Sacred (Saugerties Assertive Citizens for Responsible Economic Development), formed in September 2011 to “expose the threat to home owners of the Affordable Housing project known as Dickinson Keep,” has become known in the last year as one of the busiest Tea Party-affiliated activist groups in the Hudson Valley. It has issued e-mail blasts about a flurry of actions designed to focus on “issues and policies which threaten private property rights.” Earlier this month, Lynn Teger of New City in Rockland County gave a talk entitled “What is Agenda 21? Is smart growth really smart (or should we be suspicious?)”
“Do you own a home or a business? This will affect you!,” read the e-blasts. “The beginning stages of a new ‘sustainable’ re-development plan known as U.N. agenda 21 is being implemented in your town right under your nose and against the will of the people, and we need to stop it from becoming law. If we do not come together as a community, our rights to private property will soon end.”
The Saugerties right hasn’t had so much fun since the black helicopters the UN allegedly dispatched to suppress dissent in the region. Over 75 came out to attend the event at the Saugerties Senior Center on Market Street, including a representative for congressman Chris Gibson. Most of the fervid crowd stayed for the entire two-hour presentation, asking questions about how they could stop planning, smart growth, sustainable, and communitarian efforts in their local communities, and stating their opinions about the plans for global rule of everyone from Ben Bernanke and George H.W. Bush to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
“This feels like such a battle,” said Saugerties event moderator Gaetana Ciarlante at the event’s start, announcing an upcoming village meeting on affordable housing in the town.
Teger, whose background is as a commercial real estate broker, talked about how economic decisions of the past eleven years haven’t made sense to her when seen through the prism of her professional background. She raised eyebrows about the 9/11 tragedy, noting the convenient ways in which it pushed more money into real-estate markets that were already shaky. She noted how she ran for office, lost, and then realized what she really wanted to speak about was the way that Agenda 21, the 1992 international treaty to address growing environmental problems from a global basis, was working to not only undermine our nation’s sovereignty but also implement a complete change of the way we’ve grown used to living.
“This is not a right/left, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican issue, it’s an American issue,” the registered Republican noted. “I got tired of being treated like I was crazy for bringing this stuff up …. I have enough information to keep us here a week if you wanted.”
Working through a Power Point presentation, Teger played a recording of her local town supervisor making fun of her on a local radio call-in show, and then started presenting a flurry of materials on the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which has since added to its name “Local Governments for Sustainability.” She showed maps that seemed to indicate to her a wish to depopulate the U.S. Her screen images settled on lists of what this global planning effort promotes, from land trusts, comprehensive plans, greenways and bike/walking paths to mixed-income housing and the promotion of hamlet cluster housing, as she gradually built a case against all such endeavors.
“Now I’ll start connecting the dots here in Saugerties,” she added, showing portions of the town’s comp plan, bringing up the costs of affordable housing (on a state and federal level) with the question, “Aren’t we broke?”, and wondering why anyone would take a governmental grant these days given the background agreements taking such money would involve.
“I’m not here to convince you of anything,” Teger said. “I’m just sharing my research.”