American City Politics


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Bottoms took the helm of one of just a few cities where electing a black female mayor did not make history. As mayor of Atlanta, a city that is 52 percent black, Bottoms is also influential. Joe Biden's campaign announced that Bottoms had endorsed the former vice president in late June, as controversy about his record on busing as a means of desegregating schools loomed. Outside the closely watched drama of the presidential race, in which Biden has also been criticized for his part in the crime bill, which experts say contributed significantly to mass incarceration, Bottoms has implemented criminal justice reforms once thought impractical.

In February , when she had been Atlanta's mayor about a month, Bottoms stopped the city's courts from requiring low-level and nonviolent offenders to pay bail to avoid jail while avoiding trial. Advocates of the change say one of America's blackest cities has also become one of its most just ones.

People too poor to pay bail no longer have to sit in jail, risking the loss of much needed jobs and apartments and leaving children in the care of relatives or the state. In June , Bottoms signed an executive order barring the city jail from housing immigrant detainees picked up by federal agents. The surrounding county continues to operate a jail. But it also put us at the forefront of these issues that deeply affect our entire country. In several other cities, black female mayors have focused on reducing the hardship of fines and fees, such as parking tickets, code enforcement violations and library fines.

Though these payments have become an increasingly critical source of revenue to cities, critics argue that this type of funding tends to overburden nonwhite and poor residents more likely to be tracked, cited and penalized by police and code enforcement agencies. The U. Department of Justice cited over-reliance on fines and fees as a seemingly race-neutral driver of unjust policing in Ferguson, Missouri, for example. Cantrell in New Orleans and Sharon Weston Broome in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have implemented fine and fee amnesty programs which reduce penalties for outstanding parking tickets and other citations.

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And in Chicago, another black female mayor, Lori Lightfoot, the first black woman to lead the city, has expressed support for fine and fee reform. In May, she lost her bid for a third term to a black man.


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Carr, the Higher Heights executive working to elect more black women to office, said that while the recent uptick in black women leading major cities is encouraging, there is still much more to be done. Unlike the black men who began winning mayors' offices in the late s, black women mayors have not yet gone on to statewide or federal office.

In , Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. House of Representatives. Transferred to depressed areas of city regions, urban enterprise zones were supposed to significantly reduce taxes, relax environmental protection, speed up the acquisition of licenses and permits for conducting business and minimize other regulations.

These zones often covered vast stretches of territory. Booming Japan, led by the Tokyo city region had no experience with urban enterprise zones but they did eventually reach it. In the s similar ideas were introduced into the Tokyo region. London and its Greater South East Region also grew around its Heathrow Airport and the expansion of motorways that led into the suburbs. As it turned out, developers did a leap-frog over the Green Belt and built beyond it.

The Tokyo city region also expanded. As property prices in the central city kept rising, development pressures displaced local residence and residents settled into more distant suburbs and exurbs. On the one hand, globalization and free markets had created new generators of wealth, often built on financial services.

The new wealth had rebuilt existing Central Business District cores with skyscrapers, upscale boutiques, hotels and restaurants. The new boom led to the construction of taller buildings throughout parts of Central London and a change in its historic skyline.

More often than not, the ramifications of the CBD into other parts of the city region created still more CBDs and commercial sub centers. These sub centers could also function on their own as points of business concentration in the rest of the region. Differences in income between social classes continued to worsen, and so too did social segregation as immigrants found themselves encased in urban and suburban ghettos. These problems existed in central cities but also spread into the rest of the region, especially the inner suburbs. At the same time, gentrification transformed the waterfront and once industrial area.

New condos attracted well-paid professionals and managerial classes. In the suburbs, some neighborhood experienced negative equity in housing asset. Those who bought homes at the peak of bubble economy in the late s suffered from lower housing values in the s. Social disparities and exclusion were not the only challenges to be faced. Economic growth within central cities and gentrification of older, neighborhoods pushed out working class and poorer households.

