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Thread: You're not a public sector planner until you are called a communist, or close enough.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    You're not a public sector planner until you are called a communist, or close enough.

    we've all joked that you aren't a public sector planner, espeically in the south or mid-west, until someone calls you a communist or something along those lines, well...

    The local paper ran a story on Christmas or Christmas Eve about our upcoming tree preservation ordinance, must have been a slow news day. It also got an editorial the next day in support of it, we are one of the only jurisdictions without any tree ordinance in the region.

    I come back to work today and find this lovely letter in my inbox, enjoy:

    Letter typed as written to me, I did not add the prolific use of commas and capitalizing. Complete with generalizations and vague comparisons, this letter has it all.

    ________________________
    "Mr. [Me]

    You have no idea how difficult it is for me to place the word "Mr." in front of your name. My father taught me that "Mr." is a sign of respect, and, I'm sorry to say that I have little respect for you. Based on your position made obvious in the 12/25/07 article in the [Local paper], you believe that we need more government. That is really dumb. If there is one thing that we don't need, it is more government in our lives.

    A quote from the above article credits you with saying "You can have 100-year-old live oaks on your property right now, cut them down, and we can't do anything to make you preserve them or replace them". Okay, what is there about "YOUR PROPERTY" that you don't understand. Our founding fathers never meant for you and your tree hugging buddies to tell me nor anyone else that we could not clear OUR land any way we want. I'm sure that they intended that when you make a legal purchase of property, you own everything on that property. No one, especially the government has the right to tell you what trees you can or cannot cut. Sure, you and the "I'll do it if it brings me votes" [County Council Member in support of the ordinance] can make it an ordinance, but that don't make it RIGHT. Obviously, you are not a man of whom "right" has any weight. And, believe me, because the other counties have a stupid ordinance dictating to property owners what they can and cannot do on their own property, is no reason to adopt the same thing. It just makes us as dumb as everyone else.

    To think that this is the direction that our county is taking is truly frustrating. I'm certain that you think that you have the right to do this ......... but that doesn't make it right. To me, this is no different than me purchasing a car and you telling me I can't remove the radio ........ even if I promise to put another one back! Oh well, talking to a liberal is usually a waste of breath, and I'm sure it is no different with you."

    _______________
    He copied "I'll do it if it brings me votes" councilman, I'm sure we'll have a laugh over it sometime.

    This man wrote this during Christmas, nothing better to do I see. He owns a private piece of property, the ordinance is going after mostly strip and large tract development, he probably has nothing to worry about and is the same person who is complaining about all the development in the county too. Oh well, I hope you all get a kick out if it like I did.
    @GigCityPlanner

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Bertrand's avatar
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    I feel for you. This is a running theme where I live. It's very property rights here. Very libertarian. (woo hoo Ron Paul) The "greater good" ends at my property line and shall never require an increase in my taxes.

    Though I have never been personally attacked, the projects I work on and my department is often attacked in the press and in public meetings.
    Satan in the Suburbs

  3. #3
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    Pinko Commie here. I've been in public sector planning for over 25 years. Water off a duck's back here.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Reminds me of a heated exchange I observed in another county planning department in SC when a man was told he could not subdivide his property the way he wanted to because it was zoned rural for one dwelling per five acres and he only had 12 acres and wanted it to go three ways. He whooped and hollered saying this was a "free country" and he could do what he wanted with his property etc, called the senior planner a "Commie Yankee" (he's Southern born) and stormed out.

    The irony in Tide's post is that old coot probably would be the first one to complain about everything old being wiped out with no reminders of the past kept around. There are many lovely old trees around SC and it's a shame when they are clear cut to make way for a subdivision or commercial development.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    My planning career goes back about 35 years and nothing has changed. Actually, I do find it surprising that there are still people around who can't find a more denigrating or disparaging comment than to call you a 'commie'. I say it's a sorry comment on the state of today's education probably due to infiltration of all them hippy radicals.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  6. #6
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Our department director tells us his story of when he was first working for our city the staff and council held public meetings for ideas for a downtown plan. Staff (and most of the attendees at the meetings) wanted better sidewalks or streetscaping, but some lady called him a "socialist communist" because he advocated walking in our 2-block downtown and told him to take his "European" ideas out of town.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    This issue hits home with me since I used to work in S. Florida, where Pine Flatwoods are an endangered vegetative type (yes, pine trees). There, I swear you can differentiate between the localities that have adopted tree preservation standards and those which haven't- just by driving through them. There is no comparison; the jurisdictions that require tree preservation are much more attractive places. Those that haven't look like desert wastelands, and provide no refuge from the unrepentant heat (shade). So consider me a commie too, tree preservation is a hugely important planning objective, particularly in the south.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Been there, called that

    One of the first times was when I wouldn't let a man (I use that term because he was male, but around 35 years old, so I couldn't call him a boy) "put me a trailer behind Grandmama's house."

    now 23 years later I think my count is well into higher double digits including other such notable title as: idiot, socialist, unamerican, do-gooder, and my favorite one...government loving whore.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    now 23 years later I think my count is well into higher double digits including other such notable title as: idiot, socialist, unamerican, do-gooder, and my favorite one...government loving whore.
    Put that on a business card.

    Ah, the private sector...if I get accused of being a communist, I can piously reply "No sir, I'm just a humble contractor - the real commie is the gentleman right over there in the blue shirt and khakis."
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  10. #10
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Tide,

    I hope he signed the letter?

    I've been called everything from a commie to a greenie. I don't let it bother me. I figure I must be doing my job if someone is getting stirred up.

