On November 7, 1967, the voters of Cleveland, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana, elected the nation's first African-American mayors to govern their cities. Ten years later more than two hundred black mayors held office, and by 1993 sixty-seven major urban centers, most with majority-white populations, were headed by African Americans.
Once in office, African-American mayors faced vexing challenges. In large and small cities from the Sunbelt to the Rustbelt, black mayors assumed office during economic downturns and confronted the intractable problems of decaying inner cities, white flight, a dwindling tax base, violent crime, and diminishing federal support for social programs. Many encountered hostility from their own parties, city councils, and police departments; others worked against long-established power structures dominated by local business owners or politicians. Still others, while trying to respond to multiple demands from a diverse constituency, were viewed as traitors by blacks expecting special attention from a leader of their own race. All struggled with the contradictory mandate of meeting the increasing needs of poor inner-city residents while keeping white businesses from fleeing to the suburbs.
This is the first comprehensive treatment of the complex phenomenon of African-American mayors in the nation's major urban centers. Offering a diverse portrait of leadership, conflict, and almost insurmountable obstacles, this volume assesses the political alliances that brought black mayors to office as well as their accomplishments--notably, increased minority hiring and funding for minority businesses--and the challenges that marked their careers. Mayors profiled include Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland), Richard G. Hatcher (Gary), "Dutch" Morial (New Orleans), Harold Washington (Chicago), Tom Bradley (Los Angeles), Marion Barry (Washington, D.C.), David Dinkins (New York City), Coleman Young (Detroit), and a succession of black mayors in Atlanta (Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, and Bill Campbell).
Probing the elusive economic dimension of black power, African-American Mayors demonstrates how the same circumstances that set the stage for the victories of black mayors exaggerated the obstacles they faced.
Today, Bernie Sanders is a household name, a wildly popular presidential candidate and an icon for progressive Democrats in the United States. But back in the 1980s, this “democratic socialist”—though some folks would prefer the term “social democrat”—was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where his administration attempted radical reforms. Some efforts were successful, but when a waterfront deal failed, it was not due to Sanders' efforts; he would rather compromise and have a net gain than be an ideological purist.
In his preface to this reissue of the 1990 book, Challenging the Boundaries of Reform, W. J. Conroy reflects on the recent legacy of Sanders, his Agenda for America, and his appeal to young voters. His book then looks back to identify Sanders’ experience in Burlington by examining several case studies that unfolded amidst a conservative trend nationally, an unsympathetic state government, and a hostile city council.
Ultimately, Conroy asks what lessons can be drawn from the case of Burlington that would aid the American left in its struggle to capture both government and civil society?
Recent years have witnessed a dramatic growth in the number of black elected officials. Although blacks still constitute barely 1 percent of elected officeholders in the nation, their increasing political power cannot be denied. In Black Representation and Urban Policy, Albert K. Karnig and Susan Welch focus on the election of blacks to mayoral and city council seats, using the most current data available on more than 250 cities. They address two major questions: What conditions promote blacks' chances of winning election to public office? Does the election of blacks to municipal office have an effect on urban policy?
In exploring the factors that underlie the election of blacks to public office, the authors found that the resources of the black community itself—the size as well as the education and income of the black population—are the best predictors of blacks' winning political office. The authors' assessment of the impact of black elected officials on urban policy constitutes perhaps their most profoundly important finding. Cities with black mayors have had greater increases in social welfare expenditures than have similar communities without black mayors. The authors point out that election of blacks to mayoral posts, then, can have more than symbolic consequences for public policy.
Indebtedness, like inequality, has become a ubiquitous condition in the United States. Yet few have probed American cities’ dependence on municipal debt or how the terms of municipal finance structure racial privileges, entrench spatial neglect, elide democratic input, and distribute wealth and power.
In this passionate and deeply researched book, Destin Jenkins shows in vivid detail how, beyond the borrowing decisions of American cities and beneath their quotidian infrastructure, there lurks a world of politics and finance that is rarely seen, let alone understood. Focusing on San Francisco, The Bonds of Inequality offers a singular view of the postwar city, one where the dynamics that drove its creation encompassed not only local politicians but also banks, credit rating firms, insurance companies, and the national municipal bond market. Moving between the local and the national, The Bonds of Inequality uncovers how racial inequalities in San Francisco were intrinsically tied to municipal finance arrangements and how these arrangements were central in determining the distribution of resources in the city. By homing in on financing and its imperatives, Jenkins boldly rewrites the history of modern American cities, revealing the hidden strings that bind debt and power, race and inequity, democracy and capitalism.
