That 34-year-old group shares information about the unique planning needs of small towns and rural areas, and it has many knowledgeable and welcoming members. They invited me to talk about columns I had written on the Roanoke Tea Party.
Those have mostly focused on the Tea Party’s long and unsuccessful campaign to persuade the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors to drop its $1,200-a-year membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
What I learned from the folks at the RPC was probably more interesting than anything they learned from me. It was essentially this: the battleground over the ICLEI-membership issue is likely to soon shift to Richmond.
For a couple of years now, this fight has been raging at the local government level. Local Tea Party groups have been hammering county boards of supervisors and city and town councils in many Virginia localities.
In some places, such as Albermarle County, they’ve won over a majority of supervisors with a paranoid conspiracy theory that ICLEI membership is a step toward United Nations control of local land-use planning. James City County and Abingdon have also dropped their ICLEI memberships.
But then there are places like Roanoke County, where a majority of supervisors has twice rejected pulling out of ICLEI. There, sanity has prevailed, and that’s been very frustrating for the Tea Party crowd. That’s why the fight will probably move to Richmond.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.