I wasn't sure what to call this thread because there are so many titles that would work. I just remembered this today, but here's my current planning story.
Several years ago when I was promoted to senior planner for a California county. I negotiated it so that I would process the most controversial and complex project in process at the time, wrestling it away from a blonde airhead who it was assigned to (sorry, blonde airheads).
Anyway, after two environmental impact reports (a story for another thread), and struggling to make the required findings, the project was scheduled for hearing at the planning commission. The proposal consisted of a 95 lot residential subdivision and conversion of timber production designated land to residential use. After two public hearings at the planning commission, they finally forwarded a recommendation for approval, on a split vote, to the board of supervisors.
At a special night meeting before the board, I give a 30-35 minute presentation. Room is packed. About 90% of the public testifies against the project. Then the fun begins. Public hearing is closed. Question to staff; it's a bone and I knock it out of the park. I knew right away the fix was in. Questions only get easier. Break. The board member of the district in which the project is located asks the planning director and me into his office and asks us what other questions he should ask to make the project and staff look good. We supply him with a line of questioning and what our answers will be.
Back to hearing. A few more questions and some discussion. Project approved on 4-1 vote. First time I understood that some things are simply out of my hands. Yet I've gained lots of political savvy since then.
This is one of any number of stories I could tell. Anyone else have similar learning experiences?