Why would a $100M power plant zoning approval take 3 minutes and a request to build a $10,000 bike rack for city sidewalks take hours?
It's easy to be swept up in the trivial and fun stuff, starving the big issues for the time and consideration they merit. Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a British historian and operations researcher, penned this extreme example of decision-making in meetings in his book Parkinson's Law. Paraphrasing the Wikipedia entry, the powerplant is so expensive, the sums of money are hard to frame.
Via Deb Nystrom, REVELN, Mark E. Deschaine, PhD