Careers in City Politics provides an in-depth view of the vital aspects of local politics-access to political office, individual office holder's accountability to the public, the performance of councils as collective political bodies, and the often high turnover of personnel.
Timothy Bledsoe bases his findings on the political careers of more than eight-hundred city council members representing cities with large and medium populations. Tracing how some officials' careers unfolded over five years, Bledsoe studies their reasons for seeking office and examines how successful they were in adapting to their jobs. He evaluates office-holders whose council careers were cut short and those whose lengthy service qualified them as “careerists,” paying special attention to first-term officials and to those who used their seats as stepping-stones to higher political offices. In this first-of-its-kind study, Bledsoe offers specific recommendations for restoring some of the lost vigor to local politics.
From Montreal’s grassroots activists, city planners, and engaged citizens, a guide to building radical municipal power from the ground up.
World cities face persistent tension between the pull of globalization and the needs of citizens. Conventional political parties present milquetoast solutions that accommodate the interests of business. Meanwhile, citizens in cafes, meeting halls, on the streets, and now in virtual forums are rising to the challenge of imagining new and radical municipal policy from the ground up. This book explores the future of Montreal’s citizen lead movements at a moment defined by the threats of pandemic, austerity, housing speculation and insecurity, and racism. It pairs contemporary analysis with an exploration of Montreal’s rich municipal history. The editors of A Citizen’s Guide to City Politics gathered more than twenty activists, urban planners, and thinkers to address the major problems facing Montrealers and propose alternatives from a citizen's perspective. Municipal movements everywhere will see their own struggles reflected in this guide and will find inspiration for debate and action.
Stephen L. Elkin deftly combines the empirical and normative strands of political science to make a powerfully original statement about what cities are, can, and should be. Rejecting the idea that two goals of city politics—equality and efficiency—are opposed to one another, Elkin argues that a commercial republic could achieve both. He then takes the unusual step of addressing how the political institutions of the city can help to form the kind of citizenry such a republic needs.
The present workings of American urban political institutions are, Elkin maintains, characterized by a close relationship between politicians and businessmen, a relationship that promotes neither political equality nor effective social problem-solving. Elkin pays particular attention to the issue of land-use in his analysis of these failures of popular control in traditional city politics. Urban political institutions, however, are not just instruments for the dispensing of valued outcomes or devices for social problem-solving—they help to form the citizenry. Our present institutions largely define citizens as interest group adversaries and do little to encourage them to focus on the commercial public interest of the city. Elkin concludes by proposing new institutional arrangements that would be better able to harness the self-interested behavior of individuals for the common good of a commercial republic.
Paul E. Peterson University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress JS341.P47 | Dewey Decimal 320.80973
Winner of the 1981 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs.
"City Limits radically reinterprets urban politics by deriving its dominant forces from the logic of the American federal structure. It is thereby able to explain some pervasive tendencies of urban political outcomes that are puzzling or scarcely noticed at all when cities are viewed as autonomous units, outside the federal framework. Professor Peterson's analysis is imaginativelyfor conceived and skillfully carried through. His beautifully finished volume will lastingly alter our understanding of urban affairs in America."—from the citation by the selection committee for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award
Until recently, policy evaluation has mostly meant assessing whether government programs raise reading levels, decrease teen pregnancy rates, improve air quality levels, lower drunk-driving rates, or achieve any of the other goals that government programs are ostensibly created to do. Whether or not such programs also have consequences with respect to future demands for government action and whether government programs can heighten—or dampen—citizen involvement in civic activities are questions that are typically overlooked.
This book applies such questions to local government. Employing policy feedback theory to a series of local government programs, Elaine B. Sharp shows that these programs do have consequences with respect to citizens’ political participation. Unlike other feedback theory investigations, which tend to focus on federal government programs, Sharp’s looks at a broad range of policy at the local level, including community policing programs, economic development for businesses, and neighborhood empowerment programs.
With this clear-eyed analysis, Sharp finds that local governments’ social program activities actually dampen participation of the have-nots, while cities’ development programs reinforce the political involvement of already-privileged business interests. Meanwhile, iconic urban programs such as community policing and broader programs of neighborhood empowerment fail to enhance civic engagement or build social capital at the neighborhood level; at worst, they have the potential to deepen divisions—especially racial divisions—that undercut urban neighborhoods.
