Regionalism is a philosophy espoused by the federal government, the goal of which is to consolidate smaller governments into a more central system, covering a larger area, with cities being the focus, resulting in decisions being made by fewer people, for the purpose of more even redistribution of the tax dollars, and resulting in less local control .
Regional government, if there is legally even such a thing, is not accountable. Regionalism puts government further and further from the control of the people.
Specifically, in the mid-1960s, the NH legislature created 9 Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) for our state. These unelected and unaccountable boards are made up of appointees. They are funded by taxpayer dollars from all levels, and private funds from non-governmental organizations and foundations, and they promote the Regionalism agenda. They often facilitate the town’s connections to PRIVATE GROUPS (some international) from where most of the ‘urbanist’ ideas originate. They also facilitate the procurement of HUD grants that come from the federal government with many conditions attached.
These RPCs, while exercising undue amounts of influence, have no authority and are not accountable to the voters. Participation in RPCs by towns is voluntary.
At first, these RPCs advised towns on common resources. Some smaller towns shared resources with other towns; water supplies, fire departments, police departments, and school systems. But now, RPCs have morphed into a vehicle for federal government interference. Often the federal agency HUD — (Housing and Urban Development) and other grants are procured which carry social engineering requirements. The ‘New Urbanism‘ agenda is enabled by the use of HUD grants which may result in changes in zoning.
Property ownership is a right.
The agenda followed by the RPCs has always come straight from another non-governmental group called the ‘American Planning Association (APA)‘. If you saw the questions in Bedford’s ‘Age-Friendly Survey‘ you would have seen that several other areas are covered besides seniors. That survey was done at the behest of two other NGOs, The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) who have already solicited several other NH towns to participate in their international program.
A Granite State Future
Last year was the culmination of a project called ‘A Granite State Future‘. Each town that subscribes to an RPC was ‘assisted’ in inserting items into its Master Plan that did NOT come from the taxpayers. The process was done through ‘listening sessions’ conducted by ‘New Hampshire Listens‘, a civic engagement initiative of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. These are merely a group of public relations experts who work for a private foundation (Carsey Institute) and who have admitted they sometimes use ACTORS as facilitators to conduct sessions where the people are expected to be resistant to being steered into a consensus that fits the pro-ordained ideas of the RPCs.
All of these things were made possible by the relationship the towns maintain with the unelected, unaccountable Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs).
The goals of regionalism/new urbanism were made clear from the recommended readings posted on the Granite State Future website. The following three points were taken from the recommended readings found in the Regional Plan Framework Appendices on Housing and Regionalism: “Restructuring Local Government” (Rusk, David. 1993. Cities without Suburbs. Washington D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press). The words emphasized in bold are the most troubling. (http://cms.mildredwarner.org/summaries/rusk1993)
1. Empowering Urban Counties
The most direct and efficient way to create metropolitan government in the majority of metro areas is to empower urban county government. In this scenario, the county government assumes the functions and responsibilities of the municipal governments within its boundaries, and municipalities are abolished.
2. Consolidating Cities and Counties
This involves creating area-wide governmental units, focusing on consolidating municipal governments with their surrounding county governments. Consolidation brings unification of the tax base and centralization of planning and zoning.
3. Combining Counties into Regional Governments
This involves combining several counties in the same metropolitan area into one regional government. Challenges to these regional approaches include potential loss of power at the local level.
Bedford’s RPC is the Southern NH Regional Planning Commission (SNHRPC).
At their 2018 town meeting, Alton NH put a warrant article on their town ballot which allowed the taxpayers to successfully vote to extricate Alton from participating the LRPC.
To sum up, Regionalism takes decisions away from the voters, is largely unaccountable, and has a pre-set agenda which it seeks to impose through more centralized power. In this way it can standardize ‘sustainability’ requirements, while at the same time redistribute the wealth, across a broader area. Some say regionalism sounds like Bolshevism. We say, if it walks like a duck…
Please see additional information under this same tab to learn about the push for ‘new urbanism’.