Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IF you are a political scientist....

A little dust-up over zoning over in Chapel Hill.

Mayor Kenneth Foy is on the record as opposing any development on land owned by a person who didn't contribute to his campaign.

During the dust-up at Chapel Hill City Council Meeting (just stop and think what a cluster f**k that meeting has to be...magnificent!), the following was observed by the Raleigh News and Observer reporter:

Georg Vanberg, a political science professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, called out council member Bill Strom for "looking down" and "not paying attention" as he spoke.

Vanberg accused the council of "procedural shenanigans" because Foy required speakers to wait until Ayden Court came up on the meeting agenda rather than allowing them to speak about the development during a public hearing on expanding uses of the high-density zone.

"By your vote, you made anything they said irrelevant," Vanberg said. "People are upset about [taxes], and you guys are doing your best to ruin the fiscal health of this community."

The mayor angrily countered Vanberg's "shenanigans" statement, saying the zoning change was a separate issue.

"If you're a political scientist," said Foy, "maybe you ought to inform yourself if you're going to start saying things like that."


IF? IF? Golly, Mayor Foy. I guess I was hoping you had some better rhetorical tactic than questioning someone's professional credentials. Like...a counterargument, something that addressed the claims being made.

But, since you decided to make that play, let's go to the "tale o'the tape" on "iffy" Political Scientist Georg Vanberg:


hmmm....doesn't really LOOK like a political scientist. Handsome, in good physical shape, has most of his hair....Maybe Mayor Foy is on to something!

But, no.

Dr. Georg Vanberg "is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Undergraduate Honors Program in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My research focuses on comparative political institutions. I am particularly interested in constitutional and judicial politics as well as in coalition theory. I teach courses on judicial and constitutional politics, formal modeling, and research design."

That is, he got a PhD at U of Rochester, one of the foremost graduate programs in political science. He is tenured at UNC, again one of the foremost programs in political science. And his c.v. shows broad and deep interests in elections and political economy. Me, I think he is qualified to offer some judgments about a city council meeting and its procedures.

Yup, he's a political scientist all right. If it hadn't been for those meddling kids, and their darned blog, the Mayor would have gotten away with it!

4 comments:

Angus said...

I love it, Vanberg pulled a South Park and "called shenanigans" on the mayor! One can only hope a brawl ensued.

Patrick said...

Once again, Jesse Helms' observation that putting a fence around Chapel Hill would be a better use of tax dollars than building a North Carolina Zoo is proven correct.

Anonymous said...

Patrick -

I don't know what world you live in, but I'm pretty sure that Jesse Helms would side with Georg on this issue. His point was that the developer owned the land, was told by city council for 2 years that she would get the zoning she requested, and that by reneging on those promises on the pretext of made up procedural problems, the city is sending a message to potential developers that Chapel Hill government doesn't respect personal property rights.

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