Toronto prides itself on being “the world’s most diverse city,” and its officials seek to support this diversity through programs and policies designed to promote social inclusion. Yet this progressive vision of law often falls short in practice, limited by problems inherent in the political culture itself. In Everyday Law on the Street, Mariana Valverde brings to light the often unexpected ways that the development and implementation of policies shape everyday urban life.
Drawing on four years spent participating in council hearings and civic association meetings and shadowing housing inspectors and law enforcement officials as they went about their day-to-day work, Valverde reveals a telling transformation between law on the books and law on the streets. She finds, for example, that some of the democratic governing mechanisms generally applauded—public meetings, for instance—actually create disadvantages for marginalized groups, whose members are less likely to attend or articulate their concerns. As a result, both officials and citizens fail to see problems outside the point of view of their own needs and neighborhood.
Taking issue with Jane Jacobs and many others, Valverde ultimately argues that Toronto and other diverse cities must reevaluate their allegiance to strictly local solutions. If urban diversity is to be truly inclusive—of tenants as well as homeowners, and recent immigrants as well as longtime residents—cities must move beyond micro-local planning and embrace a more expansive, citywide approach to planning and regulation.
The new immigrants who have poured into the United States over the past thirty years are rapidly changing the political landscape of American cities. Like their predecessors at the turn of the century, recent immigrants have settled overwhelmingly in a few large urban areas, where they receive their first sustained experience with government in this country, including its role in policing, housing, health care, education, and the job market. Governing American Cities brings together the best research from both established and rising scholars to examine the changing demographics of America's cities, the experience of these new immigrants, and their impact on urban politics. Building on the experiences of such large ports of entry as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, and Washington D.C., Governing American Cities addresses important questions about the incorporation of the newest immigrants into American political life. Are the new arrivals joining existing political coalitions or forming new ones? Where competition exists among new and old ethnic and racial groups, what are its characteristics and how can it be harnessed to meet the needs of each group? How do the answers to these questions vary across cities and regions? In one chapter, Peter Kwong uses New York's Chinatown to demonstrate how divisions within immigrant communities can cripple efforts to mobilize immigrants politically. Sociologist Guillermo Grenier uses the relationship between blacks and Latinos in Cuban-American dominated Miami to examine the nature of competition in a city largely controlled by a single ethnic group. And Matthew McKeever takes the 1997 mayoral race in Houston as an example of the importance of inter-ethnic relations in forging a successful political consensus. Other contributors compare the response of cities with different institutional set-ups; some cities have turned to the private sector to help incorporate the new arrivals, while others rely on traditional political channels. Governing American Cities crosses geographic and disciplinary borders to provide an illuminating review of the complex political negotiations taking place between new immigrants and previous residents as cities adjust to the newest ethnic succession. A solution-oriented book, the authors use concrete case studies to help formulate suggestions and strategies, and to highlight the importance of reframing urban issues away from the zero-sum battles of the past.
Implementing City Sustainability examines the structures and processes that city governments employ to pursue environmental, social, and economic well-being within their communities. As American cities adopt sustainability objectives, they are faced with the need to overcome fuzzy-boundary, coordination, and collective action challenges to achieve successful implementation.
Sustainability goals often do not fit neatly into traditional city government structures, which tend to be organized around specific functional responsibilities, such as planning, public works, parks and recreation, and community development. The authors advance a theory of Functional Collective Action and apply it to local sustainability to explain how cities can—and in some cases do—organize to successfully administer changes to achieve complex objectives that transcend these organizational separations. Implementing City Sustainability uses a mixed-method research design and original data to provide a national overview of cities’ sustainability arrangements, as well as eight city case studies highlighting different means of organizing to achieve functional collective action.
By focusing not just on what cities are doing to further sustainability, but also on how they are doing it, the authors show how administrative structure enables—or inhibits—cities to overcome functional divides and achieve successful outcomes.
Perhaps the most contested patch of earth in the world, Jerusalem’s Old City experiences consistent violent unrest between Israeli and Palestinian residents, with seemingly no end in sight. Today, Jerusalem’s endless cycle of riots and arrests appears intractable—even unavoidable—and it looks unlikely that harmony will ever be achieved in the city. But with Jerusalem 1900, historian Vincent Lemire shows us that it wasn’t always that way, undoing the familiar notion of Jerusalem as a lost cause and revealing a unique moment in history when a more peaceful future seemed possible.
