What the experts are saying about planning, the survey

10/26/2008 1:21 AM

10/26/2008 1:26 AM

"The consumer mentality is bigger, bigger, bigger, more, more, more. That makes sprawl."

— Steve Hallam, city manager, Oakdale

"(Government agencies) have been reluctant to impose any restraints on development because there’s always somebody standing there, saying, ‘If you raise this fee or put in this regulation, then you’re anti-business and we’ll take our business someplace else.’ Now people are seeing that bad development is not better than no development."

— Carol Whiteside, president emeritus, Great Valley Center

"What I hope comes out of this is the public says, ‘Why do we suck?’"

— Tim Fisher, survey contributor and former Modesto councilman

"The people who developed Burchell Hill are local. Their name is on it. It wasn’t a Texas company that comes in, rapes the town and rides out with saddlebags full of gold."

— Pat Kuhn, former mayor, Oakdale

"What will skew this (survey) is the ability of the person being interviewed to do smart growthspeak. People with a strong smart growth vocabulary are going to give good interviews and get the best results."

— Bruce Race, Race Studio, Berkeley

"I’m troubled by the survey as a starting point to understanding how government works. Going to planning departments and asking how they serve the public is an interesting strategy to understanding how they’re doing."

— Maureen McCorry, founder, San Joaquin et al.

"(Smart growth) is something that’s affecting everyone. But in a way, it’s invisible because it’s buried in planning policies that no one ever sees. Bringing it to light is very well within the mission of a newspaper."

— Elizabeth Stampe, communications director, Greenbelt Alliance

"When gas is $4, $5 a gallon, it’s starting to become obvious why it’s important to design communities in a way that minimizes the requirement to drive everyplace."

— George Osner, former planning manager, Modesto

"Land use in California has been a fact-free zone for as long as I can remember. You can’t prompt any action without facts."

— Ed Thompson, California director, American Farmland Trust

"This is a really admirable thing for a newspaper to take on. The big problem in doing something like this is to find indicators that really matter and to get good responses that are reasonably accurate and comparable from city to city."

— Michael Teitz, senior fellow, Public Policy Institute of California

"Our general plan gives lip service to all that (smart growth) stuff, but there is no teeth to it. If you don’t know what to look for, you might read the plan and say there are a lot of good ideas. But how many people have time to wade through thousands of pages to realize there is nothing there?"

— Sarah Graber, former executive director, Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth

"We’re trying to make future development public transit-friendly. But it may not work well in Tulare County. We’re not Fresno or Modesto."

— Allen Ishida, supervisor, Tulare County

"Unless we depart from the business-as-usual paradigm and embrace the new principles of smart growth, we risk pushing the environment past the tipping point into cataclysmic climate change. The stakes are too high for Tulare County to abdicate its responsibilities, allowing the market to control the future of hundreds of thousands of people."

— Susan S. Fiering, California deputy attorney general

"How could our county (Kings) be dead last and our city (Hanford) fourth (among 60)? Could the stats be skewed in some way? We have lots of commercial retail available in this town, and prison jobs, but not much else."

— Robin Mattos, Hanford Environmental Action Team

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