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Thread: Bush v. Kerry… where do they stand on Planning Issues?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Bush v. Kerry… where do they stand on Planning Issues?

    Now that we can be some what sure that Kerry is going to be running against Bush in November, I would like to pose a question to BOTH candidate.

    Where do you stand on Smart Growth, and what will you do to improve Urban Development?

    I will admit that I have not done too much searching, but as a extensive group of planers I think that we should have enough of a voice to be able to get these questions answered.. along with other planning questions. I know that currently in Michigan, the governor has this Smart Growth kick going… but I have yet to hear, or see ANY results. No policy shift, no recommendations, and it has done NOTHING for any of the communities. The task for has pick Grand Rapids as a target for the “COOL CITIES” program, but what does that mean? I have tried to find out and have gotten no answers.

    (Sorry to anyone in here who is on the committee, and maybe you can give me some of the answers that I am looking for, and how many people do you have on staff that are in the target demographic that you are trying to preserve?)
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    I am sure that the APA will best represent my profession. I love China.

    Not. Quit wasting my dues!!

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Let's broaden the question:

    1) What are the candidate's positions on promoting revitalization and redevelopment in America's older urban areas?

    2) What are the candidate's positions on affordable housing?

    3) What are the candidate's positions on funding and staffing and management of our national parks, munuments, and other lands?

    4) What are the candidate's positions on sustainable use of our nation's forests, oil reserves, minerals and other resources?

    5) What are the candidate's positions on ensuring adequate funding for all cities to provide basic services to their residents?

    6) What are the candidate's positions on supporting agriculture?

    7) What are tha candidates positions on creating strong economies, especially in the nations most distressed places, such as urban neighborhoods and on reservations?

    8) What are the candidate's positions on environmental regulations such as those on air pollution and water quality?

    Feel free to add to the list. Maybe APA should look at these questions and talk to the candidates to get their answers. I'd be happy to help.
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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I am thinking at we as a planning society should create a complete list (thanks to the beginning from Cardinal) and should try to get them answered by the major candidates, and then post the answers on here. That way, each member of this web site could independently read the answers, and make independent decisions. I know that Kerry has a forum board, and if we post an explanation of who we are and the list of questions, they will either get answered, or people are going to notice that a major group is being ignored. I will also check to see if Bush as anything similar to the forum boards.

    I think that maybe it should be something that we do separate from Asian… ah.. I mean American Planning Association only because the APA does not seem to considerate of what we ask.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Well, how important is the presidential election anyway? What if the Democrats took either the House or the Senate or both in November? I see no reason to focus on the presiedntial race. Perhaps I need to focus on the policy platform for Representative Kildee instead.

  6. #6
          freewaytincan's avatar
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    I don't think it matters where the President stands on planning at all. I've found it to be more of a city, county, regional, and state issue, socially and politically.

    Come to think of it, I wouldn't want the federal government involved with the issue.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I think the most important planning related position for a federal canidate is where he stands on things like TEA. Generally, large projects don't get built without Federal assistance, so we need to know if we're going to be a president who's going to stripe as many more like miles of freeway as possible, or if he is going to fund transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects instead.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by freewaytincan
    I don't think it matters where the President stands on planning at all. I've found it to be more of a city, county, regional, and state issue, socially and politically.

    Come to think of it, I wouldn't want the federal government involved with the issue.
    Maybe you (or we) wouldn't want the federal government involved, but they are. I alluded to some of the major issues related to Major urban or environmental policy as enacted through HUD, the Forest Service, the EPA, the Department of Commerce, the National Park Service, or other federal agencies. Some are directly tied to the administration of national resources or lands. Others are programmatic roles in the way the federal government interacts with states and local governments. The president appoints the people who administer these agencies and the president sets the policy agendas they follow. His (her) positions are important to planners.
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  9. #9
    I totally disagree that the federal government shouldn't be involved in planning. I'd like to see federal, state, and regional governments much more involved. I see the relegation of planning down to the municipal level as one of the biggest problems in the US today. We can't even get suburbs to agree on metro area planning (e.g. extending MARTA).

  10. #10
          freewaytincan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    I totally disagree that the federal government shouldn't be involved in planning. I'd like to see federal, state, and regional governments much more involved. I see the relegation of planning down to the municipal level as one of the biggest problems in the US today. We can't even get suburbs to agree on metro area planning (e.g. extending MARTA).
    Because the federal government will solve everything, right? Maybe we should spend less time expecting the government to do all of this and try to make a SERIOUS SOCIAL CHANGE. Going directly to all the people is better than telling them to vote for someone who will almost always screw them anyway...not to say that all politicians are bad, just most.