In this masterly history, Lemire uses newly opened archives to explore how Jerusalem’s elite residents of differing faiths cooperated through an intercommunity municipal council they created in the mid-1860s to administer the affairs of all inhabitants and improve their shared city. These residents embraced a spirit of modern urbanism and cultivated a civic identity that transcended religion and reflected the relatively secular and cosmopolitan way of life of Jerusalem at the time. These few years would turn out to be a tipping point in the city’s history—a pivotal moment when the horizon of possibility was still open, before the council broke up in 1934, under British rule, into separate Jewish and Arab factions. Uncovering this often overlooked diplomatic period, Lemire reveals that the struggle over Jerusalem was not historically inevitable—and therefore is not necessarily intractable. Jerusalem 1900 sheds light on how the Holy City once functioned peacefully and illustrates how it might one day do so again.
A pathbreaking look at how progressive policy change for economic justice has swept U.S. cities
In the 2010s cities and counties across the United States witnessed long-overdue change as they engaged more than ever before with questions of social, economic, and racial justice. After decades of urban economic restructuring that intensified class divides and institutional and systemic racism, dozens of local governments countered the conventional wisdom that cities couldn’t address inequality—enacting progressive labor market policies, from $15 minimum wages to paid sick leave.
Justice at Work examines the mutually reinforcing roles of economic and racial justice organizing and policy entrepreneurship in building power and support for policy changes. Bridging urban social movement and urban politics studies, it demonstrates how economic and racial justice coalitions are collectively the critical institution underpinning progressive change. It also shows that urban policy change is driven by “urban policy entrepreneurs” who use public space and the intangible resources of the city to open “agenda windows” for progressive policy proposals incubated through national networks.
Through case studies of organizing and policy change efforts in cities including Chicago, Seattle, and New Orleans around minimum wages, targeted hiring, paid time off, fair scheduling, and anti-austerity, Marc Doussard and Greg Schrock show that the contemporary wave of successful progressive organizing efforts is likely to endure. Yet they caution that success is dependent on skillful organizing that builds and sustains power at the grassroots—and skillful policy work inside City Hall. By promoting justice at—and increasingly beyond—work, these movements hold the potential to unlock a new model for inclusive economic development in cities.
As recently as the early 1960s, Latinos were almost totally excluded from city politics. This makes the rise of Latino mayors in the past three decades a remarkable American story—one that explains ethnic succession, changing urban demography, and political contexts. The vibrant collection Latino Mayors features case studies of eleven Latino mayors in six American cities: San Antonio, Los Angeles, Denver, Hartford, Miami, and Providence.
The editors and contributors analyze Latino mayors for their governing styles and policies. They describe how candidates shaped race, class, and economic issues—particularly in deracialized campaigns. Latino Mayors also addresses coalition politics, political incorporation, and how community groups operate, as well as the challenges these pioneers have faced in office from political tensions and governance issues that sometimes even harm Latinos.
Ultimately, Latino Mayors charts the performances, successes, and failures of these elected officials to represent their constituents in a changing economic and urban environment.
Contributors include: Stefanie Chambers, Carlos E. Cuéllar, Emily M. Farris, Maria Ilcheva, Robert Preuhs, Heywood T. Sanders, Ellen Shiau, and the editors.
Although the relationship between elected officials and appointed executives has often been viewed as a struggle between master and servant—with disagreements as to which individuals occupy which roles—Poul Erik Mouritzen’s and James Svara’s comparison of city governments in fourteen countries reveals more interdependence and shared influence than conflict over control.
Mouritzen and Svara bring local government to the forefront, emphasizing the sophisticated level of city management in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their findings lead to a revision of the general view concerning the boundaries of public administration. <I>Leadership at the Apex</I> illustrates in practical ways how the democratic control of government and professional administration can coexist without undermining the logic or integrity of each other.
This multidisciplinary volume, the first of its kind, presents an account of China’s contemporary transformation via one of its most important yet overlooked cities: Shenzhen, located just north of Hong Kong. In recent decades, Shenzhen has transformed from an experimental site for economic reform into a dominant city at the crossroads of the global economy. The first of China’s special economic zones, Shenzhen is today a UNESCO City of Design and the hub of China’s emerging technology industries.
