Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Red Tape? Be Specific, Please

Red tape and city rules and regulations are convenient dogs to kick at election time (or should I say, goats to scape?).

Candidate Mike Barber got the nod from the N&R partly for his stance against "red tape," and on his blog, candidate Joe Wilson criticises city manager Mitch Johnson for adding a staff member whose job is to help developers through the approval process. Joe thinks the city should simplify city regulations instead.

I want to know exactly what red tape these candidates (and others) want to cut. Because regulations that look like pointless nuisances to developers often look like necessary protections to property owners and neighborhoods. I want the candidates to quote chapter and verse in the city's ordinances.

I wrote in a comment at Joe Wilson's blog,

Joe, when you say you want to make the process simpler, do you have any particular ordinances or codes in mind? Which ones trip people up most? I hear lots of candidates say they want the city to be more “business-friendly,” but I’ve never heard any specifics on which ordinances or procedures they want to change.
I ask this because I’m on the citizens advisory team for rewriting the city’s development ordinance, and if you have any specific ideas, this is the time to get them on the table.
As of this writing, Mr. Wilson hadn't yet responded.Mr. Wilson responds in the comments.

Wilson confuses me, too, because in another post on his blog, writing from the point of view of a neighbor, he blasts the city for not regulating the cutting of trees. In that post he also criticizes "overzealous" city employees, but don't you think that if a city employee had prevented the tree-cutting that Wilson laments, the developer who wanted to cut them would have complained about meddling city employees?

Unless I hear very specific deregulation proposals from the candidates, I'm going to assume that calls for eliminating "red tape" are at best just political posturing, or at worst, a call to give developers free rein to build what they want, wherever they want it.


Anonymous said...

HI David, I don't always reply or post in a timely fashion. I don't have a PC in my home, on purpose.

I don't believe in double talk or mixed metaphors so, I will if given a fair amount of time to reply, do so in all cases.

I don't believe you have taken enough time to understand my message to make comments like the ones you have posted here and in my blog.

I choose not to believe you are a fan of the status quo, please don't disappoint me

Anonymous said...

I like Joe Wilson personally, but I'm not sure I could vote for someone without a computer at home (by choice). Like it or not, it's an important communication tool.

But to the point: I'd like to see the City lobby to remove the law that prevents small businesses from gathering together to buy, say, health insurance at a better deal and rate. To be business friendly, the City can lobby Raleigh (like Mr. Frank did to get the airport commission [writing from memory and not from research] to include Winston-Salem a/w/a HP and GSO; some law had to be changed; he went to the Governor and got it changed).

If Mr. Frank (z''l) could do that, why can't the City?
Did you know there's a city ordinance for a business's rest room to have the paper hanger something like 19" from the floor? That's way too low, of course, but it's a law. A retail store cannot install the toilet paper at a reasonable height to pass inspection. Happened to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago; the inspector told her it makes no sense but do it and then if she wants, move it to a more reasonable height. This makes sense?

I'm sure there are more. I'm done complaining here for now :)

David Wharton said...

Thanks -- esp. for the health insurance information. I wonder what the reason for the state law is; it sounds like a bad one.

And maybe the building code is ripe for review.

Anonymous said...

anonymous , I feel signing your name to your posts is an important communication tool as well.Since you know me personally, you know I don't I like people who hide behind fences and throw mud.