Many of the right-wing land use zealots who brought Oregon the mess that was Measure 37 have some very strange fantasies.
One is that the United Nations somehow is behind land use planning in the United States – fitting in with the notion that the Secretary General of the U.N. is the antichrist and black helicopters are positioned to take over this country once the liberals have succeeded in handing over the keys to the Constitution.
Gee. Who knew? Guess I was crazy to think that zoning was a good idea. Apparently it's all-American to have gravel pits in residential neighborhoods and chemical plants next to elementary schools.
Today, a letter to the editor in the Salem Statesman Journal spewed out some untruths that led me to fire up Google and uncover some reality. Arlie W. Freauf wrote about a decision by the City Council to stop a helicopter flying school from (noisily) using the Salem airport:
I've lived for many years where I suspect the Leading Edge Aviation helicopters may fly.
When I read that the FAA is threatening to withhold airport money for Salem if the city council doesn't approve the helicopter school, I was reminded about then-Gov. Tom McCall's visit to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 7, 1973, to testify before the Interior and Insular Affairs committee on U.S. Senate S. 268 regarding U.N. land-use planning, which he was promoting.
Environmentalist Tom wanted the federal government to become more intrusive into state land issues. While admitting it was a "cop-out," he recognized local officials could blame the feds because grass-root opposition made it difficult to do certain things.
"So we need the strong sword of Damocles that the federal government can provide," he said. He also advocated putting sanctions on the states that "wouldn't break them" but that they should "sting like the devil."
Socialism requires a powerful central government. People do not easily or naturally adapt themselves to socialism, so it must rest upon force.
Force? Oh, Freauf must mean democracy.
Last time I looked the Salem City Council was elected. So were the state legislators who passed Oregon's pioneering land use legislation, SB 100. And Oregon citizens overwhelmingly voted to roll back the excesses of Measure 37 when they passed Measure 49 last November.
My Googling revealed that another Freauf, Betty, had expressed some remarkably similar sentiments to Arlie's in "Socialism Must Rest Upon Force." Methinks these Freauf's are related.
And equally mistaken. Because when I did some research on Senate Bill 268, which supposedly was about "U.N. land-use planning" that Oregon Governor Tom McCall was promoting in 1973, the truth turned out to be quite different.
Forking out $3.95 to get an article from the New York Times archive (a small price to pay to demolish right-wing falsehoods), I learned that S. 268 was a bipartisan proposal backed by the Nixon administration. Click on the image to read the beginning of the story. Full PDF file is here:
Download s. 268 article.pdf
Well, I'm sure Arlie Freauf would have some explanation. Maybe Tricky Dick was in cahoots with the United Nations. After all, he proposed the Environmental Protection Agency, didn't he? That shows how low he'd go to take away our freedoms.
Bottom line: don't believe what you read in letters to the editor. Especially if they mention "U.N." and "land use" in the same sentence.