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.
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.