by Dr. Michael Sanera
Director of Research and Local Government Studies
Last night I made a presentation to the Wendell town commissioners about the JLF’s “Review of the Wake County Transit Report.” Before the meeting, I had a pleasant conservation with the Wendell city manager, Teresa Piner. She was interested in my previously published comments about the Raleigh food truck issue. This morning I provided her with additional comments including my evaluation of the biased information that planners typically provide city councils to lead them to implement the latest planner dogma and fads.
Dear Ms. Piner,
Thank you for your interest in and comments about my views on the Raleigh food trucks. You may not have seen this blog post in response to the criticism from Mr. Silver.
I was a director of an MPA program and I taught masters level public administration courses for more than 20 years. I have found the city managers upholding their code of ethics much better than planners. Planners fail to take responsibility for the harm they cause by pursuing past and current planning fads. They are much more committed to a narrow, dogmatic ideology than managers. And they are not afraid of using biased information to implement their political agenda. The Wake County Transit Report is just the latest example. Not mentioned in my blog post is the case of the roundabouts on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. Planners gave the city council examples of roundabouts in other cities that had no relation to the situation on Hillsborough Street. We provided the missing information by giving the council members Google photos of the areas showing that they were not comparable. In other words, we caught them presenting the council with biased information in order to lead council members to the decision that the planners wanted. I think you will agree that that is not living up to the highest ethical standards.
I would also invite you to see my Planners’ Glossary for the term “density bonus.”
The consultant who provided this advice to Raleigh’s city planners seems to be advising them to engage in an extortion scheme. To my knowledge, Raleigh planners have not rejected this advice. I would hope that the planning profession would take a stand against this and other types of unethical manipulation of development regulations.
Again, thank you for your interest in our work.