Categorized | ICLEI, News


My heroes this week are John Saunders, Kathy Bolam and Rich Angley, citizens of Venice, Florida.  What did they do?

They got petitions signed and went to a public meeting in Venice, Florida, in a attempt to stop their city council from joining ICLEI.  Although they failed in their goal, they did get a public airing of the issues involved in the local newspaper, the Venice Gondolier.

The paper admits the foreign policy goals of ICLEI:

Earlier this year the city   agreed to pay annual dues in the amount of $600 to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, which calls itself “ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability.” The organization has 576 North American members, including 28 cities and counties in Florida. Sarasota and Miami-Dade counties are members. So are the cities of  Venice, Sarasota, Tampa, Naples, Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Gainesville.

According to its Web site, ICLEI takes complex problems like climate change and provides tools to help cities to address those issues, like creating model sustainability policies. It helps organize the United Nations’ international climate change efforts, including the United Nations 15th Climate Change Conference currently under way in Copenhagen.

The council had voted in 2007 to consider joining and paid $600 at that time to do so.  The budget for ICLEI and related expenditures had mushroomed to $15,000(!).  The mayor tried to be reassuring that local control was not involved.

Angley sounded a bit like the Carroll County Commission when he said this was foreign and unconstitutional intrusion into property rights through the International Property Maintenance Code with potential home inspections, supported by ICLEI but not adopted by the City of Venice:

“The sole purpose of the ICLEI is not to protect the environment as they state. Its purpose is to maneuver itself into and encumber our local governmental structures and strengthen the hold of world government powers on every aspect of our lives. Eventually this will lead to the dissolution of property rights. That’s the goal of ICLEI.

“It is not an anti-environmental petition,” he added. “We are not against your efforts to save energy or to protect our environment. The problem is membership equates to acceptance of U.N. program Agenda 21. What we object to is use of taxpayer funds to support an organization with expressed desires to supersede the authority of the United States of America and its constitution.”

RAH!  Saunders and Bolam also spoke at the meeting.  They brought a petition with 79 signatures of Venice residents and voters, collected on election day.  Saunders spoke on foreign control of property rights and Bolam agreed in response to a council member’s claim that ICLEI gave useful information but stated that the information came as a cost:  Liberty.

The lessons from this encounter are useful:

1.  Go as a group, not alone, to these public meetings.  Even Jesus sent the seventy out two by two to the towns of Israel (see Luke 10:1) and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.  (See Ecclesiastes 4:12)  The media and officials can marginalize an sole individual but it is harder to make fun of several local citizens.

2.  Be respectful but forthright.  No name calling or questioning motives.  It’s frustrating to deal with what seems to be obtuse local officials.  But, they are elected and have authority over us (I believe given by God) and the office they hold is entitled to respect.

3.  Do your homework.  This group knew what to say and how to say it before they went.  They also got a petition drive in advance.

4.  I would find a way to be involved in local government without compromising principle.  Volunteer in the schools.  Help a committee (even better if you can help with legitimate, constitutional environmental efforts); local government is usually crying for help like that.  This also gives you a record of accomplishment if you decide to seek local office.

5.  Emphasize the money.  Why is Venice paying $15,000 for ICLEI and related costs?  Doesn’t sound quite as good as the original amount paid in 2007!

6.  Find out what else can be done.  Campaign for Liberty, local and regional Tea Party groups and related meetup groups have useful information on other options.  Write letters to the editor.  Keep the heat on and be vigilant.  Contact state legislators and the attorney general in re the foreign policy goals of ICLEI.  Perhaps a state will make it illegal to join such an organization.

I want to encourage liberty activists to continue the fight against ICLEI and related issues.  Will YOUR community be the next one to withdraw from ICLEI.



About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Kathy Bolam says:

    I would like a printed copy of this article. How do I get one? I know I can print this from my computer, but then I get all the junk on the side.

  2. Rich Angley says:

    Thank you, for this fine article. It is important to spread the word about how people can go about exposing the double minded nature of the people we elect to public office. All of the officials were supposedly Republicans but although they pretended to be, as you said, obtuse they were not happy with the light of day showing them to the world as nothing more than collectivist stooges. Also I thank you for reinvigorating me to the cause.
    Rich Angley

  3. It’s GREAT and an honor to hear from two of our heroes of the Battle of Venice. Right now the story is on Freedom’s Phoenix and Before It’s News.

    Please feel free to keep us informed of details.



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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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