A Planner Goes To City Hall

Longtime planner and journalist Bill Fulton took on a side-project in the 2000s: a seat on the city council and then mayorship of the city of Ventura, California. Fulton's new book Talk City offers a real-time account of local politics.
May 2, 2018, 7am PDT | Josh Stephens
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chrismeugniot

"Bill has complied a selection of these blog posts for his sixth book on urban planning and politics, Talk City: A Chronicle of Political Life in an All-American Town. It offers an intimate look at what local politics in California entails, and it offers an important real-life counterpoint to the theorizing and third-person reportage that comprise much of his other writing."

"At its best, the blog became kind of a dialog between me and constituents to puzzle through policy and planning questions.....I spent a lot more time writing and thinking and working through for my constituents why I operate the way I do in much more detail than I ever imagined I would have to. A lot of it was being able to frame issues in a thoughtful way." 

"I think what planners and planning-oriented elected officials will relate to is really how much harder it is to accomplish things than it looks like from the audience. I’ve always said: Ultimately, planning is politics. That’s been a theme of my whole writing career. Planning is whatever gets three votes on a Monday night or a Tuesday morning. You're not going to wind up with an ideal outcome. But planners have to understand the political process and how to make sure the political process yields good planning results."

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Published on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in California Planning & Development Report
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