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Formal Political Arrangements. URBAN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS & PROCESSES The Legal Framework of Cities. A.The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states.

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Presentation on theme: "Formal Political Arrangements. URBAN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS & PROCESSES The Legal Framework of Cities. A.The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states."— Presentation transcript:

1 Formal Political Arrangements

2 URBAN POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS & PROCESSES The Legal Framework of Cities. A.The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that all powers not conferred on the federal government are reserved to the states. B.The U. S. CON. makes no merit ion of cities or other local governments, therefore they fall under the jurisdiction of state governments.

3 1.It is important to understand the implications of state governments control. To make fundamental changes to urban life, the state must be reckon with. 2.Think of it in terms of states being able to eliminate localities altogether; all the powers and responsibilities of local governments derive from the actions of the state government or the people of the state acting directly. 3.The legal dependency of localities is best expressed in what has been termed Dillon's Rule, since it was associated with John F. Dillon ), a famous jurist and legal commentator :

4 Types of Local Government Local municipal legislative bodies, normally called city councils (although the term varies; for instance, in Chicago it is called the Board of Aldermen), are almost always unicameral. Three different organizational schemes are mayor-council, commission, and council- manager. There are, of course, other local legislatures as well, from school boards, to town (or township) boards, to county legislatures.

5 City and Local Government in Nevada Article 4 of the NV state Constitution requires the legislature to establish a uniform/equitable system of county and township governments. Governing board of each county is the Board of County Commissioners. These are elected positions, their duties are outlined by the state and to enforce state statutes i.e. Laws and marriages. Who is your County Commissioner: City Government: Article 8 of the NV Constitution requires legislature to enact laws providing for organization of cities and towns: Cities are governed by city councils chosen through non-partisan elections

6 Forms of city government A.The mayor-council form of government 1.Weak Mayor 2.Strong Mayor B.The commission form of government C.The council manager form of government D.The county E.Special districts.

7 Mayor-Council Systems. Two types exist. The weak mayor variety features a mayor and a city council; however, the heads of agencies do not report directly to the mayor. They may be directly elected by citizens or appointed jointly by the mayor and council or even by the council alone. This supposedly weakens the mayor's ability to administer programs on a day-to-day basis, since agency heads do not have to look solely to the mayor for leadership.

8 The strong mayor system has both a mayor and a council; in this case, however, department heads are appointed by and report directly to the mayor. Theoretically, this makes accountability easier to determine, since it is clear exactly who reports to whom. The mayor, in addition, normally has a veto, which enhances his or her power (weak mayors tend not to have veto power). The Legislature has a Louder voice in cities with weak mayors than in those with strong mayors.

9 Commission System. In the commission form, there is no independently elected mayor. Members of the commission select one of their number to serve as mayor, but the main role is simply to preside over council meetings. In addition the mayor would normally administer one of the departments, just as do the other commissioners. Over the past fifty years or so, the number of municipalities with the commission form of government has declined.

10 Council-Manager System. In council-manager government the voters elect a council which, in turn, hires a professional manager to run the city government on a day- to-day basis. Department heads report to the manager, who acts as top administrator. The theory upon which this approach is based is that government is most efficient when elected officials make basic policy decisions and then turn over administering the city to a professional administrator, the "manager." Managers can be hired and fired at the whim of a council, although that does not usually happen.

11 Leadership in Local Legislatures City councils tend to be small. The average size is perhaps five to seven persons, although councils can run up to fifty or more members (as in Chicago). Most of the time, councilors have four-year terms, although two-year terms are not uncommon. Many councils elect a majority leader to structure the business of the council. However, city councils are often junior partners to the mayor (or city manager) and may be relatively weak bodies. Because most councils are small. there is little likelihood of their having a meaningful committee structure.

12 Professionalism in Local Legislatures Local legislative bodies are much less professional than are those at the state level. Most councils have no staff help at all; councilors tend to be poorly paid (if they are paid at all). Hence, turnover is fairly high compared to turnover in the state legislatures. Lack of staffing makes local councils less able to challenge businesses or interest groups for real power. Simply put, part-time amateur city councilors do not have the expertise of the state or federal level counterparts. In fact, city councils are often little more than rubber stamps.

