone there to realize there was a problem and that there were deep concerns. (See this link http://debbie-pelley.c.topica.com/maaoohBab1r1kaBV5JFcaeQCRr/
for Kansas City Video and Click the word "embed" at the right side of the picture, and you will see a video that is unbelievably revealing.)I also asked if stimulus money was provided for any of this planning. Mr. Steve Ewart said they were given $778,000 from the stimulus money
(I understand for the Jonesboro Transit system) and chose to do operation and maintenance with it.
A legislator there asked if any of this had anything to do with legislation passed in recent sessions. Mr. Steve Ewart said, Yes and before Ewart could tell him which legislation, the legislator said, " Is it HB2460 of 2007." Mr. Ewart answered yes.
HB2460 of 2007 is the Arkansas bill that created the Global Warming Commission. On October 30, 2008, the Arkansas Governor’ Commission on Global Warming (GCGW) released its final report. This Commission (Beebe appointed 17 of the 21 members) recommended 54 specific policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Just 29 of the recommendations would cost Arkansas $3.7 BILLION for the next few years, and critics say that amount is far lower than the real costs. To put that number in perspective, Arkansas' state budget for 2010 is $4.4 billion. For detailed account of this information, see the five links given below. Some of these recommendations had to do with bike trails and public transportation. For information on cost of recommendations, see this link: http://debbie-pelley.c.topica.com/maaoohBab1r1laBV5JFcaeQCRr/
As we were leaving the meeting, we engaged two men who were at least 65 in conversation, and they were all for these plans. One of them said that moving us into high density population areas was part of the plan and that it was the only way to go in our world today in order to be sustainable. I asked why. I said with abortion and many countries not even having enough births to sustain their population why would we need to do away with cars. He said he saw nothing wrong with abortion and that everything is changing and the US is using 90% of the world’s energy and we had to change. As we were leaving, I told them that I did not think their views were typical of other residents in Jonesboro.
I did note after leaving the meeting that no one at the meeting made any mention of reduction of greenhouse gases, which is the real reason behind this move to do away with cars. The obnoxious liberal Michael Moore made the statement: "The things we call cars may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.
In that respect the leaders of the meeting were deceptive because they kept talking about traffic congestion being the reason we needed to reduce the number of cars.
The purpose of the meeting was supposedly to get input from the community on their long term planning. MPO says in its literature they gave us, "The first step involves finding out what the community wants and needs in a transportation system. Our transportation system should serve and preserve our community values, not just be "a way to get from here to there." There is no way these are the values of the Jonesboro community!
We learned that MPO is "working with local and state governments including: the city of Jonesboro, Brookland, Bono, Bay, Craighead County and State Hw. Department. This is also in their literature.
The Draft of the plan is on http://debbie-pelley.c.topica.com/maaoohBab1r1maBV5JFcaeQCRr/
The draft plan contains policies and a list of transportation-improvement projects in this area.
For footnotes and other links mentioned in article below see this link where this article is posted online.
The public is asked to review the Plan and send their comments via phone, fax, email, or mail to email@example.com.
We must get organized, flood them with comments, and get acquainted with the city council members and be there for the next meeting.For the links referred to in this article, see the end of this article which is posted at http://www.wpaag.org/Agenda%2021%20Carless%20Soc%20J'boro%20MPO%20Mtg.htm
For a radio program on this information recorded Friday, Nov. 19, see this link: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/10960584
There will be another radio program on this today, Monday Nov 22 at 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.on 1230 AM in Jonesboro