From The Chair
From The Editor
Beware of Buried Liens: Improvement Liens and Assessments
Reviving Extinguished Junior Liens
The ALTA 2006 Policies and Endorsements
Transfer and Recordation Taxes
“The New Construction Law Committee”
Book Reviews
Recognition of ACREL Members


The Elements of Influence, Alan Kelly, Penguin Group, 2006. 304 pp. Illustrations, appendix, glossary, index. ISBN 0-525-94984-4.

Reviewed for Ground Rules Newsletter by:
Nancy P. Regelin, Esquire
Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, P.A.

Land use attorneys need a wide ranging set of skills and tools to help them effectively influence the outcome of a development application. In the face of sophisticated opposition, lack of political support, or unpopularity of a specific project, the land use practitioner needs a play book of moves and countermoves to manage opposition, reputation, and buzz. Alan Kelly has written such a playbook.

Kelly has created a system or “periodic chart” that clearly defines 25 moves for outmaneuvering the opposition, protecting a reputation, advancing ideas, controlling public discussions, and moving a proposition forward. The book is targeted to business leaders, marketers, politicians, and public relations experts, but is also an applicable guide for land use practitioners. In a clear, illustrated format, Kelly outlines precisely how to recognize, implement, counter, and master the ploys, plays and plans of all the players in the game.

As an example, have you ever used a “Label” to reshape the public’s perception? A Label can be a suggestive nickname or a well crafted sound bite that simplifies a complicated issue. Think “Slick Willy” vs. “The Comeback Kid” (Clinton) or “Intel Inside” (Intel chips).

How do you counter when a Label is used against your project? Alan Kelly provides a bevy of options to choose from.

When the opposition calls for historic designation to prevent redevelopment and labels a building that had previously been voted the ugliest building in town as “The Pink Bank,” try countering with: 1) a new Label – “The Future Site of Our New Town Center”; 2) expose the hypocrisy by running a “Mirror” – “Why are they calling it Pink? There is nothing pink about that building.”; 3) run a “Bait” – ridicule the made up Label –“It’s an act of desperation to call it The Pink Bank because they otherwise have no valid justifications for historic designation” ; 4) recast the Label as a bridge back to your position – “We may have fond memories of the Pink Bank but we knew then and we know now that it has no significant historical or architectural value”; or 5) run a “Bear Hug” – embrace the opposition’s point and use the opportunity and platform to good naturedly reinforce your position – “We support historic preservation but it undermines the value of other historic resources to designate marginal or inappropriate properties”.

The book provides invaluable ideas for times of strategic planning and for periods of crisis management.

The Elements of Influence decodes the plays that land use practitioners use, and opposition to projects use against everyday. The book outlines how to use the plays, how to recognize a play being used against you, and also importantly, which are the most effective moves to counter opposing plays. The information in this book will serve as a resource in your land use practice for years to come.

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