Bringing China studies into dialogue with urban studies, the contributors explore how the post-Mao Chinese appropriation of capitalist logic led to a dramatic remodeling of the Chinese city and collective life in China today. These essays show how urban villages and informal institutions enabled social transformation through cases of public health, labor, architecture, gender, politics, education, and more. Offering scholars and general readers alike an unprecedented look at one of the world’s most dynamic metropolises, this collective history uses the urban case study to explore critical problems and possibilities relevant for modern-day China and beyond.
Making Sense of the City explores the ways in which urbanites have attempted to confront the challenges of urban life during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the spirit of Zane L. Miller, whom this volume honors, the nine contributors focus closely on the words and actions of individuals, institutions, and organizations who participated in the public discourse about what the city was or could be. Through an examination of such topics as city charters, city planning texts, neighborhood organizations, municipal recreation programs, urban government reforms, urban identity, and fair housing campaigns, the authors offer insight into the process through which ideas about the nature of the city have affected action in the urban environment.
What is the best way to govern ourselves? The history of the West has been shaped by the struggle to answer this question, according to Pierre Manent. A major achievement by one of Europe's most influential political philosophers, Metamorphoses of the City is a sweeping interpretation of Europe's ambition since ancient times to generate ever better forms of collective self-government, and a reflection on what it means to be modern.
Manent's genealogy of the nation-state begins with the Greek city-state, the polis. With its creation, humans ceased to organize themselves solely by family and kinship systems and instead began to live politically. Eventually, as the polis exhausted its possibilities in warfare and civil strife, cities evolved into empires, epitomized by Rome, and empires in turn gave way to the universal Catholic Church and finally the nation-state. Through readings of Aristotle, Augustine, Montaigne, and others, Manent charts an intellectual history of these political forms, allowing us to see that the dynamic of competition among them is a central force in the evolution of Western civilization.
Scarred by the legacy of world wars, submerged in an increasingly technical transnational bureaucracy, indecisive in the face of proliferating crises of representative democracy, the European nation-state, Manent says, is nearing the end of its line. What new metamorphosis of the city will supplant it remains to be seen.
Different forms of city government are in widespread use across the United States. The two most common structures are the mayor-council form and the council-manager form. In many large U.S. cities, there have been passionate movements to change the structure of city governments and equally intense efforts to defend an existing structure. Charter change (or preservation) is supported to solve problems such as legislative gridlock, corruption, weak executive leadership, short-range policies, or ineffective delivery of services. Some of these cities changed their form of government through referendum while other cities chose to retain the form in use.
More than Mayor or Manager offers in-depth case studies of fourteen large U.S. cities that have considered changing their form of government over the past two decades: St. Petersburg, Florida; Spokane, Washington; Hartford, Connecticut; Richmond, Virginia; San Diego, California; Oakland, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; Topeka, Kansas; St. Louis, Missouri; and Portland, Oregon. The case studies shed light on what these constitutional contests teach us about different forms of government—the causes that support movements for change, what the advocates of change promised, what is at stake for the nature of elected and professional leadership and the relationship between leaders, and why some referendums succeeded while others failed. This insightful volume will be of special interest to leaders and interest groups currently considering or facing efforts to change the form of government as well as scholars in the field of urban studies.
For all the wrong reasons, a national spotlight is shining on Chicago. The city has become known for its violence, police abuse, parent and teacher unrest, population decline, and mounting municipal and pension debt. The underlying problem, contend Ed Bachrach and Austin Berg, is that deliberative democracy is dead in the city. Chicago is home to the last strongman political system in urban America. The mayor holds all the power, and any perceived checks on mayoral control are often proven illusory. Rash decisions have resulted in poor outcomes. The outrageous consequences of unchecked power are evident in government failures in elections, schools, fiscal discipline, corruption, public support for private enterprise, policing, and more.
Rather than simply lament the situation, criticize specific leaders, or justify an ideology, Bachrach and Berg compare the decisions about Chicago’s governance and finances with choices made in fourteen other large U.S. cities. The problems that seem unique to Chicago have been encountered elsewhere, and Chicagoans, the authors posit, can learn from the successful solutions other cities have embraced.
Chicago government and its citizens must let go of the past to prepare for the future, argue Bachrach and Berg. A future filled with demographic, technological, and economic change requires a government capable of responding and adapting. Reforms can transform the city. The prescriptions for change provided in this book point toward a hopeful future: the New Chicago Way.
A critical look at how and why the boundary lines of New Jersey's 566 municipalities were drawn, pointing to the irrationality of these excessive divisions.
