The last time Cobb County, Georgia was in TreeHugger, it was when the local prosecutor charged Raquel Nelson with vehicular homicide after her kid was killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street. Contributing to the death was the lousy pedestrian infrastructure; the nearest light was half a mile away from the bus stop. Her crime was not lugging her kids up to the light and back, but her son was really a victim of "poor planning and bad design."
Now Cobb County is in the news again, for rejecting a grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission because it required "excellence". According to the Marietta Daily Journal,
To be considered “excellent,” the ARC told local governments they should offer bilingual services for non-English speakers, promote community gardens and ensure pedestrian and bicycle access in and around bus stops.
But Cobb County doesn't want the money, because it's all a plot.
“There’s nothing that’s on the excellence list that is not Agenda 21 in spades,” said Bill Hudson of Marietta, a former board member of the Georgia Tea Party, referring to a United Nations initiative encouraging “smart growth” – a type of development that promotes “sustainable communities.”
This involves “non-motorized transportation” options such as bike paths and sidewalks, and clusters of high-density housing around rail or bus lines. Advocates of the approach say it’s smart to develop communities in a way that depends less on automobiles and creates fewer carbon emissions, with Amsterdam and other European cities serving as the model.
Tea party groups nationwide see the Agenda 21 concept as an enemy of private property rights and the curtailment of the automobile as the primary source of transportation in America.
As we know from the Raquel Nelson case, not everybody in Marietta has a car. Bike paths and sidewalks might be useful to people like her. Good planning and infrastructure might make a difference in her life. But not in Cobb County; as another Tea Party member said, “They’ve got to stop listening to the American Planning Association (which represents regional planners) that has an alternative agenda and start listening to residents.”