For years now the Roanoke Tea Party has waged a fruitless and embarrassing battle. The goal: persuade Roanoke County to drop its $1,200 a year membership in the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives, also known as Local Governments for Sustainability.
The Tea Partiers believe ICLEI is part of a United Nations Agenda 21 scheme to control local land-use planning in America. This has elicited much eye-rolling from a majority of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, who’ve pretty given the bum’s rush to the Tea Party. Foiled at every turn, they’ve now taken their cause to the friendlier ears of state lawmakers in Richmond.
They’re proudly supporting HB 2223, a bill sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County. It would prohibit Roanoke County from paying dues to ICLEI, which would end its membership. Cline says that specific consequence was not his precise intention. He’s seeking to bar every political subdivision in Virginia from membership in ICLEI and some other groups.
Those localities also include Roanoke, Arlington County, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Alexandria and Winchester. The bill will be considered by the House Rules Committee this afternoon.
I predicted such legislation in this column back on Oct. 21. Tuesday, I read Cline’s two-sentence bill to Hollins District Supervisor Richard Flora, a Republican. He sounded incredulous.
“It’s pure hogwash,” Flora said. “To tell them ‘you can’t belong to an organization that’s concerned about the environment?’ Or ‘you should stop planning for the future of your community?’
“Just when you think the Virginia General Assembly has reached its maximum level of incompetence, you get fooled,” Flora added. “I think it’s pretty idiotic legislation.”
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