Alan Karcher looks at the history and high cost of New Jersey's multiple municipalities. He investigates the economic considerations, political pressures, and personal agendas that created the bizarre configurations dividing the Garden State, while analyzing the public policies that allowed and even encouraged the formation of new municipalities. Karcher also examines the political dynamics that thwarted every effort of New Jersey metropolises to join the front ranks of major American cities.
Karcher identifies the major motivations behind the unparalleled experience of New Jersey's municipal multiplication. He delves deeply into the primary causes of new lines being drawn, such as road appropriations, the location of a railroad station, control of a local school district, the regulation of alcohol sales, and the preservation of exclusivity prior to the acceptance of zoning. He also assesses the present situation and what has happened in the past 60 years since the municipal multiplication madness ceased, calling on elected officials to confront reality and correct yesterday's excesses.
The genesis of the present political map of the state is a story that while interesting is not always charming, while fascinating is far from edifying. Little in the history can be called quaint. Rather it is a story of separation and exclusion, of division and greed, of preservation of prerogatives and prejudices. It is a story that supports the conclusion that these lines are rarely the product of chance, rather they were drawn by politicians with very human foibles and frailties, and with very narrow agendas-agendas that have proven to be egregiously expensive for today's taxpayers.
Alan Karcher, the former Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly during the activist 1980s, currently practices municipal law in Middlesex County. He represents the third generation of his family to serve as a member of the New Jersey State Legislature.
NEWER IDEALS OF PEACE
Jane Addams University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress HN64.A25 2007 | Dewey Decimal 306.20973
In this her second book, Jane Addams moves beyond humanitarian appeals to sensibility and prudence, advancing a more aggressive, positive idea of peace as a dynamic social process emerging out of the poorer quarters of cosmopolitan cities. Her deep analysis of relations among diverse groups in U.S. society, exemplified by inter-ethnic and labor relations in Chicago, draws widely useful lessons for both domestic and global peace, in an early formulation of today’s "globalization from below."
In an unprecedented, revolutionary critique of the pervasive militarization of society, Addams applies her scathing pen to traditional advocates and philosophers of “negative” peace, founders of the U.S. constitution, militarists, bigots, imperialists, and theories of “democratic peace” and liberal capitalism. Instead she sees a slow, powerful emergence of forces from below--the poor, the despised, workers, women, ethnic and racial communities, oppressed groups at home and abroad--that would invent moral substitutes for war and gradually shape a just, peaceful, and varied social order. An extensive, in-depth introduction by Berenice Carroll and Clinton Fink provides historical context, analysis, and a reassessment of the theoretical and practical significance of Newer Ideals of Peace today.
American cities continue to experience profound fiscal crises. Falling revenues cannot keep pace with the increased costs of vital public services, infrastructure development and improvement, and adequately funded pensions. Chicago presents an especially vivid example of these issues, as the state of Illinois's rocky fiscal condition compounds the city's daunting budget challenges. In The People's Money, Michael A. Pagano curates a group of essays that emerged from discussions at the 2018 UIC Urban Forum. The contributors explore fundamental questions related to measuring the fiscal health of cities, including how cities can raise revenue, the accountability of today's officials for the future financial position of a city, the legal and practical obstacles to pension reform and a balanced budget, and whether political collaboration offers an alternative to the competition that often undermines regional governance.Contributors: Jered B. Carr, Rebecca Hendrick, Martin J. Luby, David Merriman, Michael A. Pagano, David Saustad, Casey Sebetto, Michael D. Siciliano, James E. Spiotto, Gary Strong, Shu Wang, and Yonghong Wu
Around the same time that Richard J. Daley governed Chicago, greasing the wheels of his notorious political machine during a tenure that lasted from 1955 to his death in 1976, Anthony “Dutch” Hamann’s “reform” government centralized authority to similar effect in San Jose. In light of their equally exclusive governing arrangements—a similarity that seems to defy their reputations—Jessica Trounstine asks whether so-called bosses and reformers are more alike than we might have realized.
Situating her in-depth studies of Chicago and San Jose in the broad context of data drawn from more than 240 cities over the course of a century, she finds that the answer—a resounding yes—illuminates the nature of political power. Both political machines and reform governments, she reveals, bias the system in favor of incumbents, effectively establishing monopolies that free governing coalitions from dependence on the support of their broader communities. Ironically, Trounstine goes on to show, the resulting loss of democratic responsiveness eventually mobilizes residents to vote monopolistic regimes out of office. Envisioning an alternative future for American cities, Trounstine concludes by suggesting solutions designed to free urban politics from this damaging cycle.