At the same time globalization brought Asian nations besides Japan into advanced industrial societies. Added to the consumption patterns of the West, the city regions of these nations caused havoc with the environment global warming, air pollution, soil erosion etc. In the Paris region, a regional council CRIF has taken on some responsibilities but often finds itself in conflict with other jurisdictions. Meanwhile the National Assembly has called for creating an institution body urban community that might represent Greater Paris.

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Coordination among the local government hardly surfaced as a public agenda, except for specific transport and logistic issues. While it was sympathetic to free markets and globalization, it has been aware of the possibilities for market failure and global overreach. It may also be that the times have generated city-regions.

If new regionalism were not present some form of it would have to be invented. By the s it was theoretically embedded in globalization. Other writers saw city regions replacing center cities as a result of an historical evolution. In an age where competition is king, great premiums are placed on the capacity to innovate and share costs. In a sense, city regions have become indispensable to modern capitalist economies because they provide the territorial stages from which competitive advantage can be pursued. Economic change invariably creates new political interests and threatens older ones, as Schumpeter famously observed Although they may function in counterpoint, governmental responses are by no means simple reflections of changing economic pressures.

Rather, the politics of regional governance is invariably a matter of contention. Throughout the industrial West private and public interests are seeking to re-shape or preserve political institutions in the course of using public power to manage urban economic change.

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One face has to do with the rise of greater economic interdependence among businesses and governments in city regions. In sum, the dynamics of globalization work to divide governments in city regions at the same time as it also unleashes forces bringing them more together.

Consensus and contestation among governments can vary from region to region as the mix of economic interests shifts. The political forces encouraging resistance at the local level tend to be somewhat different in North America than in Western Europe, however. In North America city region politics is decisively shaped by political tensions linked to federalism.

Further, partisanship does not afford a very stable base for transcending urban governmental rivalries for regional approaches in either the USA or Canada. Ideological political parties are mostly absent, and there is usually weak party discipline at the local, state and provincial levels. Thus, political tensions over regional governance primarily get played out outside of national politics at the local, state or provincial levels.

Proposals for regional cooperation among local governments are easily challenged or frustrated by a multiplicity of interests. National political-electoral realignments during this period further marginalized central cities in urban policy. In turn, intergovernmental economic competition and rivalry among cities, suburbs and state governments escalated.

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This convergence of politics and economics has left decisions over city region governance more to local and state governments. Nevertheless, even in Canada federalist politics remains relatively permissive of local obstruction by local as well as provincial officials. Compared with the USA and Canada, national officials in these centralized systems have a number of advantages in promoting greater lateral political cooperation among governments in metropolitan regions.

This limits tax competition among local governments as a source of rivalry almost everywhere in Western Europe, including Great Britain. It also allows national officials to use their authority to directly promote efforts to consolidate or encourage intergovernmental cooperation in metropolitan areas. Rather, big welfare state systems require very large bureaucracies organized at multiple levels. These bureaucratic agencies and governments compete for funds, power and autonomy in ways that are not unlike local governments in more decentralized polities.

For example, in the Netherlands local governments compete vigorously among themselves for national grants by seeking to expand public services, populations and by seeking to maximize their limited own-source revenues. This is the case in London where the creation of the GLA in has provided much of metropolitan London with a single authority. Because of this, the planning of strategic development in these peripheral areas has been organized directly by central departments in Whitehall.

This reality emerged in urban Scotland after it came under the aegis of a single development agency during the s that was accountable to the Scottish Office. By the s, however, this agency, Scottish Enterprise SE , decided that its main priority was to stimulate economic renewal and growth anywhere it could in Scotland.

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Its interest was to create jobs quickly in order to survive Whitehall scrutiny and succeed politically in Westminster. The urban region has assumed new status. During the last several decades governments at all levels have been responding to manage this reality. Although there is increasing governmental attention to forces of urban regional development, political regionalization remains a contentious matter.

American City Politics American City Politics
American City Politics American City Politics
American City Politics American City Politics
American City Politics American City Politics
American City Politics American City Politics
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