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Thread: Article: Oakland council president lied to Planning Commission; violated ethics laws, grand jury say

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Article: Oakland council president lied to Planning Commission; violated ethics laws, grand jury say

    http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-cou...iolated-ethics

    subverted the public process and used city resources to reduce the size of the project.

    The report said the councilwoman "misused public resources to benefit herself personally" and said her conduct "disrespects the public process, city staff, and the community."

    Soon to be an ethics case study ? or just the same old sad story ?

  2. #2
    Sounds like she might be seeing Orange is the new black in real life. It was a stupid idea. On the local level, in the public sector, you cheat, you get caught.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    She will get a job offer in Chicago.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    She will get a job offer in Chicago.
    Nah-Somewhere in the UP will give her a better offer.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The Terminator's avatar
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    Probs a member of the AICP - American Institute of Colossal Pr**ks.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Nah-Somewhere in the UP will give her a better offer.
    Corruption does not do well in the UP. They either run you out or hide the bodies.
    If you're not growing, you're dying. - Lou Holtz

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Terminator View post
    Probs a member of the AICP - American Institute of Colossal Pr**ks.
    She's an elected official, not a professional planner. And I would exercise a bit of restraint in accusing blanket classes of members on this site of being colossal pricks, lest you be labeled one yourself.

    The Planning Director, Rachael Flynn, doesn't come off completely clean though. She was staring down the most difficult type of ethics challenge--to fight the councilmember's attempt to interfere and risk being fired, or to comply to protect her ability to support herself and/or her family. We all like to think that we would be noble and fall on the sword, but that is financially impossible for most. I'm once again reminded of the best advice Carol Barrett ever gave me: the most important thing an ethical planner can do is to have enough money saved to weather a storm when forced to act on principle.

    Based on this:

    "The grand jury also put some blame on city staff, who complied with the council member's requests, rather than reporting her behavior as an ethics violation. Assistant City Administrator Claudia Cappio said Flynn did try to speak to the city administrator, but there was so much instability within the administrator's office at the time that her concerns were lost in the shuffle."

    ... it appears Flynn tried to do the right thing by reporting it, but found an unresponsive & disorganized city administration lacking a spine. There was a lack of direction internally on how to report ethics violations of a person that essentially signs her paycheck. At that point she was in a very difficult position. I've made this comment before, but probably 90% of the problems in the municipal planning profession are the result of city management either interfering (usually in the guise of trying to grease a squeaky wheel rather than advocating long-term perspective & good planning practice), or city management simply abdicating responsibility. We've talked for the better part of a decade about the need for some introspection in the planning profession... really decades if you consider Jane Jacobs the birth of planning reform. But people that have studied Jane Jacobs and the movement around her know that even then most of the problems she cited were related to city/public administration more than planning--her indictment of planning is summarized most simply as our failing to represent the disenfranchised & marginalized. While this introspection in planning is good & needed, the profession in most serious need of self-evaluation is city management. Until that problem is addressed, I'm not sure it matters what we do.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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