When the 2011 municipal takeover in Flint, Michigan placed the city under state control, some supported the intervention while others saw it as an affront to democracy. Still others were ambivalent about what was supposed to be a temporary disruption. However, the city’s fiscal emergency soon became a public health emergency—the Flint Water Crisis—that captured international attention.
But how did Flint’s municipal takeovers, which suspended local representational government, alter the local political system? In Power, Participation, and Protest in Flint, Michigan, Ashley Nickels addresses the ways residents, groups, and organizations were able to participate politically—or not—during the city’s municipal takeovers in 2002 and 2011. She explains how new politics were created as organizations developed, new coalitions emerged and evolved, and people’s understanding of municipal takeovers changed.
Inwalking readers through the policy history of, implementation of, and reaction to Flint’s two municipal takeovers, Nickels highlights how the ostensibly apolitical policy is, in fact, highly political.
Who and what a government taxes, and how the government spends the money collected, are questions of primary concern to governments large and small, national and local. When public revenues pay for high-quality infrastructure and social services, citizens thrive and crises are averted. When public revenues are inadequate to provide those goods, inequality thrives and communities can verge into unrest—as evidenced by the riots during Greece’s financial meltdown and by the needless loss of life in Haiti’s collapse in the wake of the earthquake.
In The Public Good and the Brazilian State, Anne G. Hanley assembles an economic history of public revenues as they developed in nineteenth-century Brazil. Specifically, Hanley investigates the financial life of the municipality—a district comparable to the county in the United States—to understand how the local state organized and prioritized the provision of public services, what revenues paid for those services, and what happened when the revenues collected failed to satisfy local needs. Through detailed analyses of municipal ordinances, mayoral reports, citizen complaints, and financial documents, Hanley sheds light on the evolution of public finance and its effect on the early economic development of Brazilian society. This deeply researched book offers valuable insights for anyone seeking to better understand how municipal finance informs histories of inequality and underdevelopment.
The decentralization of public policy from the federal government to state and local governments offers increased opportunities for ordinary citizens to participate directly in public policymaking. Yet these opportunities may not be equally shared. Due to a variety of factors, low-income citizens have long been denied a meaningful role in the public life and governance of our country.
By contrast, the essays in this volume explore how low-income citizens have successfully affected public policy. The book is built around six case studies, all from Texas, that cover education finance and reform, local infrastructure provision, environmental protection, and indigent health care.
This research illuminates several issues of national importance, including how communities gain standing and recognition for themselves and their issues, how policy agendas are defined, how communities mobilize technical and institutional resources, and how they form coalitions and alliances to accomplish their goals.
Reforming Philadelphia examines the cyclical efforts of insurgents to change the city’s government over nearly 350 years. Political scientist Richardson Dilworth tracks reformers as they create a new purpose for the city or reshape the government to reflect emerging ideas. Some wish to thwart the “corrupt machine,” while others seek to gain control of the government via elections. These actors formed coalitions and organizations that disrupted the status quo in the hope of transforming the city (and perhaps also enriching themselves).
Dilworth addresses Philadelphia’s early development through the present day, including momentous changes from its new city charter in 1885 and the Republican machine that emerged around the same time to its transformation to a Democratic stronghold in the 1950s, when the city also experienced a racial transition. Focusing primarily on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Dilworth evaluates the terms of Mayors Frank Rizzo, Wilson Goode, and Ed Rendell, as well as John Street, Michael Nutter, and Jim Kenney to illustrate how power and resistance function, and how Philadelphia’s political history and reform cycles offer a conceptual model that can easily be applied to other cities.
Reforming Philadelphia provides a new framework for understanding the evolving relationship between national politics and local, city politics.
With rapid increases in urban populations, there is an urgent need to transform our world’s cities in keeping with ecological imperatives and democratic principles. A growing worldwide citizen movement is attempting to challenge bureaucratic administrations and replace the politics of fear with neighborhood power, direct democracy, and solidarity. They believe that threats of capitalism, totalitarianism, and climate change require imaginative political resistance rooted where they live.
Combining political theory, philosophy, history, and intimate narrative, Take the City! presents an expansive view of municipalist movements around the world. With over twenty contributors, including David Harvey, this anthology provides crucial insights into the challenges ahead by looking at and beyond municipal electoral politics. Stories of diverse regions and issues illuminate the nuances of municipalist movements of the past and present, providing a roadmap of the fight for our future. From Seattle to Kurdistan, Burlington to Oaxaca, Barcelona to Mississippi, and Vienna to Montreal, contributors carefully consider the intertwined questions concerning current crises in housing, the environment, democracy, and capitalism.
At Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln described government by the people as "the great task remaining before us." Many citizens of modern America, frustrated and disheartened, are tempted to despair of realizing that ideal. Yet, it is a project still alive in parts of New England.
This book traces the origins of town-meeting democracy in Ashfield, a community of just under 2,000 people in the foothills of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Donald Robinson begins by recounting several crises at the town's founding in the eighteenth century that helped to shape its character. He shows how the town has changed since then and examines how democratic self-government functions in the modern context.
The picture is not pretty. Self-government carries no guarantees, and Ashfield is no utopia. Human failings are abundantly on display. Leaders mislead. Citizens don't pay attention and they forget hard-earned lessons.
But in this candid account of the operation of democracy in one New England town, Robinson demonstrates that for better and for worse, Ashfield governs itself democratically. Citizens control the actions of their government. Not everyone participates, but all may, and everyone who lives in the town must accept and obey what town meeting decides.
The rise and decline of American civic life has provoked wide-ranging responses from all quarters of society. Unfortunately, many proposals for improving our communities rely on renewed governmental efforts without a similar recognition that the inflexibility and poor accountability of governments have often worsened society's ills. The Voluntary City investigates the history of large-scale, private provision of social services, the for-profit provision of urban infrastructure and community governance, and the growing privatization of residential life in the United States to argue that most decentralized, competitive markets can contribute greatly to community renewal.
Among the fascinating topics covered are: how mutual-aid societies in America, Great Britain, and Australia provided their members with medical care, unemployment insurance, sickness insurance, and other social services before the welfare state; how private law, known historically as the law merchant, is returning in the form of arbitration; and why the rise of neighborhood associations represents the most comprehensive privatization occurring in the United States today.
The volume concludes with an epilogue that places the discoveries of The Voluntary City within the theory of market and government failure and discusses the implications of these discoveries for theories about the private provision of public goods. A refreshing challenge to the position that insists government alone can improve community life, The Voluntary City will be of special interest to students of history, law, urban life, economics, and government.
David T. Beito is Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama. Peter Gordon is Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and Department of Economics, University of Southern California. Alexander Tabarrok is Vice President and Research Director, the Independent Institute.
Even as Donald Trump’s election has galvanized anti-immigration politics, many local governments have welcomed immigrants, some even going so far as to declare their communities “sanctuary cities” that will limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. But efforts to assist immigrants are not limited to large, politically liberal cities. Since the 1990s, many small to mid-sized cities and towns across the United States have implemented a range of informal practices that help immigrant populations integrate into their communities.
Abigail Fisher Williamson explores why and how local governments across the country are taking steps to accommodate immigrants, sometimes despite serious political opposition. Drawing on case studies of four new immigrant destinations—Lewiston, Maine; Wausau, Wisconsin; Elgin, Illinois; and Yakima, Washington—as well as a national survey of local government officials, she finds that local capacity and immigrant visibility influence whether local governments take action to respond to immigrants. State and federal policies and national political rhetoric shape officials’ framing of immigrants, thereby influencing how municipalities respond. Despite the devolution of federal immigration enforcement and the increasingly polarized national debate, local officials face on balance distinct legal and economic incentives to welcome immigrants that the public does not necessarily share. Officials’ efforts to promote incorporation can therefore result in backlash unless they carefully attend to both aiding immigrants and increasing public acceptance. Bringing her findings into the present, Williamson takes up the question of whether the current trend toward accommodation will continue given Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and changes in federal immigration policy.
How do female municipal leaders influence policymaking in American cities? Can gender determine who gets a say in local politics or what programs cities fund? These are some of the questions raised and answered in Mirya Holman's provocative Women in Politics in the American City.
This book provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the influence of gender on the behavior of mayors and city council members in the United States. Holman considers the effects of gender in local, urban politics and analyzes how a leader's gender does-and does not-influence policy preferences, processes, behavior, and outcomes.
Holman effectively uses original survey data to evaluate policy attitudes, combined with observations of city council meetings and interviews with leaders and community members. In doing so, she demonstrates the importance of considering the gender of leaders in local office.
Women in Politics in the American City emphasizes that the involvement of women in local politics does matter and that it has significant consequences for urban policy as well as state and local democracy.