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Regionalism vs. Freedom

Regionalism vs. Freedom

Did you know there is a movement underway in Montana to eliminate local governments control and establish new regional governments to take their place? The federal government has already funded a program to do just that.

The Yellowstone Business Partnership is a private non-profit group with approximately 155 private members and 4 government members. The Yellowstone Business Partnership goal is to create “a region that is revered for its unique landscapes, dynamic communities and prosperous economies and we see a future where:  Integrity of environment and experience is preserved – Growth is managed and monitored – sustainability is an operating principle- communities diversify and thrive – a civic and caring society results.” This doesn’t sound bad until you realize to achieve this socialist plan, the Yellowstone Business Partnership is dedicated to eliminating local governments and promoting a new regional government system.

The federal government has a large pot of stimulus money set aside to implement regional planning programs. Money is given in the form of planning grants to local jurisdictions and private groups to be used to develop regional plans which will promote a sustainable future. A sustainable future sounds good until you realize that their sustainable future is one where regional governments will decide where all new development takes place, what kind of development is going to be allowed and what transportation improvements will happen in your community. These are decisions that should be made at the local government level but now will be made by a regional bureaucracy.

Yellowstone Business Partnership has already received federal stimulus money to develop a plan that divides a 25 county area in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming that surrounds Yellowstone and Teton National Parks into 6 sub-regions. The six sub-regions will each have their own bureaucracy that will control all new development and transportation spending and supersede any local control. One of these sub-regions, the Billings-Cody Sub-Region, is made up of Sweet Grass, Yellowstone, Carbon, Stillwater counties in Montana and Park County in Wyoming.

As part of a $150,000 grant from USDA Rural Development and Idaho Transportation Department, YBP has produced a document entitled “Regional Land Use and Economic Planning in the Billings-Cody Sub-Region” (click here to read the document) . This document promotes YBP’s vision of what the future should be in Sweet Grass County. It is to be used by city and county planners as a tool for them to develop affordability bands for residential housing and “expand the regional conversation by forming more formal coalitions, in particular, a regional council of governments.”

One has to wonder why the federal government is handing over money to a private group to develop regional plans for Montana. The answer is actually pretty clear. The current federal government is interested in eliminating local control and moving to regional governments which will implement new federal programs to” save the environment”. They have decided that they know best how and where you should live, work and play. They want to regulate all future development so it will force one lifestyle on to everyone.

Regionalism takes away your freedom of choice, and this erosion is happening without your ever being a part of the discussion because the federal government is funding a private elite environmental group to put this plan in place. Typically regional boards are composed of appointed officials who do not directly have to answer to the people. This lack of accountability allows these boards and commissions to act in abusive ways that would not be tolerated by the local constituents.

This is just another end run around local sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece. Regional governance cannot coexist with a republican form of government since it does away with or seriously dilutes local representation, eliminating the boundaries between towns, counties, states……and, ultimately, even countries.

Everyone who cares about their local community should to go to the   Yellowstone Business Partneship website and look at the membership list. You can then make a statement about how much you object to this attempt to eliminate local control by boycotting those businesses.

If you think our effort to expose the agenda of the Yellowstone Business Partnership is having no effect, read what they recently said in their “Project Narrative” which was presented to the Billings MPO so they would sign on the YBP Greater Yellowstone Consortium:

“The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program and the sponsoring agencies appear to be targeted by property rights activists in our region, especially with libertarian-leaning online journals, blogs and editorials citing “studies” on public transit inefficiencies, “waste” of ARRA dollars (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 better known as Stimulus Money), and United Nations conspiracy theories.  YBP has scrupulously maintained an apolitical stance since its inception in respect to diverse opinions of its business constituencies.  However, having been targeted in several recent articles related in part to our pursuit of this grant, our volunteer leadership, staff and local government partners will need to be prepared for hostile audiences and possible misinterpretation of both our organizational mission and the objectives of this grant program.”

Apolitical????  Misinterpretation???

Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people. -Thomas Jefferson

One Response to “Regionalism vs. Freedom”

  1. Maggi Dunakin says:

    The only things these people are interested in sustaining are their incomes and as much control as they can get their hands on. I will fight like a mama bear to keep the few individual liberties I still have.

    “Will need to be prepared for hostile audiences”? They have no idea. There is no misinterpretation here, I get their message loud and clear.

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