On the campaign trail, Meg Whitman has been telling a story about how it took eBay two and a half years to get a permit for a new building in Sunnyvale.
She cites this as an example of California's burdensome regulatory environment, which she would streamline if she were elected governor.
The folks at Calbuzz, not afraid of delving into a land-use story, went to the archives and concluded Meg's story is total bunk.
For one thing, the building wasn't in Sunnyvale. It was in San Jose.
Second, from the time that eBay submitted its proposed general plan change, it took only six months for the city to approve it. As the Calbuzzers note, that's lightning-fast for a general plan change.
Third, the major delay occurred when eBay took two years to draft its building plans. This is not some onerous government requirement. It's a basic necessity. You can't build a building without plans.
Fourth, once the building plans were submitted to city inspectors, it took four months for the city to sign off on them. Again, pretty fast.
And fifth, in 2008 Whitman herself praised San Jose's municipal staff for always being “extremely flexible in helping to anticipate and meet our rapidly changing needs.”
One other note: Is this even a state issue? Does the governor have the power to make a city planning department expedite its approval process?