THE DRAMA of LOCAL POLITICS
Empowerment: Ethnic and Racial Changes:
For the first thing, local politics is mostly characterized by the economic elites, however it has also dramatic dimension which includes struggle, conflict and coalition building and etc… Additionally, the backgrounds of local politicians are mostly identified immigrant originated. In later times, Irish, Jews and Italian become adept of political control. In addition to this change in empowerment, most recently the population of central cities changes. For example, minority groups become majorities. For the last thing, these changes contain a struggle for political control domination where the main effect is voting power.
To begin with, social movements include an organization created by the individuals for making an impress on local government. In other words, in the time the constituencies have defined demands, they encounter to make demands on local government for structural change (Castells, 1983) these movements are mobilized around the issues of welfare rights in the past. For example, these social movements can point the basic issues like rent control. To illustrate that “poor people’s movement” (Pivan and Cloward, 1977) is an organization that supports the parts working class against the local government. Lastly, this is also an example of the main characteristics of social movement because the demanded change is directed to local government instead the business community.
Suburban Social Movements:
Firstly, suburbs are the other places where the social movements also occur. The needs are demanded in suburbs for the common case of neighborhood organization for; traffic control, development controls and tax revolts.
In the cases considered as the struggle for the traffic controls, the residents mostly need for example, stop signs or traffic lights or something like these… and they demand these from the city hall.
There is another case named growth control movements. This is an issue that mobilized suburbian residents across subdivisions are that of “growth control”. In other words, the larger the suburban area is the more problems occur due to the needs of traffic, pollution, crowdedness and so on. This uncontrolled growth affects the quality of the first-settled people’s life in a bad way that they have difficulties to satisfy the needs. As a result of this growth control organization, there occurs a restructuring of land use that is named “up-zoning”. For the last thing, despite the reducing growth pressures, many communities prefer this growth controls.
Last is case is tax revolts that is related to the demands of homeowners for tax relief. This something affects both the local suburban jurisdictions but also the majority of residents who are regardless of class.
In brief, not only in cities but also in suburbs, local politics are responsible for supplying to people a life that has a quality and a tax that is limited. Otherwise, social movements spring up for seeking reforms and charged for having the quality of life and limited taxations. For the last thing, the class movements can be considered as the consequences of the uneven development because the quality of life is something the result of it.
The Declining Power of Local Politics:
To begin with, there is a reducing power of local politics because both the city and suburban bring with it exact benefits from control over public decisions. Thus, there is a kind of tendency for citizens to be involved in local politics. Especially, in recent forty years, there is a decline of city politics and this issue has three main points of view.
What is first is a rough limitation of the participation in local elections. In spite of the fact that, the community life is characterized by the involvement of citizens highly in voting, the participations of citizens reduce.
Another limitation pf local politics is that the metropolitan regions are excessively fragmented. To illustrate, “Chicagohas a chaotic array of over 1,000 separate public service districts.” This causes a series of problems in coordination of service delivery. Additionally, this fragmentation of metropolitan region makes regional planning almost impossible.
The last limitation of local politics is the ideology of privatism and there are some problems with this limitation. Firstly, due to the dominancy of privatization social issues like education and welfare are neglected because, economic concerns are more important than these issues according to the ideology of privatism. The other problem is that privatization is just supporting the downtown business and the rest is again neglected. Last problem with this ideology is related to the reduction of the power of local politics because it removes not only the goals but also the operation of government from both public accountability and the political process.
In short, the quality of politics decline and communities don’t participate in urban policies. Namely, the more the crises of political process occur, the more severe condition in the quality of life in both cities and suburbs emerge.
Source: Mark Gottdiener, The New Urban Sociology, 1994, pg: 235-247, McGraw-Hill Inc.