Friday, December 08, 2006

Sea Grant Board Member to Head LI Planning Board

Michael White, who apparently has some environmental bona fides (chairman of the LI chapter of the League of Conservation Voters, board member of New York Sea Grant) is going to be named to head the Long Island Regional Planning Board, replacing Lee Koppelman, a legend who wore out his welcome.

I know Koppelman mainly from reputation but also because I heard him speak once at a Long Island Sound Task Force conference and because I looked through (read would be too strong a word) a book (The Urban Sea: Long Island Sound) of which he was a co-author. Either it was too turgid or I was too obtuse but I didn’t get much out of it. Koppelman was a strong leader, I gather, who didn’t leave many friends behind or, if he did, Newsday didn’t bother to find them.

As for White, if you’re the head of an LCV chapter, by definition you are perceived as a moderate who works well with Democrats and Republicans or, in this case, builders and environmentalists. The LI Regional Planning Board has no equivalent that I’ve ever heard of in Connecticut and is far more influential than the Westchester County Planning Board, but even so it’s an advisory group whose power is limited to its ability to get people to agree that its ideas are good. Whether its influence over the years has been good or bad is for Long Islanders to decide, I guess, but I don’t consider Long Island, the birthplace of suburban sprawl, to be a paradigm of good planning.



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