Article Summary – Civic Responsibility & Democracy
|Title||The Enemy Within, Atlantic, December 2019|
|Author||James Mattis, retired United States Marine Corps general & former Secretary of Defense|
Have we taught our children the principles of citizenship or already forgotten them?
|As Is Situation|
Mattis warns that our constitutional system, as robust as it is, cannot long endure our current tribalism & paralysis. He urges more personal humility, respect, compromise & collaboration. He counsels more support for our civic institutions & leaders who are diplomatic, collegial & patient. He implores us to substitute long-range ideals for short-term gratification. Finally, he calls for a renewed commitment by each of us to become better, more informed citizens, actively engaged in tackling the growing backlog of civic problems & perfecting our union for future generations. Mattis does not address the costs of civic education, but Civic Way believes that the best investment we could possibly make in democracy would be in a more thorough, robust K-12 civic education.
Introduction Some of us complain incessantly about our politics and politicians. Others dodge any discussion of politics whatsoever. As a society, we have become less and less adept at rising above our political biases, listening to divergent views and reaching consensus. Worse yet, we seem to be losing faith, not only in our civic institutions…
To fully embrace localism as a governing philosophy, we must make our state and local governments more efficient, effective and responsive. To take on more responsibility and deliver solutions more quickly and cost-effectively, our communities must be organized and equipped for the challenges ahead.
News Summary – Localism (Part 3)
|Title||A 10-Year Perspective of the Merger of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky|
|Author||Jeff Wachter (Abell Foundation)|
Has nation’s most recent major city-county merger, by Louisville & Jefferson County Kentucky into Louisville Metro government, met expectations?
In 1997, city & county leaders merged Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership & Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce into Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), area’s first full-service, regional economic development organization (EDO)
Growing City-County racial divide as city’s African-American population nearly doubled from 18% in 1960 to 33% in 2000
6 of 26 council districts (23%) represented by African-Americans & while this has diluted influence within USD, it has extended influence into county
State legislature passed enabling legislation lifting ban on city-county merger referenda & allowing one-time-only referendum for county voters
Post-merger issues may include tax distribution, service refinements (e.g., policy & fire), USD boundaries & political representation (especially for minorities)
Restructuring local government is daunting. Winning voter approval is a formidable hurdle, often pitting supporters against odd coalitions (e.g., rural whites & urban African-Americans). Implementing structural changes also poses serious challenges. Still, if we want local governments to do more (often with less), we must be willing to challenge the status quo & replace calcified structures & processes with modern models & systems.
Merging local governments (e.g., counties, cities & special districts) & realigning their operations with today’s challenges will not be easy. But, those regions with the vision & boldness to be innovative will likely become more competitive, not just among their more recalcitrant peers, but in the global marketplace as well. More effective, efficient & accountable local governments will win the future. They will make better use of scarce resources & enable their leaders to speak with one voice & tackle the regional challenges that too often vex our current jumble of balkanized, overlapping & bickering fiefdoms.