My motivation for attending Municpal Planning Board (MPO) hearings is a degree of shock and outrage at how much of our government has gone behind the curtain, so to speak. While these meetings are often advertised in the classified section 10 days beforehand, and state that they are open to the public, I think the mass public is very unaware of how boards such as these operate and who is calling the shots. In fact, in one that I attended, I was one of only three citizens who went to observe. I report that there was little to no opportunity to address the board on any issue they discussed. It was a fait á complit.

The MPO board is appointed and unpaid. They make decisions on what roads and development may be allowed in our area. And then they send their recommendations on to the State DOT or whichever agency in the State government that would have jurisdiction over the requested development or road. Supposedly these are "recommendations." Supposedly these are not "cut in stone" decisions. Supposedly, once the State has blessed the recommendations, the issue comes back to our city council or county commissioners for further blessings. None of the issues before this board ever come to the public on a ballot for referendum, but all of the issues require the use of taxpayer money.

Sitting on this board are a few local elected officials who volunteer their time to attend, just enough to give the board some local "elected" credibility. There are a few government agency bureaucrats on the board. Also, sitting on this board are developers, those who want the board to bless their development activities. The members of this board are known as "stakeholders." Supposedly "stakeholders" are citizens who have a vested interest in the outcome of government actions.

Stakeholders. Hmmmmm....who are "Stakeholders?" There was a time when "stakeholders" in America were voters. They approved or disapproved their "stake" by voting on for specific issues and elected officials, but not any more. "Stakeholders" are now those who are appointed to boards who make the decisions on specific issues. They are appointed to those boards by those who want the boards to mime the same ideology as those who appoint them. In short, it is a crony system where like-minded people appoint like-minded people to override and circumvent the voters. And so far it is very successfully doing exactly what the like-minded want this system to do....rubber stamp the goals of the few over the wishes of the masses.

Stakeholder boards are another hallmark of the Soviet System. Michael Shaw explains

"At a young age I learned that a "soviet" was a system of interconnected councils that work to destroy individual personality, suppress individual potential, and centralize power into the hands of those who seek to control human action and human production."

The Definition of a Soviet:

A soviet is a system of councils that report to an apex council and implement a predetermined outcome, often by consensus, affecting a region or neighborhood.
Members of a soviet council are chosen by virtue of their willingness to comply with that outcome and their one-mindedness with the group.
Soviets are the operating mechanism of a government-controlled economy, whether it be socialism or government-corporate ("public-private") partnerships.

In our area in central North Carolina alone we have multiple unelected Soviet councils. There is the Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG). There is the Unified Development Organization (UDO). There is the Municipal Planning Organization (MPO). There is the Economic Development Council (EDC). Under the actual city council resides the Stormwater Runoff Committee. There is the Citizens Advisory Committee. There is the Clean City Board. There is the Gaston County Restructuring Committee. There is Gaston Together. There is the Historic Preservation Committee. There is the Uptown Revitalization Committee. Of course on top of these you have the usual Chamber of Commerce, United Way, and Rotary Club groups. Then you have countless environmental groups who have emerged over the last few years. The River Keepers being the first one to pop into my head. The Carolina Thread Trail is another.

Groups of committees all vying for the favors of government to suit their own goals. Well, OK fine, but this involves more than just petitioning the government for grievances or favors. This involves groups forming what they call "consensus," when in fact they are a bunch of fractured special interest groups who are not representing "consensus" at all.

In America's founding documents, the true stakeholders of our country are the citizens. The Constitution does not say that some well-connected, appointed, few are the deciders of the fate of our citizens. Through our elected representatives, we, as citizens, hold the keys to our own policy decisions. At least that is the promise of our America.

Now comes a structure into our country that we Americans do not recognize as legitimate, but is so flattering to some egotistical and corrupt power hungry citizens that they are participating in the destruction of our freedoms, our Constitution itself. Somewhere along the way we have created too many chiefs and not enough Indians. In other words, there are a lot of Americans sitting around wanting to be chiefs, thinking they can tell other Americans how to live and what to do without going through the electoral process.

As I write this, unelected boards with the new "stakeholders" are making decisions about our lives. If you aren't one of them, be assured these "stakeholders" are not looking out for your interest, but their own. Should you be invited to be a "stakeholder" realize you are disenfranchising the rest of your fellow Americans by participating in a process that gives them no voice. That, friends, is wrong. That is the Soviet system, not the American way. That makes you an enemy of the U.S. Constitution and no friend of mine.

Editor's Note: This is the second article in a series. Read Part 1 here. Read Part 3 here.

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