Major Urban Problems
Change has always been an inevitable factor and is always bound to happen. As such, it is very essential for us to shift our deliberation on averting and preventing change and instead focus on embracing it. Change usually creeps up on unprepared individuals because they live in denial. This is clearly exemplified when urban cities crept upon unprepared citizens and although urbanization has its own benefits, it was accompanied by a number of problems that both the public and the government were unprepared for.
The overwhelming power of mayors is among the first major problem that came with development of urban towns. Fresh Urbanization came with a strong mayoral system which possessed the authority to influence the livelihood of the population in a negative way if deemed fit by the mayor. A strong mayoral system will provide an avenue for corruption since the mayors have overwhelming powers.
The more upsetting issue is the fact that the mayor has powers to hire and fire any person if he wishes. This power can intimidate civil workers to bid the mayor’s will in order to remain in his good books. This can create loopholes for the mayor to request for unconstitutional favors and the civil servants will be forced to fulfill such requests. Furthermore, the mayor can also use his power and elect any person he wants into key positions in the public institution. Such elections can leave the elected persons indebted to the mayor and hence cause them to act unconstitutionally if asked to do so.
The staffing requirements within the new system are another problem that face the urban areas. In this system, lower employees are hired based on their professions hence making such professions too specialized such that employees cannot innovate or expand beyond their niche. This creates a work environment that inevitably breeds boredom and reduces efficiency and productivity among employees.
Additionally, the urban political system also enhance the collaboration between the public and private sectors. Despite the benefits of the collaboration between the two sectors, it also comes with various drawbacks. The risks involved in transactions in the public and private partnerships pose the biggest challenge. Such a risk is usually transferred to the government in that it increases the expenditure on the part of the government. The increase ultimately trickles down to the town’s budget, and prompts the mayor to raise the taxes.
Progress in Reforming City Government
As mentioned earlier, the inevitability of change is not questionable and this prompts the need to take note of the progress of changes. It is important to compare before and after change situations so as to accurately assess whether the change is good or bad. The second part of this article delves into the reformations undertaken by the city government in the past 100 years. The paper will give recommendations on the positive as well as negative impacts of change and assess whether change has actually bettered the situation of city government or deteriorated the way they are run.
After conducting an analysis of the steps city governments has undertaken during the past century, it is clear that there has been progress. The issue of voting rights is the first indication of progress whereby in the beginning of the 19th century only white people who owned property had the voting rights, a trend that has long been abolished the evolution of city governments. This trend had previously denied people of color as well as men who did not own property and all the women the right to vote irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. The changes gave all citizens the power to appoint their political leaders and influence how their city is run.
The concept of voting with one’s feet was also brought about by the evolution of city governments . Through this system, individuals who are displeased with the way the city is operated were given the option of searching for greener pastures in other cities. Nevertheless, this might be considered as a drawback because of how cities are run today, and people can easily choose to leave their cities instead of sticking around and changing it. Many citizens participated in civil rights with the aim of changing their cities in the 1960s. Such fighting spirit is no longer witnessed in many cities because individuals can easily leave their city or just move away, and leave the rest to struggle with the political system. For citizens who have immovable assets, voting by feet can be used as an oppressive tool (Walker 11). This is because the city can decide to seize their property for its own purpose and use, if such individuals leave their property behind.
It is also imperative to assess the shortcomings of the city governments during this 100-year period, before making any analysis. A major shortcoming lies in the reluctance of the city government to allocate resources based on census results as it was case during the earlier days. This ensured appropriate resource allocation to sectors and areas that were most crucial. This is the opposite of what is happening today as resources are allocated based on the interests of diverse parties. As a result those who are most convincing parties that can push forward their interests tend to get what they want, while the weaker ones remain suffering.
Despite the drawbacks of voting by feet, it is necessary to note that it is much better than the flat denial or prohibition of certain members of the city from having the vote. This presupposes the essence of voting by feet as an improved method of running the city governments in the modern era. Regional preferences and national diversity has also been accommodated by the concept of voting by feet (Walker 15). This is attributed to the decentralization of authority that facilitates different economic and social improvements in the cities.
The concept of prioritizing the public interests above other things has been brought about by the evolution of mayors. Since the 1990, there have been several attempts by mayors to implement the best business practices in the cities. This portends their attempts at running the city based on public interest and not on political intention. Through doing this, the mayors have all their intentions set on advancing their economies and developing their cities and such progress is evident in the evolution of city governments.
The distribution of power to commissioners and councilors is yet another progress in the evolution of city government. There are frequent meetings between the commissioners and councilors to discuss the diverse policies based on the interest of the people they represent. This means that without the tampering with the system of city government, then the policies that reflect the wills and needs of the majority in society will be passed in the city.
After a thorough analysis of both the shortcomings and progress of the evolution of city governments, it is evident that there have been improvements in the governance of cities in the 100-year period. This is evident in the power given to the citizens during election of who lead their cities. In addition, the leaders into mayoral positions have also displayed progress by running the cities using good business policies and not political intuition.
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