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RECLAIMING HOME RULE Scott Lynch Building on County Initiated Progress And The Implementation Key for Regional Reform.

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Presentation on theme: "RECLAIMING HOME RULE Scott Lynch Building on County Initiated Progress And The Implementation Key for Regional Reform."— Presentation transcript:

1 RECLAIMING HOME RULE Scott Lynch Building on County Initiated Progress And The Implementation Key for Regional Reform

2 Thinking About Design Models to Promote the Change We Wish to See “Neither do men put new wine into old wine skins: else the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins perish: but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)

3 Euclid City Council Resolution to Begin a Redesign of Local Governments by 2018.

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6 Presentation Road Map Dynamic of County and Municipal Home Rule; Why Change is so Difficult 1912 Home Rule Amendment Why Cities have less power than 100 years ago Marginalized significance of Home Rule County-borough model and reclaiming Home Rule through “Home Rule by Design” Legal mechanism to implementation (County Charter) Discussion of regional vs. local (“borough”) functions

7 Why Change is So Difficult Under Current Design Models of Government

8 Understanding Regionalism as a Dynamic Between County and Municipal Powers Municipal powers entail any local powers not in conflict with State general law Home Rule Municipal powers (Article XVIII) have primacy over County Home Rule powers (Article X) Working with County or another city is purely discretionary Every step for low hanging fruit becomes a complicated, legislative function; consider cities independent charters, independent labor contracts, varying needs, and identity politics Legal hurdles and complexities of multiple city governments presents continuing challenges

9 City Governments Were Never Designed to Function Regionally Home Rule Cities (even municipalities without a charter) have a monopoly of power for local services Shared services and collaboration must be done by contract Codified into state law via ORC but not new (e.g. Cleveland Water or Cleveland Public Power are “shared services”). Could change by circumstances, new leadership, does not effect design model (wine skins) Legislative difficulties still make low hanging fruit difficult to capture (E.g. Shaker Hts. and University Heights Fire merger or Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere suburbs merger repositioning toward shared services)

10 What is Home Rule?

11 Ohio Constitutional Convention of 1912 Three purposes attributed to Ohio Home Rule by its sponsors: 1) Self-determination: give cities the ability to operate local affairs without requiring special sanctions or grants of power from Columbus 2) Construct own version of self-representation and Charter 3) Operation of public utilities from Gotherman and Babbit

12 1912 Home Rule by Design All but about 50,000 residents of Cuyahoga lived in the central city City was a center of policy and creativity empowered by leveraging our collective resources to do what we wanted

13 Home Rule by Accident Fast forward 100 years, “balkanization and fractured resources” Once a tool wielded against the rest of the world to compete in a national economy Became a tool to separate identity from each other The total effect reinforced by sprawl, then housing crisis, then historic State cuts

14 Catch 22 “You fix it” – Old places need tax revenues to drive renewal and redevelopment but their tax bases are inadequate because of lack of R&R. It’s a Catch 22. Raising taxes worsens the predicament.

15 Why Regionalism Under Current Design Structure Faces Continuing Challenges Annexation is impossible Shared Services are still contracts with all the political inertia of annexation; and they are temporary Randy Cole calls shared services “budget bingo” PLUS Identity Politics (totem pole problem)

16 How Home Rule Itself Has Been Marginalized Legal erosion of powers; less experimentation Hand gun regulations Cleveland v. State, (Ohio 2010) Predatory lending regulations American Financial Services Ass’n v. City of Cleveland, (Ohio 2009) Residency Requirements Lima v. State (Ohio 2009) Financial limitations LGF 50% cut in budget Lowered Tax Valuation Effect on Municipal Financing Blight, Crime, Disinvestment “Big city problems with small city resources”

17 Solution We need a legal mechanism to allow the political body of the county to govern freely and decisively on the BIG regional issues that affect us collectively which Home Rule cities can’t solve on their own The rest of the sacrosanct local services can continue to be delivered by our local mayors, local councils, and city employees But how? given the political inertia and road blocks of Home Rule?

18 Ohio Constitution Article X, County Charter Amendment The County-Borough Model Sacrosanct local functions by “borough”/historical city Regional functions by County

19 Best of both worlds… Thus capturing all the BIG picture benefits of regionalism through the County including: Provides the legal authority to implement its role as a super highway for shared services and governmental efficiency AND Leverages our regional forces to promote business and economic development at an unprecedented scale While still maintaining local identity: Politically through local mayors and councils AND Ensuring the same local, familiar mechanism for delivery of truly local city services

20 Identity Politics Who do you want to be?

21 Identity Politics Current trend? No New Cleveland-Cuyahoga? Eventually more New York and less Los Angeles

22 Regional discussions are important… but a legal mechanism to implement the changes we need makes these inclusive discussions really matter. We can build on the success of County-initiated reform and plan to take regionalism to the finish line. Local government can be the vehicle to create our own destiny once again.

23 Contact Scott Lynch Euclid City Councilman, Ward 4 J.D. expected 2013, Cleveland Marshall College of Law c: (216)


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