The Localist Papers- A case for an independent local government- Part 3- History of Encroachment

May 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment


Part 3- History of encroachment

Last time, we discussed the precepts of a republican form of government (not synonymous with the Republican Party) as laid out by Thomas Jefferson, and what that should look like at the local level. This week, I want to show you where the form of government we actually have came from, and begin to explain why it has allowed for the current abuses we are experiencing.

In the early 1900’s there was a faction of government embraced by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson that advocated for a strong government that could get around the restraints of the Constitution by creating multiple levels of appointed administrators that were not accountable to the people.

There were forms of local government that were created to eliminate the separation of powers, delegating the executing of ordinances to a city employee (City Manager), while making the mayor a mere figurehead of the legislative branch (City Council), and combining it with the decision making power of the executive branch. Boards and commissions have been formed to create recommendations in virtual secrecy (as these meetings, while public, usually are not televised and meeting minutes are vague, at best.) The council then comes to a consensus during work sessions, and presents the issue publicly after they are all (or mostly) in agreement already. Hennepin County is run similarly.

Next time, I will dig deeper to explain the current structure of local government, so that all of its components may be openly examined.

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Entry filed under: City Government.

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