13 The City Manager Critics of the inefficient urban political machines also supported the city manager concept. City managers are appointed, usually by the city council, to draft a budget, set up a personnel system, and supervise the work of city employees. Between 1910 and 1920, about 150 cities hired city managers.

14 Advantages of Professional Managers. As budgets and work forces grow in response to larger, service-demanding populations and state and federal mandates, the efficiency advantages of hiring a professional manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of a city or county become apparent. The professional manager can plan, monitor, and coordinate the activities of city or county employees more effectively than can elected officials preoccupied with resolving major policy questions, attentive to the concerns of their constituents, and untrained in the arts of administration. Today, one-third of U.S. cities are run by city managers.

15 Which Cities Hire Professional Managers? Medium-sized cities are most likely to use the council- manager force of government. Their predominantly middle-class populations are likely to value efficient use of the taxpayers' dollars highly, and therefore to support hiring a professional city manager. The largest American cities do not make extensive use of city managers. Presumably, strong Mayors in large cities build their power bases on providing services to large, low-income minority populations. Efficient service delivery is of less importance. Smaller cities also tend to prefer the mayor-council system.

16 Democracy and Local Politics “Unless mass views have some place in the shaping of policy, all the talk about democracy is nonsense” V. O. Key (1961)

17 Community Power (Democracy) and Inequality two central questions preoccupying the academic study of cities in the post-war era 1. Who governs cities, that is, the community power question. 2. why (or how) cities became marked by savage inequalities, especially along racial lines. The first is a process question, involving how political issues are resolved and the relative power and influence of actors and structural forces in their resolution. The second involves outcomes, specifically the pervasiveness of deeply entrenched poverty spatially concentrated in the older neighborhoods of the urban core.

18 Elite Theory 1. A “stable” group: The economic elite model posits a unified and wealthy class of individuals possessing a dominant influence during numerous decision points in the policy process and remaining uninhibited by any larger social or political influences (Gonzalez, 2001). 2. Impermeable: 3. Apathetic Citizens: Argues that democracy functions when you have a degree of apathy, and elites are the ones participating the most (voting, running for office). 4. Identifiable/Cohesive Elite

19 Pluralism -Understand American society to be composed of a complex set of groups and it is the competition and bargaining among and between these many groups that is the essence of the political process. -When we, as individuals, want to influence politics and policy, we generally do not do it on an individual basis. -Any and all groups in society can have their views heard and considered at some point in the policymaking process. -The government acts merely as a referee over the group competition and declares the winner (by rewarding them with policy or policy influence). -According to pluralist theory, political resources are diffuse and therefore a variety of interest groups have an opportunity to utilize these resources and compete with other interest groups for policy attention.

20 Who Governs?: Robert Dahl: Robert Dahl conducted a study of New Haven, Connecticut, and was interested in “Who Governs?” Dahl found that New Haven was once an elitist city. But, over time it gave way to pluralism, such that different groups were active in different policy areas. Even within a policy area, there were competing groups. Nonetheless, it was organized interests that drove the policy process. Dahl’s theory rests on five assumptions: –people know their interests –people collectively organize to further their interests, –equal access to political institutions exists across groups, –the government represents those interests, –and the outcome of government action reflects the inputs of interests.

21 The Urban Regime Definition: The informal arrangements by which public bodies and private interests function together in order to be able to make and carry out governing decisions Critical Questions: (1) who makes up the governing coalition? (2) How is coming together [cooperation] accomplished?

22 The Importance of Informal Arrangements

23 The participants Participants: influenced by two basic institutional principles of American political economy: (1) popular control of the formal machinery of government and (2) private ownership of business enterprise What does this mean?

24 Cooperation Why do we need cooperation? –Business elites need government authority for some projects. Examples? –Public needs the slack resources that businesses have. Achieving cooperation is a major accomplishment and requires constant effort

25 How is cooperation done? Rational Choice/Game theory Tit for Tat (repeated interactions) Selective Incentives (preventing free-riders) Factors in the success of cooperation: Culture: language, common identity Size: larger groups harder to form

26 Ramifications of Unequal Resources “Votes count but resources decide” Which groups will be included in the “governing coalition”? The Atlanta Case? San Francisco? Detroit?

27 Implications of Regime Theory The importance of looking beyond election results when we seek to find out who governs. Business elite occupy a privileged position in the regime


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