The profile of the Tea Party in The Bellingham Herald made it clear why this group is losing support. A case in point is its embrace of "Agenda 21," which I believe to be one of the more preposterous conspiracy theories to appear in a number of decades. Yes, the United Nations did host a conference in the early 1990s where nations embraced statements about "sustainability." To go from this to a claim that all proponents of land use planning and conservation are somehow pawns of the U.N. is ridiculous.
This year, our family took an "American history" trip. We learned that Williamsburg, Va., founded in 1699, was planned to be a "new and well-ordered city" as the new capital of Virginia. Even earlier, the plan for Annapolis, Md., was created in 1694. We also learned that George Washington, a surveyor, coined the term "townhouse," and even built and lived in one himself for a time. Washington, as President, commissioned the plan for Washington, D.C., which laid out the streets and buildings we can see this day. On his farm at Mount Vernon, he was an early proponent of forest conservation.
Looking at more recent history, it is not hard to find out that comprehensive growth planning at the state level can be traced back at least to 1969, when Governor Tom McCall, a Republican, passed the nation's most comprehensive land use planning law. The common-sense notion of planning for the future is as American as apple pie.