Livable Communities or Death Traps?

Every so often (actually a lot) a bill comes along (well, come to think of it pretty much all of them…) that needs to be stopped dead in it’s tracks. And I don’t mean we need to put a leash on it. I mean we need to shoot it between the eyes and put it six feet underground. And the “Livable Communities” act (S. 1619) authored by Sen. Christopher Dodd is just such a one.

A quick overview of the bill gives us more than enough reasons to immediately toss this in the legislative bonfire: It is a form of Sustainable Development, top down control that turns our communities into little soviets, driven by non-elected boards, councils and regional governments. Sustainable Development is at the root of the destruction of private property rights; it employs population control, dictating how many children you may have; and it is at the root of the Obamacare mess. The most important issue with this particular bill, is that Dodd’s is the first bill to mobilize Sustainable Development through federal legislation.

The Livable Communities act is nothing more than sustainability in (a very poorly thought out) disguise. Republicans in the House have criticized similar legislation saying “the program’s aim is to impose a Washington-based, central planning model on localities across the country.” Granted these are established Republicans, most of whom I trust as little as I trust the Democrats. However they are correct on this point. Sen. Dodd’s bill would give the federal government overriding power in your local community. Whereas now state and local governments are (supposedly) sovereign in all things having to do with the growth of the community, they would no longer have a say in land use, housing, transportation or infrastructure planning if this bill were passed.

This, (as with all other unwanted government interference in our lives) is another “service” that we would have to pay for the use of. Of course they spew all the usual meaningless drivel at us: “oh, this won’t be mandatory!” or “it will only affect your community positively!” these are all LIES. This will affect every American in one way or another, and not positively. Once it is passed all talk of these laws not being compulsory will disappear so quickly it will look like a sixth grade magic show. Senator Dodd himself promises that this is “purely voluntary’, but upon closer examination of the bill we find that it sets up a new permanent federal office: The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities” for the enforcement of this bill the “Development Czar” if you will. Sounds voluntary to me.  Not to mention the added strain this puts on the wallet of every taxpaying American.

A system with similar housing requirements was recently implemented in Oakland California. To bring their homes into compliance with the regulations every homeowner was forced to replace roofs, windows and appliances. This cost each of them an average of $35,000. Think about that for a minute and consider whether you can afford an unnecessary $35,000 dollar home makeover. Then consider that you won’t even be spending that money on what you really want in your home, but rather what the “rules” say you must put in your home.

Senator Dodd’s bill has already passed the Senate Banking Committee and is headed for a floor vote. We must not let this bill pass. We must stop it dead in its tracks and bury it beneath a landslide of contempt. This is a violation of not only our 10th amendment rights but more importantly our basic right as human beings to choose our own lifestyle. Under Sustainable Development there can be no property rights. No individual liberty, no free enterprise, and no limited government. America’s choice is liberty or sustainable development. You can’t have both.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.