The word is getting around town on the resignation of nationally known urban planner Bill Fulton after slightly more than a year on the job.
"He had very little support from the mayor and there was no serious effort to try and keep him here," says Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego and an expert in local government. Fulton suffered a "death of a thousand cuts," says Erie.
The turning point came after Faulconer was elected. However, upon the resignation, Faulconer issued the obligatory praise for Fulton, who returned the insincere laudations.
Fulton "lost his million-dollar Civic Innovation Lab, his baby. Faulconer took it out of the budget," says Erie. Fulton supported the Barrio Logan community plan which was knocked down in a referendum. Fulton encountered opposition to greater density in the Ocean Beach community plan, which was modified. He faced more opposition over the Morena trolley line. Also, he lost the authority to oversee economic development when it became a separate department.
"Faulconer was afraid to fire [Fulton] because there would have been a huge backlash," says Erie. "Outside of downtown the NIMBYs rule — there is fierce opposition to higher density."