Small government, pro-local Republicans... eliminate city governments

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Craig234

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May 1, 2006
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Michigan state government, one of the states dominated by Republicans for the governor and legislature, has been in the middle of some of the further right-wing activites such as anti-labor movements and supporting voter id laws and other voter suppression etc. as I recall - but they're out there especially on one issue.

A Republican mantra is that they're against 'big central government', and they want power distributed locally as much as possible (to a certain point).

But Michigan's state government is the most radically anti-local governmen in the nation.

It's their policy to take cities the governor decided are having financial troubles, and just wipe out their elected government, and put a dictator - a 'city manager' - in charge.

No more mayor or city council; contracts such as with labor are torn up. The city manager simply dictates how everything will work.

Now, however well or badly that's gone, it's sure against the ideology they say they're for.

And it raises some troubling questions about valuing democracy. Why not just have Obama remove their state government and put his person in charge?

Now, it so happens that the way it's worked out, half of all African Americans in the state have now lost any local government. No more democracy for them.

As for how it's gone - Rachel Maddow did a report on it, and found only one case where it went well; in a tiny white city of 1,600, they did it for a year and left, no problem.

But in every other case, the city has continued to have the problems; in most, the manager is still there, sometimes after several years; in ones they left, the city went back to the problems and had a manager put back in. In one case, the city manager has been charged with crimes embezzling from the city.

This should be an issue in this country.

Basic rights - from voting in red states across the country to democracy in Michigan - are under attack, pretty much always by Republicans. Of course, the Voting Rights Act - approved by a 98-0 vote for another 25 years in 2006 - is also now under attack by the radical right in the Supreme Court.

Do people take issue with this reduction of democracy, in this thread in particular the state government wiping out local governments, most recently in Detroit?

Are there other suggestions for how to respond to cities in trouble? In CA, a city, Vallejo, went bankrupt, but there's no state takeover.

How do Republicans explain their saying how much they're against more central governments behaving this way, yet their party aggressively doing it in Michigan?
 

K1052

Elite Member
Aug 21, 2003
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This has been a possibility for quite some time. Given the unique set of circumstances Detroit finds itself in I it is hard to argue that the elected government is willing or capable of righting the ship. Certainly the city manager should be audited regularly, I imagine this is provided for, but it could take years for the city to be at a point where it's ready for representative leadership again.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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I know, Detroit is in trouble, so let's let China run it. After, the only question is, is it in trouble, and there's no question about any 'solution' forced on them, right?

I mean ,if we're going to say 'democracy doesn't work', may as well let the people who know dictatorship run it.

How about the national government? As the world watches our government create self-made crisis after self-made crisis paralyzed, can we say 'democracy doesn't work'?

Funny thing is, that's been the desire of some for a long time - to attack democracy by making people not value it, and then guess who is waiting with 'new solutions'...
 

Dr. Zaus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2008
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Now, however well or badly that's gone, it's sure against the ideology they say they're for.
On the national level, republicans are for the states being laboratories of democracy. On lab-experiment that some republicans would like to run is 'leader as fascist dictator'

Maybe it'll work and we can spread it to other states?
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
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Michigan Republicans are not "radically anti-local government", they are radically anti-failed local government. If your county or city is fiscally solvent, fine, continue on as you were. If your county or city is broke, the state will step in and run it for you until such time as it is fiscally solvent. Compared to the Democrat position that if a government is broke, more money must simply be taken from someone else, this seems a sound position indeed. If you don't want a "dictator" appointed to run your city or county, simply run it responsibly.

Personally I'm fine with simply walling off these bastions of progressive corrosion when they fail and can no longer support themselves, but apparently the Michigan Republicans are more compassionate and are attempting to save these communities in spite of themselves.
 
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