Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

May 2, 2013

Second Leelanau commissioner cites conspiracy theory

SUTTONS BAY — A second Leelanau County commissioner cited a United Nations-based conspiracy theory as a reason for killing a jobs-creation plan in the county, an audio recording shows.

Commissioner Debra Rushton cited the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory during an April 8 meeting about a plan for economic growth in Leelanau County. The county was considering contracting with the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation on a new jobs strategy for county residents.

Rushton, after listening to presentations from economic development officials, said she heard "buzzwords" from Agenda 21, which warns against a one-world government controlled by the United Nations.

“Somebody mentioned the word Agenda 21, the so-called theory of Agenda 21,” Rushton said during the public meeting. “But when I listen to you people speak, some of (our) board members, some of the guests, some of the facilitators, I hear all the buzzwords. Words have meaning. Words have meaning.

“So, to say that that theory or that agenda is not present here today, I disagree,” Rushton said.

The recording of Rushton's comments was obtained by the Record-Eagle from Leelanau County through a Freedom of Information Act request. She did not respond to a phone message and email seeking comment for this story.

The recording shows Rushton made her comments about Agenda 21 buzzwords moments after listening to presentations from Doug Luciani, president of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, and John “Chip” Hoagland, managing partner of Cherry Capital Foods. They had asked the county to partner with the Traverse Bay EDC to develop the plan, which called for being a “national leader in smart, sustainable economic development” and to explore job growth in “clean applied technologies."

The plan required a $25,000 payment from the county over two years to craft a thorough economic development strategy.

The commission instead killed the idea, then disbanded the county’s long-running economic development corporation.

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