    I may sound idealistic, I admit, but getting the government (especially federal levels) in on every aspect is a horrible idea. They just make it worse.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I don't like the idea of heavy Federal involvement ether. The federal government milks $20 billion from the Chicago area a year. Illinois is one of the biggest doner states in the country. Just imagine what could be done here with $20 billion more public dollars a year.

    Actually, considering that doner states are predominatly in the northwest and on the west coast, and the majority of the receiver states are in the Sunbelt, it makes you wonder how much the reappropriation of federal dollars promotes the rust belt/sun belt dichotomy.

  12. #12
    Here in Michigan the last Governor completely ignored Land Use Issues in the state. Our new Governor has made Land Use Planning a priority. She created the Land Use commission with representatives from all walks of life. After Engler screwed up the state it will take awhile for our new Gov to correct things. We also have the Michigan Society of Planning, a chap of apa, that is a great resource for info. Since we have Bushies first four years to look at, with regards to planning, I think the choice is clear... KERRY!

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    Cyburbian
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    Funny that no one above has thought to ask their position on the 5th Amendment? As if that didn't matter to the planning profession any more. Trolling, I guess, but not really.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by freewaytincan
    Because the federal government will solve everything, right? Maybe we should spend less time expecting the government to do all of this and try to make a SERIOUS SOCIAL CHANGE. Going directly to all the people is better than telling them to vote for someone who will almost always screw them anyway...not to say that all politicians are bad, just most.

    I may sound idealistic, I admit, but getting the government (especially federal levels) in on every aspect is a horrible idea. They just make it worse.
    Well, libertarian paranoia aside, a lot of the differences between the development of American and European cities over the past half a century has been attributed to the fact that planning isn't a unified, holistic act in the US (couple with demographics, transportation policy, etc. etc.). Generally where European cities have handled planning regionally or nationally, it's resulted in a more successful environment than what we see in the US with our home rule tradition (see Nivola's Laws of the Landscape: How Policies Shape Cities in Europe and America among others). I'd like to see more of that.

  15. #15
          freewaytincan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    Well, libertarian paranoia aside, a lot of the differences between the development of American and European cities over the past half a century has been attributed to the fact that planning isn't a unified, holistic act in the US (couple with demographics, transportation policy, etc. etc.). Generally where European cities have handled planning regionally or nationally, it's resulted in a more successful environment than what we see in the US with our home rule tradition (see Nivola's Laws of the Landscape: How Policies Shape Cities in Europe and America among others). I'd like to see more of that.
    Now, I'm not exactly a libertarian, I just happen to believe that people being involved directly rather than through a governmental body that will do nothing to help but will use plenty of public money! I'm also concerned with the further implications of government involvement in so much of our everyday lives. I'm what you might call a traditionalist conservative of sorts, one who prefers civil concensus, not a blanket federal - or even state - rule, at least not as strong as it is now. Perhaps some of what has happened in Europe has been positive, but I'm sorry, in the end, our economic structure will be forced to change itself, possibly from the beginnings of an anti-suburban culture that I am beginning to see in my own generation (that is, current junior high, high school, and some of college age) and by world situations, such as available oil and such. We don't need the government to fix it for us.

    And as for Bush or Kerry, I don't think either one even concerns himself with planning issues. I don't think very many at all, Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, is really interested. There's not much prospect for special interests there.

  16. #16
    I wish we had a better handle on land use in this country. I lived in Germany for three years and traveled to 15 countrys while there. (I was in the Air Force, whith a total of 12 years of service) Here in Michigan we have thousands of inland lakes, one of which my city of Boyne City is on, Lake Charlevoix, a large lake on the west side of the state. Heres the problem we have here, and across the state.... As with this lake and every other lake in the state, ok maybe not every lake, (exept where the state or feds have protected the lake from development) we, has Americans, have a fascination with living on the water so that we develop every single small lot completely around the lake, in fact you could walk on the roof tops round the lake without setting foot on land, I may be kidding a little but not much. But when I lived and traveled in Europe and eastern europe it was not that way. Even if there was a large city on a lake the rest of the lake was preserved... no houses craming the shoreline. It is this way in most South American citys too. My wife is from Venezuela and there the lakes are all national parks... no shoreline construction. I guess my point of this rant is ... this is when I decided to go into planning... because there is a better way a land development that the way Americans develope the land. And thus there needs to be a change.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    I am surprised to hear so many people talking about our federal government as if it had or should have no role in planning. There are others who seem to assume that a federal role means that a US government will mean the feds are doing site plan review in their local communities.

    Here are just a handful of organizations conducting planning or implementing laws and rules at the federal level, that impact those of us working regionally or locally:

    Environmental Protection Agency (air emissions, water quality, mining regulation, sustainability initiative, etc.)

    Commerce Department (Economic Development Administration, Appalachian Regional Commission, Tennessee Valley Authority, etc.)

    Housing and Urban Development (affordable housing, community development initiatives, etc.)

