Problems with Sustainability Plan DRAFT - Please Pause on Rubber Stamping

April 11, 2011

Dear Scott County Board of Supervisors: 

Please find below, instances where the term "require" is used in the Sustainability Plan DRAFT, the plan proposed by the county staff to be adopted by this Board by the end of April:

Page 3
For others, the awareness and understanding, as well as the actions that may be required to embrace sustainability, may occur much slower.

Page 34
Action: Review Iowa Department of Natural Resources lake and beach monitoring
programs ....for program requirements and opportunities for funding.

Page 36
Incorporate low-emission requirements into bid specifications, both purchasing and contracting.

Page 37
Action: Review building codes for impediments and/or requirements supporting
energy conservation and update accordingly.

Page 38
Action: Review building codes for impediments and/or requirements supporting
universal design and update accordingly.

Page 41 
Other tasks and requirements may be required of the County in addition to those listed.

Page 41
Yet other activities will require significant time and funding investment from public and private interests. 

Page 92 
 Smart growth requires a collaboration of perspectives, disciplines, and stakeholders.

I ask you… isn't everything that is required already being enforced?  If there is something new to be required, under whose authority, sanction and determination shall it be required and approved as meeting such a requirement? 

By allowing this language into a Plan that this body adopts, you are winding up a toy for unelected unaccountable employees and organizations to influence and in some instances, dictate land use, commerce and county fiscal policy, via a vague unlawful authority. 

This documentation and critique of the usage of "require" is just a portion of the debate that should be occurring on your watch.

Consider that staff took a year to develop this plan. 
They are asking the public and the board to rubber stamp it in less than a month since its public announcement, on March 29.  

Your county staff had the resources of Bi-State Regional Commission at their disposal for a year to generate this 100+ page Plan .... the public has a comment box at the web page for a few weeks. 

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well -- and within the parameters and restrictions that your oath of office dictates.  

This document, with so much promise for so much motivation for behavior change in Scott County 

("Technology and the availability of solutions to some sustainability issues also can affect the speed at which behaviors are changed."; "Our behavior must change for sustainability to become the “New Normal.” Page 4; "Create toolbox or catalog of sustainable practices that uses benefits to consumers to value sustainable practices and lifestyles and change behaviors. page 10; Changing consumption behaviors, page 60; )

....surely warrants a longer public discussion than less than four weeks, does it not? 

Who is going to enforce the actions required to embrace the definition of sustainability, as the plan calls for on page 3? 

I leave you this evening with this additional quote from page 3: 
"Education and funding resources are founding elements for creating sustainable practices." 

Is educating the county the role of this body?  
Is creating practices the role of this body? 
Is directing staff to seek unsustainable funding resources (without more coercive taxation) in order to pursue this education and creation of these practices, the constitutionally authorized role of this body? 

Why cannot sustainable practices be borne out in the private sector on their own, in the manner that is best suited to the residents of Scott County, determined by themselves? 

The county can lead all it wants with its own staff behavior change, internal policies for fiscal practices that embrace their definition of sustainability, and so forth.  But imposing those practices and behavior change upon the people of Scott County is NOT the role of this government. 

This Plan if adopted as is, will be an unwieldily beast of proportions for future generations you cannot imagine yet. 

By adptoing this top down tax payer funded approach to education, influence and fiscal policy decision making, by unelected organizations, you are ceding authority the voters of Scott County did not bestow upon you. 

Please take caution as you consider rubber stamping what the staff and Bi-State has so assiduously laid before you.  What is clear with Sustainability practices,which as the materials I have provided you previously prove, is that the only thing not sustainable with plans such as these, is the rights of the individual. The very rights your oath of office dictate you must protect. 

For a perspective of someone who has walked in your shoes, please review this video:

Thanks for taking the time to consider these concerns. 
I am hopeful you will take a much longer approach to working through the nuances and underlying intent of the dictates within this Plan prior to any final decisions on adoption, or not, being made by this body. 

Todd McGreevy

p.s. When did this elected body determine that Scott County requires a "New Normal" and what the make up of that new normal should be?  You are setting a pathway and direction for your staff that supersedes any previous goal setting, comprehensive plans or measurements previously established -by adopting this Plan.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to weigh through these lengthy documents, I imagine the board members have not applied themselves in the same fashion. I was most disturbed by the stated objectives in the bi-state presenatation to influence curriculum and reach children at a younger age. Leave daily practice education to the parents, maybe focus on math and science, our kids could certainly use it! Thanks again!

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