I am writing you about a project called “Seven 50, SE Florida Prosperity Plan.” I became aware of Seven50 late last year and began asking local officials about the plan. And, I have since asked people in our community if they were aware of it. An overwhelming majority has still never heard of it.
Seven50 is funded by a 2010 US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), specifically from the Office of Sustainable Communities Initiative, grant to the tune of $4.25 Million.
Here is a map of these planning grants throughout the country: http://portal.hud.gov/
The Seven50 plan is to provide a long-term economic blueprint for a seven county region (Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties) for the next fifty years. The plan focuses on central economic planning: land use, property rights, resource allocation, transportation, and life-styles. If this sounds dubious to you already, it is because the program is designed and marketed to be misleading.
Do you think that fifty years ago, government officials could accurately predict the dramatic impact technology would have on our economy, such as with production processes, capital equipment, & innovation? Did they really foresee the iPhone back in 1963?
Fifty years ago, they could not even reasonably foresee that they would need to bailout massive industries and local governments nearly ten years later, such as Lockheed Martin, Chrysler, Penn Station, and New York City to name a few. And, fifty years before that, they established the Federal Reserve System to maintain “desirable” inflation and unemployment levels. How has that central economic planning worked out?
But, trust them with this fifty-year vision!
I attended my first Seven50 meeting in April in what was the plan’s second work group. During the first half of the meeting, we heard from four speakers. One of the presenters made a point of assurance that the only HUD requirement was the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA), which studies the demographic breakdowns of neighborhoods in the region. The presenter’s statement of FHEA being the only HUD requirement was not truthful. The pre-selected “Livability Issues” were identical to that of HUD’s Sustainability Communities Initiative. See HUD principles here: http://portal.hud.gov/
And, Seven50 principles here: http://seven50.org/plan/
During the second half, participants broke into workgroups. In these workgroups, we were provided with a spreadsheet inclusive of the pre-selected “Livability Issues” (i.e.: Economic Development, Housing, Climate Change, etc) with pre-selected executive authorities (i.e.: State, Local, or Federal Government, Seven50 was also included) assigned for these issues. I asked the meeting’s facilitator: “who identified the priority of these issues?” “The participant’s from the first meeting” was the reply. At the beginning of the meeting, I noticed that about 75-80% of the participants were government officials, largely represented by staff from various agencies Planning Department’s but also some elected officials. So, I asked the facilitator how many of the first meetings participants were private citizens or property owners and how many were government officials or the plan’s stakeholders? “We do not have that data” was the reply. They had the data breakdown of the number of Whites, Blacks, & Hispanics by neighborhoods across seven counties encompassing six-million people, but they conveniently did not have the breakdown of 200 plan participants by government agents, plan stakeholders, and private citizens.
They discussed only allowing residential neighborhoods near transportation hubs, stack and pack housing, forcing people to walk their commute, and mandating open-space requirements for property owners without just compensation.
As I analyzed the pre-identified issues provided to me, I noticed several important issues were absent. Protection of property rights, enforcement of voluntary contracts, and protection of individual liberty: the fundamental issues that the American people have entrusted to government was nowhere to be found. Core concepts of a prosperous society were not included such as sustaining free voluntary exchange, and the valuations and actions of individual human beings. Even the preservation of government decisions made only by elected officials was omitted. Appointed boards that are not answerable to the public are common in dictatorships and monarchs, but it has no place in a Constitutional Republic. As I began to raise the questions why these important items were absent, the facilitator informed me: “that was not the purpose of this meeting and to write my questions down and submit them.”
Rest assured that these concerns went to the back of a file somewhere never to be opened again.
On Friday, May 17, 2013, I attended the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council’s meeting to hear the presentation on Seven50. The presenter was Andres Duany, a stakeholder in the plan. The presentation was an expose on double talk, a remarkable phenomenon. Mr. Duany highlighted some problems prohibiting economic prosperity such as: 1) businesses not locating to Florida because they can’t get a permit, 2) or the inability of a firm trying to buy shellac without consulting the EPA, or 3) scaling back the regulatory environment to that of 1970 when he started his business. Quite frankly, I agreed that these were major problems prohibiting prosperity. After all, it restricts voluntary exchange and alters individual human action. His solution, though, is to create a Regional Government that “transcends local governments.” His words, not mine. I was baffled by the lack of logic in his analysis. He correctly identified government as the problem, but his solution is to create more government!
Mr. Duany talked about a local government in the central part of Florida that he described as “fascist.” He then followed assuring the audience that “think what you want about fascism, but it is efficient.” I found this disturbing and couldn’t believe what he was saying.
So, we grabbed audio of the presentation and converted to digital for everyone to hear. The top video in this link is a snippet from Mr. Duany’s presentation to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council on May 17 about fascism and our community (full presentation recording to come shortly): http://thelibertycaucus.com/
The only thing efficient about fascism is the erosion of individual liberty, private property, and free markets. Quite simply, fascism is state control of the means of production, an authoritative public-private cooperation, central economic planning. History has consistently shown that central economic planning does not lead to prosperity, only sustained poverty.
Seven50 attempts to hide behind “Sustainability.” I’m sure you have seen sustainability many times. Sustainability is an attractive term. In fact, most people would prefer to be sustainable. Most prefer to be self-sustainable. Most people prefer to leave their children with a better life than they had. They intend to deed their property and wealth. Most have the desire to conserve their resources, after all, how many people do you know that have a desire to waste their resources and wealth?
But, who decides what is and is not sustainable? On what logical basis sustainability is calculated? And, exactly whose ‘good’ is considered for benefit? These questions are ignored and never answered.
Our local government officials are perplexed why people such as myself are not excited about Seven50. They are ecstatic to see this plan through. I am supposed to be ecstatic about bureaucrats one-thousand miles away, taking my hard earned money, dangling it over the heads of my local and state governments as a grant to undermine the rights and freedoms that we all own, all while limiting our options of achieving prosperity. And, you are expected to be ecstatic as well.
No thanks! Living in serfdom is not desirable.
We could ask Westchester County, NY how it worked out for them. The people of Westchester are suing HUD for their implementation and subversion of property rights. Westchester County is engaged in an expensive lawsuit against HUD over issues such as race, taxes, zoning, and other sensitive suburban issues that were previously unseen.
Here is an article on Westchester: http://online.wsj.com/article/
I hope you will join us in stopping Seven 50 by spreading the information about the plan and voicing opposition to our local government officials. We have set up http://stopseven50.com to help share resources and information about this plan. This June 19-21 is the next Seven50 “Summit.” We are looking to pack the event with private citizens that are concerned about their property rights, individual liberty, and free markets.
I remain in liberty,
PS Sign The Petition To Stop Seven50