    Bureau of Land Management (mining leases, range land management, recreation, etc.)

    Bureau of Reclamation (dams)

    National Park Service (national parks and monuments)

    Department of Transportation (highways, railroads, transit, etc.)

    General Services Administration (locates and manages federal offices and other facilities)

    Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard (manage huge tracts of land, often with environmental and historical importance)

    USDA (agricultural policy)

    The list could easily go on. Does anybody really believe that the federal government does not do planning and have a role in planning? Would you care to argue that these roles are more appropriately carried out at the local level? It does not look to me that either of these positions are defensible. No, we are not going to ask them if they prefer monument or pylon signs, but we should be asking them about their broader policies related to cities, land, transportation, the environment, etc. It should therefore be very important for us to know what the candidates' positions are on these planning issues.
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  18. #18
    Cyburbian ChevyChaseDC's avatar
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    [edit: added last p. to address original post]

    Thank you, Cardinal, for clarifying the commonly held myth that the federal government is not already deeply involved in nearly every aspect of city and regional planning.

    Policy decisions in the upper echelons of the federal government, ranging from the creation of the Interstate Highway system, to subsidization of mortgages for returning soldiers for new suburban homes, are the primary forces that have shaped our (sub)urban landscape since World War II, and not simply market forces.

    The minutaea of government bureaucracy is frustrating to those of us working in the private sector who are used to timeliness and efficiency and cost-effectiveness. But the government remains. We should be deciding how best to allocate public resources, rather than write these public resources off as waste.

    As for Bush v. Kerry (or possibly Edwards) this fall, it is important that we at least have the candidates address the issues affecting the nation's cities and metropolitan areas, from housing and economic development, to land use and transportation, which have been thus far neglected.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Here in Michigan the last Governor completely ignored Land Use Issues in the state. Our new Governor has made Land Use Planning a priority. She created the Land Use commission with representatives from all walks of life. After Engler screwed up the state it will take awhile for our new Gov to correct things. We also have the Michigan Society of Planning, a chap of apa, that is a great resource for info.

    What???? I will agree that the past Governor did not do all that much, but the only thing that this Governor has done is talk about land use to try to make herself look like she cares. She has come up with all these great ideas, and then started cutting funding to the communities limited what they could do. Growing up in Michigan, and then spending a year in PA, I have realized that she has so much more than just talking about what she wants to do before I can give her any credit for anything dealing with the land use, and land use controls. I would love to see how she is going to get smart growth and alternative transportation in the Detroit area? The car companies would not permit that… oh and why is it that Michigan does not have yearly auto inspections or exhaust emissions testing? Once again… car companies… it was not Engler that messed things up… it was bigger than him, most the state, or us. As for the Michigan Society of Planners (APA chapter, what is going on with there web site? It has had a lot of the same information on in since I moved back to the mid-west.


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  20. #20
    Wow MS... I bet you see the glass half empty. That's a good answer.. let's not try and do something possitive because the auto companys may not like it,,, Nope, no smart growth here.. the car companys don't like it. There is more to the state than the metro area.

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ChevyChaseDC
    [edit: added last p. to address original post]

    Thank you, Cardinal, for clarifying the commonly held myth that the federal government is not already deeply involved in nearly every aspect of city and regional planning.
    ..
    Yes, thank you for mentioning that Cardinal. The federal government CAN have a large impact on a number of what are typically considered local planning issues.
    That said, the majority of decisions at the federal level which impact locally are typically made by functionaries located on various rungs of the federal bureaucracy; some higher and some lower. I believe the question was what impact will Bush or Kerry exert on Smart Growth or urban development. I would venture to say probably not much direct impact, but certainly the President is responsible for cabinent appointments to Depts. of Interior (Parks), Transportation, Agriculture, etc. who in turn may effect their own appointments and policy decisions. Which is not to say that presidents can't exert sometimes direct influences on local planning issues (e.g. Eisenhower signing Interstate Highway bill into law or Johnson creating HUD agency)...but typically planning issues per se are not prominent campaign issues and I think we will be far more likely to hear Kerry & Bush discussing terrorism, taxes or health care.
    Last edited by Maister; 25 Feb 2004 at 8:59 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  22. #22
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planificador Urbano
    Wow MS... I bet you see the glass half empty. That's a good answer.. let's not try and do something possitive because the auto companys may not like it,,, Nope, no smart growth here.. the car companys don't like it. There is more to the state than the metro area.

