Summary of Regular Planning Commission Meeting October 17, 2011

The OPC finished the deliberation on the 2012 Capital Facilities Plan (CFP). I offer Subcommittee Chairperson Richard Wolf my heartfelt gratitude for an efficient and prompt turnaround on the commission’s commentary of the CFP. It seemed like he was against deadlines at every turn but he, the subcommittee, and the staff people who assisted completed their work without a hitch. Well done, folks!

Sadly, we didn’t have the impact fee component of the Olympia School District’s Capital Facilities Plan so there was little analysis to be done. This is after all probably the single most important issue that the OPC takes on with regard to its commentary on capital facilities, and I personally believe one of the greatest opportunities for collaboration in long term planning. The commission’s letter to the council further encouraged joint efforts but I am not necessarily a firm believer that people read or pay much attention to letters.

Like Grant, Sherman, McPherson, Ord, and McClernand, attempting to starve out the Pemberton’s garrison at Vicksburg, the Olympia Planning Commission still stares into its own Gibraltar of the West, the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Like that fortress’s stout defenses, little passes through the SMP deliberation without falling under blistering if not crippling fire. Sherman tried a frontal assault at Chickasaw Bluffs, which was easily repulsed. Next, McPherson’s division dug canals in an attempt to turn Vicksburg into Mont Saint-Michel at low tide. Admiral Porter later brought down his ironclad gun boats, many of which left the scene as lifeless and empty metallic boxes if they were lucky enough not to sink. After seven failures, Grant cut himself off from his base of supplies and campaigned until he could reestablish it on the dry side–the rebel side. Then his divisions cut off the rebel supply and escape routes, kept up a steady artillery barrage, and six weeks later, on July 4, 1863, Pemberton surrendered the city and its starved garrison and civilians.

In the OPC’s siege, I’m not sure whether we have cut off the enemy escape routes or are knee deep in malarial mud, with nary a sniff of victory on the horizon. Like Grant, Chair Horn is doing something. Last night, he introduced another strategy: he merged all of the reach designations into those which are most similar in typography with the idea that it might reduce some time spent and make the recommendation formulation process a little more intuitive. That, it may do. On the other hand, it may be another way to obscure the ultimate objective which has seemed up to this point shrouded in clouds, high on an uncompromising bluff, fortified by perfectly placed batteries, one after another.

At some point, will we send our transports down to run the batteries under deceptive cover of a moonless spring night? Will we sail 50 miles downstream and establish ourselves on dry ground, on the enemy’s side of the river, ready for a dash at their rear? Is this latest strategy the stroke of genius that rescues a brilliant campaign from a blundering one? Will the OPC send its recommendations to the city council by December 31, 2011 or die of malaria, starved from its supplies, and bloodily repulsed at every attempt?

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