Murrieta and Temecula are among 600 cities that have signed on in recent years as part of a United Nations-led climate awareness and sustainability effort, and a group of citizens met Monday to discuss what they say are the dangers of the agreement.
"When I read the first page, it sounded pretty good. I'm pretty sure our politicians that signed it only read the first page," said Susan Marsh, a founding leader of the Temecula Murrieta TEA Party.
She was referring to U.N. Agenda 21, which over the years Marsh says has morphed into the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI.
Temecula signed on in 2009. It is unclear when Murrieta became a member. The city's General Plan Update reiterates its commitment to ICLEI's California Local Government Climate Task Force's goal of sustainable development.
Marsh, a property owner in an unincorporated area near Murrieta, said she traced the initiative's beginnings to 1976 in Europe.
It was then taken before the U.N. in the 1980s, and adopted in 1990 at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future "as a call to action for governments around the world, dedicated to climate protection and sustainability."
Marsh said the initiative threatens to take away property owners' rights, using Murrieta's Los Alamos Hills residents and Temecula Wine Country residents as examples.
She said Los Alamos Hills residents are being forced to give up 20 to 80 percent of their property when applying for building permits, and that Wine Country residents are facing the same danger with proposed resorts, large wineries, time shares and even a golf course.
"Property owners [in Wine Country] are being told they can only have one horse, one goat," Marsh said to a crowd of about 17 who gathered at a Mexican restaurant in Murrieta Monday night. "Bottom line, they are telling them they can't have any animals, or one animal per acre.
"We all moved here for the rural areas, to have our animals."
Marsh's property is "off the grid," but she worries the sustainable develop effort could also creep its way into affecting her property. That is when she said she decided to learn more about Agenda 21.
"I've heard of conspiracy theories...I wanted to see how this was going to affect me.
"Agenda 21 wants to get you off your land, and move you to the city and stack you up."
She said the reason ICLEI has targeted communities is because it couldn't get its agenda passed through Congress.
George Rombach, a Temecula resident, said ICLEI's goal is to infiltrate the cities one by one.
"We have to be involved in our city governments," Rombach said. "It was obvious Temecula was not aware in the slightest what they had signed on for."
Keith Broaders, a Murrieta resident, said the group should lobby enough people together to petition the District Attorney for a grand jury investigation into the matter, to "investigate whether the local cities are violating the Constitution by signing a treaty with the U.N."
Several Murrieta residents spoke at a recent Murrieta City Council meeting, asking the Council to look into the reason for its involvement with ICLEI.