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I am not “anti-planning for anything” as some of the citizens here in Polson have been labeled by the Orton Family Foundation.  Rather precisely, I am anti-multi-million dollar national nonprofit non-government organizations (NGOs) partnering with local government to influence whatever they are peddling.  All NGOs have a special interest to further the goals of their members or funders, hence their reason for organizing.  Partnering with government provides a means to influence and ensure that policy makers can legitimize their agenda.

To understand the special interest of the Orton Family Foundation, let me briefly introduce their Board of Trustees.  The bios will reveal who they are and the aim of their influence.  Readers who understand the significance found in these bios will be alarmed.  Readers who do not understand should feel free to contact me for an opportunity to expand knowledge.

Lyman Orton – Co-founder.  Lyman serves on the board of Scenic America and boasts that he is “An anti-billboard activist because of a sudden proliferation of monstrous red billboards along Route 7 advertising a shack that sold sea shells.”  If this example doesn’t demonstrate who he is, maybe this one will.  His Vermont Country Store catalog offers more than red flannel pajamas.  All I will say is that the items are for adults and do not seem to fit the image he tries to portray.

Tom Daniels—Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania which proudly claim that they are:  Worldwide planners who are managing the continuing migration to cities [and] finding practical solutions to problems of climate change and environmental degradation.  Tom is the author or co-author of several books.  One in particular:  The Environmental Planning Handbook for Sustainable Communities and Regions:  Environmental protection is a global issue that largely depends on effective and timely action at the local level [and also the authors] examine current sustainability efforts, and offer step-by-step guidance for local governments to incorporate sustainable environmental quality into local and regional comprehensive planning.

Carolyn Lukensmeyer— Founder and President of America Speaks [their goal is to] develop new democratic practices—[Carol is] a leader in the field of deliberative democracy [a.k.a. consensus building, which is an alternative to our present representative republic].  She is the 2009 recipient of the Straus Innovator Award–highlighting practices that make a positive and tangible contribution to the health of global civil society.

Susan Kirkpatrick–served as the executive director of the Colorado Departartment of Local Affairs (DOLA) for the state of Colorado from 2007 to 2011.  “Kirkpatrick [is] a strong environmentalist candidate and champion of diversity hiring policies and the separation of church and state” (Colorado Independent, Nov. 3, 2009).

Jared Duval—a Fellow with the New York based think tank called DEMOS: Ideas and Action to Promote the Common Good [YIKES]. Quote from the site: “If we are going to care for people and the planet, large-scale changes are needed in how Americans consume and live, how the United States structures economic activity and measures progress, and how we engage in the global economy.”  He also serves on the boards of the Sierra Club and the World Future Council.

Ed McMahon— Author:  Ten Principles for Smart Growth on the Suburban Fringe (ULI, 2004); Green Infrastructure: Connecting Landscapes and Communities (Island Press, 2006); and Land Conservation Financing (Island Press, 2003).

Anthony C. Wood–Tony is a preservation activist [with the] Preservation League of New York State: [created] The Sustainability Forum [on] Facebook, which is an online resource where preservation professionals, citizen activists…come to share questions, insights and observations about preservation issues, with an emphasis on the connection between “green building” and traditional building design.

Tony Hiss–Serves on the board: Scenic America [see above Lyman Orton] Also:  CUNY Institute for Urban Systems (CIUS).  20/20 Vision: Smart Growth (2002-2003). Tony’s focus is primarily urban (i.e. New York City), however, these are examples of controls which CIUS advocates.

  • Limiting the outward extension of settlement
  • Pay for additional infrastructure through charges imposed on new development
  • Increase the use of transit and reduce dependence on the automobile
  • Use financial incentives and regulations to direct growth to designated areas

Gary Severson—is an associate with the JKA Group.  As mentioned on the JKA Group website, Gary assists [the Orton Family Foundation] in directing the foundation’s focus on livable and sustainable rural communities in the Rocky Mountains and New England.  The JKA makes some claims regarding “Climate Change and the Language of Geographic Place.”  They stated their premise:  As the scientific reality of global warming sets in across the planet, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and corporations at all levels are responding with ideas for projects, programs and policies which will reduce our carbon emissions. Policy strategies are being debated at the highest levels of government and in many international forums, such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009.

Enough said.  But, what about the “Like Minds Attract” as mentioned in the title?  SIMPLE.  Orton accepts applications from various cities and makes site visits for further interviews.  The choice to create a partnership is entirely theirs.  What do you suppose the fly on the wall heard when the Orton Family Foundation representatives visited Polson?  My guess is reassurance that “Kindred Spirits” are here and ready to collaborate. Makes sense, doesn’t it?