    Actually, I am typically an optimistic person, but when someone tries to take credit for something that they have not done, especially for political reasons, that bothers me. I have not found any evidence of her doing much of anything other than talking about land use issues. Maybe I am wrong, but until I see a piece of legislature that comes from her office that is passed, or some other indication that she has done anything, then I will change my opinion of her. As for the car companies, I think that they have more of an influence than you think that they do. If they have no real influence, why it is that promotion and funding for alternative and public transportation is extremely limited in Michigan? Also, why did the governor sign a bill that permits property owners on the lakes to bulldoze exposed beach land from low water levels to remove weeds? And this past December she supported a stay of a district court ruling that stopped Nestle Waters North America from pumping millions of gallons of spring water in Mecosta County. Nestle had lost a grueling, 19-day circuit court trial in November, and the governor’s intervention, prompted by the company’s threat to layoff 120 workers at its new bottling plant, seemed completely counter to a 2002 campaign promise. How is that helping the environment? Unlike the governor, I am in support of positive land use, development, protection, and preservation of rural communities and growth of metropolitan areas.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Actually, I am typically an optimistic person, but when someone tries to take credit for something that they have not done, especially for political reasons, that bothers me. I have not found any evidence of her doing much of anything other than talking about land use issues. Maybe I am wrong, but until I see a piece of legislature that comes from her office that is passed, or some other indication that she has done anything, then I will change my opinion of her. As for the car companies, I think that they have more of an influence than you think that they do. If they have no real influence, why it is that promotion and funding for alternative and public transportation is extremely limited in Michigan? Also, why did the governor sign a bill that permits property owners on the lakes to bulldoze exposed beach land from low water levels to remove weeds? And this past December she supported a stay of a district court ruling that stopped Nestle Waters North America from pumping millions of gallons of spring water in Mecosta County. Nestle had lost a grueling, 19-day circuit court trial in November, and the governor’s intervention, prompted by the company’s threat to layoff 120 workers at its new bottling plant, seemed completely counter to a 2002 campaign promise. How is that helping the environment? Unlike the governor, I am in support of positive land use, development, protection, and preservation of rural communities and growth of metropolitan areas.
    I respectfully disagree with several of your characterizations of Governor Granholm's actions.
    I am unaware of the instance to which you refer to for "someone (presumably Gov. Granholm based on your context) tries to take credit for something they have not done". As I am not aware of the instance you refer to or the context of her remarks I therefore cannot respond to that criticism.

    In the interests of fairness, though, I feel compelled to point out that the remark "until I see a piece of legislation that comes from HER office that is passed..." is misleading. What you fail to mention to others on this forum is that in the State of Michigan Republicans hold all the cards (except the Governor's office). "Passing legislation" is a legislative function and, guess what, the Republicans have held for years and continue to hold firm control over both the state House and Senate (not to mention the state's Supreme Court). Had Governor Granholm vetoed some bill supporting environmental preservation the criticism might have some merit but that is not the case. I am afraid that if blame is to be handed out for failing to pass environmentally friendly legislation it should rightfully fall on the shoulders of the branch of government that passes legislation and more specifically to the party which controls the majority in that body.....
    Concerning the assertion that that the governor somehow opposes the environment because she supported a stay in the Nestle Ice Mountain decision, is similarly misleading. The REASON the Governor (along with the MDEQ) supported the amicus brief requesting the Court of Appeals granting a stay had nothing (as implied) to do with Nestle's threat to lay off 120 workers (a drop in the proverbial political bucket) and everything to do with taking time in this instance to adopt comprehensive groundwater use legislation rather than allowing this one case ruling to open the door to certain industry groups that would take advantage of this situation to introduce "legislative fixes" (with a GOP legislature in charge presumably promoting less "government interference" and "deregulation")
    http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7...3319--,00.html
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  24. #24
          freewaytincan's avatar
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    You know, I'm totally seirous when I say that almost no politicians are aware or much less care about planning issues. The 50s, 60s, and 70s...even the 80s and most certainly the 90s were fairly similar in regards to planning, and making adjustments for economic ups and downs, no different whether there were more Republicrats or Democans in office, though the Clinton years are definitely the exception, as it was a huge growth period of the suburbs. Go figure.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I respectfully disagree with several of your characterizations of Governor Granholm's actions.
    Concerning the assertion that that the governor somehow opposes the environment
    -Just to let everyone know maister and I have tendencies to get into some in-depth political disagreements…

    Masiter… I had no intention on stay that she does not care about the government, but do believe that she has not does as much as she leads the residents of this fine peninsula into believing. Has her office tried to introduce any positive land use policies? I don’t know, but from what I have been able to research, I have not found any information of any. Yet she keeps talking about her Land Use Institute and the Cool Cities Initiative. In both cases I applaud the ides and the incentive, but what have they actually done? Have they made a difference in the lives of people, other than giving out sunglasses that look like those worn by Tom Cruise in risky business at a Cool Cities Conference? People can talk and talk, when someone asks for results, noting. I am not saying that a Republican Governor would be any better… but I would like to see something more than just her giving speeches and giving out sunglasses. I want to see a Proactive government who can get things done.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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