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Protesters Expected at Napa Workshop

Jeering demonstrators have disrupted public workshops being held around the Bay Area to get public input on how to balance housing and transportation needs with a state mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The next workshop is in Napa tonight.

Large groups of shouting, sign-carrying protesters have recently disrupted several workshops around the Bay Area, held to gather public input on regional planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's social engineering!" repeatedly yelled one demonstrator at Tuesday night's One Bay Area , as heard in our video by San Rafael Patch editor Nicole Ely.

In Santa Rosa last week, KSRO reported that police had to remove a group of protesters who wouldn't stop shouting and thrusting signs in front of city officials at another workshop in the series.

"It was about as anti-democratic as anything I’ve ever seen in this county,” Santa Rosa City Council member Gary Wysocki told KSRO interviewer Curtiss Kim afterward.

“These folks don’t believe in the democratic process: That’s the message I got,” Wysocki continued.

“They didn’t come to listen, they came to shout people down.”

Groups of as many as 20 protesters have also interrupted recent workshops in Dublin and Concord held by One Bay Area, which is a campaign name for the joint effort by regional authorities such as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments to create a nine-county Sustainable Communities Strategy that complies with a 4-year-old state law on air pollution. 

State mandate or secret U.N. link?

The next workshop in the series is scheduled for Napa tonight, and regional planners appear to be expecting another round of heckling.

Protesters say they believe the regional planning initiative is linked to , a 1992 United Nations report that makes non-binding recommendations for sustainability and environmental responsibility in fighting poverty.

In fact, regional authorities say, the public workshops are a way for local communities to have a voice in how their regions comply with a state mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

As Ely reports on San Rafael Patch: In 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 375, which requires the state's metropolitan areas to develop  long-term plans for land use, housing and transportation that will reduce the per-capita carbon dioxide emissions from cars.

Silencing local voices?

By shouting down speakers at the regional workshops, the protesters are depriving local communities of their right to be represented in the final plan for emissions reduction under S.B. 375, said Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht.

Eve Kahn, a Napa Realtor and longtime anti-sprawl activist, also sees the protests as counterproductive—not only to the goal of regional planning to reduce emissions, but also to the activists' own objectives.

"I can't believe that being disruptive to this point is helping their message," Kahn said.

Tonight's meeting, scheduled for 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the , is currently "overbooked," according to the onebayarea.org website; a waiting list is available.

Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Added after initial posting: "It was about as anti-democratic as anything I’ve ever seen in this county,” Santa Rosa City Coucil member Gary Wysocki told KSRO interviewer Curtiss Kim after (the workshop in Santa Rosa). “These folks don’t believe in the democratic process: That’s the message I got,” Wysocki continued. “They didn’t come to listen, they came to shout people down.”
Scott Yeager January 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
“They didn’t come to listen, they came to shout people down.” Sounds familiar. It could be about health care town halls from a couple of years ago.
Xulio Soriano January 19, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Excuse my language, but these protesters are truly pathetic. And what wrong is there if our community passionately followed the 1992 United Nations report "that makes non-binding recommendations for sustainability and environmental responsibility in fighting poverty"? We should have proactively implemented this recommendation 20 years ago. I'm on the waiting list for this forum. I hope to get in!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 05:53 AM
I'll report more tomorrow but Julio, I wish you'd just showed up: They let everyone in and it wasn't crowded at all. You would have been one of the only Latinos there, I am pretty sure, and without question the youngest participant. The only accents I heard were American and European and the speakers were almost all middle-aged to late 70s. It wasn't very representative. You can still send comments to info@OneBayArea.org, and I hope you will.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Here's the Register's same-night report on what went down: http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/contentious-meeting-explores-future-housing-transit-policies/article_efd2c1c0-432b-11e1-a788-0019bb2963f4.html
Genji Schmeder January 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM
The Register article introduced my comments at the meeting with this sentence: "Genji Schmeder, a 25-year resident of Napa County, said he was concerned that the county’s bus system is underutilized, and questioned the need to spend more money on it." Actually, I did not question expenditures on the bus system, rather spoke of the need for public participation to make it more successful.
Genji Schmeder January 20, 2012 at 01:04 PM
The meeting in Napa was not very productive, due mainly to the paranoid anti-UN group who seemed about half the participants and were able to dominate discussion. Most of the paranoid group came from other counties and had attended earlier meetings which became notorious through their disruptions. In Napa there was little disruption but the paranoia came through loud and clear. Most other participants defended the planning process against the paranoics' attacks instead of voicing their own ideas for Napa county's role in Bay Area plans. Thus the United Nations conspiracy nonsense, expressed by the paranoids and rebutted by others, took up most of discussion time. But even without this diversion, I wouldn't have had high expectations for the meeting. The official presentations and responses were directed toward people with little experience with local government and planning, whereas the non-paranoid participants, most of whom I know personally from more than two decades of my own community involvement, represented a wealth of experience and developed ideas. The movie shown in the transportation workshop was not only dumbed-down, but also carried an annoying "musical" sound-track and used visuals that were comically simplistic. Despite all that, I don't regret attending this meeting since a strong statement of community support for orderly democratic discussion was needed in the face of organized paranoia.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Genji, good summary. They WERE loud. That one guy just wouldn't stop yelling at everyone. I also found it offensive that they kept saying the meeting hadn't been publicized in the Register, when I saw it listed there more than once (grumbling to myself that they hadn't posted an announcement on Patch as well). Speaking of paranoia: My Dad just emailed me a quote from the New York Times about a recent political event on a decomissioned naval ship. He writes, "It was from Gail Collins's piece yesterday describing Santorum's "event" with a very small audience aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C.: 'Although the meeting area [the hangar deck] was cold and smelled vaguely fishy, everyone in the audience seemed upbeat, even the woman who expressed concern that the federal government was planning to round up local Tea Party members and put them in FEMA concentration camp "that has a razor-wire fence around it." '"I'm not familiar with that at all,' said Santorum …'"
Scott Yeager January 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
In saner times these people wouldn't be taken seriously. Now they have a political party to participate in.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
The tea party? I dunno. The only party affiliations I heard mentioned were Republican and Democratic–there appeared to be members of both in the protest group, and they brought flyers from the Democrats-against-Agenda-21 group. Nobody brought up the tea party.
Camille January 20, 2012 at 11:17 PM
The protesters, so-called, as well as the people holding the forum on planning are not telling the truth to the citizens or the media. It may be an internal dispute but whether it follows the ideas of the One Bay Area/Agenda 21 or the state transportation planning on "green" development, it is all designed to re-form government, undercutting local elected officials' authority.
Pam Silleman January 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I wish I could have gone last night, I really wanted to learn more about all of this. I just don't know what is wrong with Napa's current plan? I have seen these 'sustainable developments' and they really do not look like 'our city'. They promote clustered housing and stacked type units. My ex's winery property in Green Valley is currently being developed under this 'sustainable' plan. It struck me strange that the county chose the civil engineer/design group that was more than twice the cost of the others?........But, after seeing the plans they presented and reading more about them, I started to 'get it'. They chose the 'green company', there is a group of 'chosen' trade people that get the green light (so to speak). Their plans, at first glance, were charming! They really were reminded me of traveling in Italy, the cute old two story buildings along the narrow lanes...until I realized: 'there are no garages'...........no, that is part of 'the plan'. To encourage us to not use gas powered vehicles; their living 'clusters' will be within walking distance of the proposed 'commercial/retail' areas. Too controlled and creepy to me. Napa is fine the way it is. From what I have seen from anything 'green' the only 'green' is in the pockets of those promoting it.
Pam Silleman January 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM
There is a little book that I have bought (but of course not READ yet): It says it will help us understand what this is all about: http://www.amazon.com/BEHIND-GREEN-MASK-U-N-Agenda/dp/0615494544/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327084565&sr=1-1
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 21, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Here's a link to the complete text of Agenda 21: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_01.shtml.
robert b January 22, 2012 at 07:43 AM
Pam, Napa, thanks to the ag land preservation laws, is already fairly free from sprawling, wasteful housing. Well, there's American Canyon, I guess. That law dictates what can and can't be done with a persons' property. Without it, the Napa Valley could very well look more like Concord or Fairfield, and it wouldn't have the strong economic engine it now has with the wine and hospitality businesses. Is that what you'd like to see in Napa? Didn't the facilitator say that the development decisions are going to be made by your (well, not your, since you're from some other county) elected officials? Your comment underlines your lack of basic understanding of the whole planning and funding process. Perhaps it would be better to tone it down until you know something. I loved it when Bill Dodd said to that extra loud drama-queen guy "I've never heard of Agenda 21 until I heard it from you!" Amen!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Robert, thanks for the comment. It was good to meet you last week. Just FYI: Pam's a credentialed Napan: http://patch.com/A-qyQs
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) January 26, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Update/correction: In the original posted version of this article, I quoted a forwarded email from a state employee without getting his permission. This was wrong and I apologize to all concerned. I've deleted the quote.
Neil Rice December 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
What you don't understand and what they will never tell you is they don't care that the buses are under utilized. The plan is to eventually move EVERYONE off the rural land and inside the Urban Growth Boundary, make it too expensive for most people to afford a car then you will be forced to use the bus. It is called Agenda 21 (don't discount it until you have researched it) Look at the old Santa Cruz plan. It is actually called Santa Cruz Local Agenda 21. Until people started catching on then they changed the names, the words and reasons for doing what they are doing. Bottom line is Global Governance (Global Communism) no private land ownership…….just look around they are faking data to take land away from people (Endangered Species Act, Clear Air, Clean Water act…..they abuse these acts in order to get people off the land). These meetings are a smoke screen and the protestors know it. The outcome of the meeting is determined before you even walk in the door. A smoke screen to make you THINK you have a say in the plan. But the plan is already drawn up and they are fooling you into thinking the people had a part in the decisions. YOU HAVE NO SAY ABOUT WHAT THEY HAVE IN STORE FOR CA. Look at your state for Gods sake and wake up. It is almost too late for CA. You will have the Communist flag flying over your capitol in the future. You have Mikail Gorbachev, Arnie and Nancy Pelosi running your state. Now what side of the fence do you think they stand on?

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