Friday, September 25, 2009

Those vacation benefits in Metro Planning must be sweet

Back in mid-July I failed to get a response from Planning Direct Rick Bernhardt to an e-mailed request for elaboration on exactly what merits he saw in developer Tony Giarratana's hustled reconsideration of the May Town Center proposal after it's defeat. So, I blogged about Planning's failure to respond. Almost immediately, Planning spokesperson and former TV journalist Craig Owensby responded that Mr. Bernhardt could not reply because he was on vacation. I dutifully updated that info in fairness to the Planning Director.

However, no good deed goes unpunished. Nearly two months later I have yet to hear back from Rick Bernhardt on what kind of merits and precedents are driving the reconsideration of May Town Center, which is now scheduled for an October meeting. I don't know whether to chalk up the lack of follow through to Planning's ineffectiveness or to Mr. Bernhardt's intention to bring back May Town Center from the dead without any justification whatsoever. But this failure in transparency, this lack of accountability to concerned taxpayers is inexcusable.

UPDATE: In going back over the e-mails between me and Planning's Craig Owensby, I discovered that Craig himself failed to reply to a request for information I made at the same time he was correcting me for expecting a response from the vacationing Rick Bernhardt. Answering information I received that the West Nashville Community Plan was kept off the consent agenda (which the Commission passed without consideration or debate) in order to ease passage of May Town Center, Owensby retorted that the plan was never on the consent agenda. I came back with a follow up:
Thanks, Craig. Blog updated.

At least one Hillwood leader insists that they were told in discussions with Planning that their plan would be put on the consent agenda ... Any idea how planners would have left such an impression during their west Nashville discussions?
Mr. Owensby has yet to respond to my July query. Maybe he went on extended vacation, too.

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