    But since I work in the open, I expect my detractors to do the same. Anonymous letters, which I get sometimes, come from cowards. I encourage people to speak their minds to me. I expect them to show me the courtesy of at least knowing who is attacking me.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    This letter didn't bother me, I actually got a big kick out of it. It's just my first one so I had to share it with y'all since the office was empty this week.

    This tree hugging liberal wasn't phased by the letter, it'll get a special spot in my scrap book.
    @GigCityPlanner

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    When I was Planning and Development Director for a small university town in Wisconsin I was sued 23 times by a landlord who was convicted on violations to the rental ordinance. He typed all of his lawsuits himself, acting as his own attorney. Each suit was classic Militia stuff, about illegitimate government (based on such things as the use of fringe around the US Flag - apparently to a militiaman, fringe disqualifies it as a real American Flag). He would file suits in district court until the Court threatened him with contempt. Then he would file in Federal court, switching back as he was rebuffed. After No. 4, our City Attorney told us to ignore them. "Communist" was one of the nicer things he called me.
    SOME say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate
    To know that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost (1874–1963) (From Harper’s Magazine, December 1920.)

  13. #13
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I was called a commie and a nazi in the same sentence! Go figure that one out!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  14. #14
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Sometimes these guys get theirs. When I was planning, I had to do some zoning enforcement on this anti-government guy. Along with threatening my life, he called me "the zoning nazi". I finally won and he got the place cleaned up.

    Fast forward five years or so:

    The BOA, approved a variance for the Kiwanis to put a garage on a residential lot without a principal structure, right behind this guy's place. He sued, said that the decision destroyed the sanctity of zoning.

    On the stand, the City Attorney asked him if he remembered Dan. He said yes, we had some issues but I was a "nice guy". The attorney said "isn't it true that you called him "the zoning nazi" and that zoning was an evil plot to take away property rights?

    He he, I would have loved to have been in court to see him squirm. I do not work there any longer, but the City Admin filed me in.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  15. #15
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    I was called a commie and a nazi in the same sentence! Go figure that one out!
    Makes perfect sense. Both the extreme left and right of the political spectrum value the State's interests over any individual rights. You should have helpfully suggested "Excuse me sir, what I believe you intended to say is that I am a supporter of totalitarian regimes, as opposed to being either a nazi or commie."

    ....And I'm sure your request to 'figure that one out' was not at all rhetorical
    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

  16. #16
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I was once informed that I was part of the Gestapo, a commie F#*@$, SOB, *#($@)$@*$, and much more. Heck one guy in the office where Stan still works was called a Nazi by a guy who actually was in a concentration camp during WWII!

    Since going to the private sector, the worst that has happened is a lawyer saying that he was not happy because I caused “his” project to get delayed a month and I just wasted his time.

    Such happiness is the public sector. Best chance to do the most good within a concentrated area, but most chance to make many, many people mad at you. Almost as much as a WV06 is mad at Michigan Planners!
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    I was called a commie and a nazi in the same sentence! Go figure that one out!

    Had that happen to me as well. My other favorite is " I didn't fight in WW II for planning and zoning" I response to that was "My grandfather fought in WW II as well and I'm sure he wasn't thinking about planning and zoning when he was over there." I've been called so many foul and obscene things in 19 years, that I ignore them.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Had that happen to me as well. My other favorite is " I didn't fight in WW II for planning and zoning" I response to that was "My grandfather fought in WW II as well and I'm sure he wasn't thinking about planning and zoning when he was over there." I've been called so many foul and obscene things in 19 years, that I ignore them.
    One of the most memorable written comments from a public meeting I've ever seen started out (assuming we translated the chicken-scratch writing correctly) "I'm a World War II veteran with followers, and I know what you b*stards are really up to."
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  19. #19
          Downtown's avatar
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    Our office scheduled a public input meeting for Ash Wednesday. The following week, the town supervisor received a scathing, unsigned letter admonishing her for "kowtowing to the jews".

  20. #20
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    An obervation: I'm performing no new function or treating the public in any way differently than any other time within the past decade (and I hasten to add that treatment could almost always be characterized as 'most respectful') but the amount of 'anti-gubmint' crap/epithets thrown at me has reached an all time high. What's up with that? Anyone else notice this?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    My other favorite is " I didn't fight in WW II for planning and zoning"
    We get the war line around here a lot. "I didn't watch my buddies die so you could make me shovel my sidewalk."

    Thinking to myself - better than making you work in the gulags and repressing your freedom of speech, so thanks for that.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    An obervation: I'm performing no new function or treating the public in any way differently than any other time within the past decade (and I hasten to add that treatment could almost always be characterized as 'most respectful') but the amount of 'anti-gubmint' crap/epithets thrown at me has reached an all time high. What's up with that? Anyone else notice this?
    It's probably a combination of the economy and the fact that many of the types to complain about such things are likely unhappy about who's in power up top.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  23. #23
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    It's probably a combination of the economy and the fact that many of the types to complain about such things are likely unhappy about who's in power up top.
    Yeah but wtf does that have to do with me? Talk about lumping everyone into stereotypes. It's as if the general public has collectively lost the ability to intelligently discriminate.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Yeah but wtf does that have to do with me? Talk about lumping everyone into stereotypes. It's as if the general public has collectively lost the ability to intelligently discriminate.
    Don't forget people on the other side did the same thing for 8 years before Obama, too.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    I was called a commie and a nazi in the same sentence! Go figure that one out!
    I was gonna say that I have been called both. But not in the same sentence! Wow. Are you sure you aren't President Obama?

    I will say however that the planning profession seems to have a higher percentage of people who actually do sympathize with socialist ideals. Our senior planner is admittedly a socialist.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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