"I'm pretty sure these are exactly the sort of people who shoot public officials"

Posted by Skylar Browning on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 7:30 AM

That line comes from Missoula City Councilman Bob Jaffe's weekly listserv after a particularly contentious committee meeting on Wednesday. The topic during this part of the meeting was the city's annual $1,200 membership to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. As Jaffe describes it, it's "an international organization that works to reduce global warming through local policy efforts. We have been a member for about 15 years."

Some attendees took issue, to put it mildly, with ICLEI. Jaffe wrote that the speakers demonstrated "intimidation tactics, shouting out of order, and various references to what God does and doesn’t approve" and added that such things "may be the norm at public meetings in the Bitterroot but it is definitely not OK in Missoula." He added that the police were called to restore order. Keila Szpaller's Missoulian story elaborates on the scene, noting speakers came from Missoula, Ravalli County and one as far away as Silver Star in Madison County. "They called [ICLEI] a 'tentacle' of the divisive Agenda 21, a plan of action to combat human effects on the environment that was developed by the United Nations in 1992," she reported.

The whole thing led Jaffe to write the line in the headline before concluding:

[Councilman] Jason [Wiener] pointed out that not all information was equal. Some is backed by peer reviewed science and some is shall we say less congruent with commonly agreed upon facts. Apparently some folks don’t have that filter.

You can read the entirety of Jaffe's comments after the jump:

After lunch in A&F things kind of went off the rails. A couple of weeks ago Lyn had asked that we pull an item from our claims list for our $1200 annual membership to an organization called ICLEI because some of her constituents were concerned about this and wanted a chance to comment. ICLEI is the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. It is an international organization that works to reduce global warming through local policy efforts. We have been a member for about 15 years. We agreed to hold the item and it came up in committee today.

It turns out that Lyn’s constituents are primarily really angry people from the Bitterroot. ICLEI is connected to the United Nations effort to promote sustainable development that has the paranoia inducing moniker “Agenda 21”. The conspiracy theorists read Agenda 21 to mean that all people will be removed from their energy wasting ranchettes and made to live in dense “Population zones.” Their pickups will be outlawed and everyone will be forced to ride bicycles. Only non-humans (wildlife) will be permitted to exist outside the dense cities. All those who support concepts like smart growth are treasonous pawns of the UN plot to eliminate American sovereignty and make us all slaves.

One after another of these folks from the Bitterroot came up to the mic and spewed this insanity on us. In all fairness there were a couple of folks from Missoula. Kandi was in rare form. She definitely was not sugar coating it for us. In fact, I felt a bit threatened. I can’t remember a meeting where I felt so much anger and seething violence in the room. Eventually the police were summoned by one of the staff members because there was clearly a potential for things to get out of hand. I’m pretty sure these are exactly the sort of people who shoot public officials.

Intimidation tactics, shouting out of order, and various references to what God does and doesn’t approve of may be the norm at public meetings in the Bitterroot but it is definitely not OK in Missoula. I asked Lyn if this out of town mob was in fact the constituency she was concerned about and she told me something along the lines that they have the same right to be concerned about Missoula policy as the folks who live here. She also chastised me for not wanting to hear the information they had to present. Jason pointed out that not all information was equal. Some is backed by peer reviewed science and some is shall we say less congruent with commonly agreed upon facts. Apparently some folks don’t have that filter.

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