Thursday, January 14, 2010

"The Best Politics is Local Politics"

Community Member Question:

I have been rather surprised in some of the comments and actions taken by the city against the larger governing bodies. I find it difficult at times to understand how the city gets funding of grants from the Federal Government but seem to have some conflict at times and seem to be at conflict with the State Government but seems to work well with the County Government body. I would have thought they are all working for the same goal, to serve its citizens. Can you comment on what the other Government bodies roles are to the residents locally?

City Manager Response:

At the risk of over simplifying a very complicated issue I have found that the more local the legislative body is, the more in tune they are to the needs of a community. School Districts and City Councils focus on the needs of the community better because they rub shoulders with the people they represent on a daily basis. They are not in Sacramento or Washington D.C., they shop at the same supermarkets, drive the same streets and take their kids to the same programs the residents of the community do. This accessibility leads to better focus on community needs which leads to better communication and ultimately more informed decision making.

The more removed or larger the government organization is, the broader the scope of issues is that are dealt with. Layer on top of this structure partisan politics and districts based representation and the decision making that takes place is often a step removed from the reality of the community. I am a firm believer that the best politics is local politics. In part, this is why I enjoy what I do so much.