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Government of Metropolitan Communities The policies and institutions of the American federal system of gov- ernment have already been greatly affected by the urbanization of society. At every level of government a variety of responses has been stimulated by the urgent needs of the urban population. At the local level, the response has been a proliferation of governmental units, and at the national level, it has been a multiplicity of programs. Recently, policy has moved in the direction of reducing the number of federal programs while enhancing the effects of fragmentation at the local level by revenue sharing. Meanwhile, at the state level, interest has focused on "substate regions" that might be described as automotive-age counties. Generally, these have been defined in territorial terms, but definitions may be modified as regional eco- nomics turns from central-place theory to theories that stress patterns of interaction. Generally, the importance of integrating metropolitan institutions and activities has largely escaped those in power at any level. The overwhelming proportion of the population now lives or GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 103

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works in metropolitan areas, but in most instances the authority to govern these areas remains not only dispersed, but unfocused. While central cities, suburbs, and adjacent rural areas become increasingly interdependent, debate remains centered on whether one or another should be the main target of government intervention. Meanwhile, metropolitan communities are governed inequitably and ineffi- ciently. Somehow, the nation must find better ways to govern its metropolitan areas. The policies evolved should meet the following needs: 1. Response to the scale of metropolitan economic institutions and transactions 2. Diminishment of the fiscal externalities that now plague urban jurisdictions 3. Adequate territorial scope to apply environmental technologies for pollution control 4. More equitable distribution of public goods—notably health and social services, education, and transportation 5. Flexibility that permits changes in society's view of what services it should guarantee for all citizens 6. Economies of scale that could be attained by delivery of some urban services on a metropolitan-wide basis 7. An effective role for self-identified subcommunities in the control of their environments Fragmentation rather than correspondence to the scale of met- ropolitan activity is the rule, not the exception. Administrative dis- abilities are widespread. Overlapping responsibility is prevalent. Fiscal externalities persist. Control of environmental pollution is impeded. Residents with higher incomes continue their migration to the suburbs. The central city finds it more and more difficult to raise necessary revenues. Differences between city and suburban tax bur- dens reflect inequitable distribution of metropolitan costs. Efforts to increase metropolitan unity are hampered. The state of metropolitan transportation, water supplies, and waste disposal, for example, re- mains precarious in many areas. Meanwhile, jurisdictions, like the small enterprises they often resemble, calculate and compete for additional sources of tax revenue. The social problems of the me- 104 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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tropolis—crime, inadequate education programs, unemployment, and inadequate housing—slowly spread. Fragmentation of govern- ment is only in small part a cause of these social problems, but it makes them much more difficult to solve. Findings The present system of local government fails to Answer the needs of a clearly metropolitan society. Fragmented and overlapping gov- ernment in metropolitan areas (1) aggravates the mismatch be- tween resources and social needs, (2) makes the solution of metropolitan social problems more difficult, and (3) inhibits effi- cient administration of services. Whatever the shortcomings of the present system, initiatives to deal with specific needs and problems generated by the increasing scale of urban life have not been lacking. Although no coordinated national policy has evolved in response to the troublesome by- products of metropolitanization, all levels of government have un- dertaken specific programs of action. The general drift of these initiatives, with the possible exception of revenue sharing, is toward an increase in the size of local jurisdictions and increased responsi- bilities for governments with more encompassing boundaries— county, state, and federal. INTERVENTION BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT The federal government has attempted various combinations of sub- stantive, structural, and fiscal initiatives. The amount of federal re- sources available to state and local governments has risen. The federal government has promoted a variety of state and local actions that address the social and technological difficulties within metropol- itan areas. Through aid to housing, urban renewal, grants for sewer- age and water systems, aid to education and manpower training, aid for mass transit, and other financial assistance, it has attempted to GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 105

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enable the state-local system to be at least partially responsive. New programs with a strong city orientation were developed in the 1960s; by 1973, expenditures for these programs exceeded $4 billion. Although the federal government occasionally has sought to influence the structure of local government, its primary efforts to cure metropolitan problems have been financial, and the inflow of federal funds has made, at best, a negligible contribution to overcoming fragmentation and fiscal disparities within metropolitan areas. Today, although state and federal aid support a higher proportion of both central city and suburban expenditures, the suburbs have pulled even farther ahead of central cities in the receipt of aid, except in the Northeast (Table 1). In the late 1960s, the federal government began to intervene in a number of areas that had long been considered traditional state and local responsibilities. Congress acted to regulate abatement of air, water, and noise pollution, and it is continuing to establish higher standards. One regulatory area—automotive emissions—has been largely preempted by the federal government. Unless state and local governments take forceful action to solve areawide problems, it is reasonable to predict that the federal government will continue on this course. The Federal Revenue Sharing Act of 1972, which autho- rizes $30.2 billion in expenditures over five years, passes federal revenues to state and local governments according to a formula that TABLE 1. State and Federal Aid as a Percentage of Total Expenditures in the 72 Largest SMSAs, 1970 Outside Central Central CC/OCC City City Ratio Northeast 35 32 1.09 Midwest 27 35 0.77 South 26 40 0.65 West 35 38 0.92 Total (unweighted average) 30 36 0.83 Source: Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, unpublished tab- ulation, 1972. 106 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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supposedly recognizes need and state-local tax effort alike. If reve- nue sharing did overcome existing fiscal disparities, its contribution to reducing a major fault of the present system would be substantial. But even if revenue sharing corrected disparities, it would reinforce another major fault of the system, the patchwork of jurisdictions. As it is, it does not respond to the deep causes of the system's impotence to solve the substantive problems of metropolitan areas. The program fails to correct disparities because its formula for distributing funds does not sufficiently account for the enormous fiscal disadvantage of most central cities and low-income residential suburbs. Many central cities are receiving less revenue than they originally expected. If revenue sharing really recognized need, the cities' population losses (mostly middle-income residents) would in- crease rather than decrease their share. Under the current formula, the suburbs receive much more than was anticipated. Another factor also increases the inability of the local portion of shared revenue to overcome local disparities—that is, the states' use of their share of the money. State funds are now deployed in a manner that reflects the distribution of political power. Cities, be- cause of outward population movement and provincial political characteristics, wield considerably lighter political weapons in state legislatures than do their suburbs. Since state resources now flow in channels of political power, not social need, one can fairly predict that revenue-sharing money will buttress disparities between cities and suburbs and between high-, middle-, and low-income suburbs. The disparities, rather than being alleviated, may be preserved at higher levels of expenditure. Nevertheless, the new revenue flowing to all jurisdictions will provide a fiscal breathing space for most of them. Revenue sharing must therefore be seen as a step away from regionalization, for fiscal stringency, more than any other single pressure, has encouraged political leaders to think in regional terms. For the present, at least, that pressure is partly relieved, especially for central city mayors and to some extent for governors. However, in the long term it is doubtful that revenue sharing can overcome the fiscal crisis of state and local governments, despite the ardor of states and localities to embrace this money now. In New GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 107

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York State and New York City, the anticipated revenues from the new program were incorporated into 1973 budgets months before the checks began to arrive. For jurisdictions that perform welfare functions, the cut in social services (most dramatically in day care, services to the aged, and drug-addiction programs) that was tied to the revenue-sharing bill will severely reduce its potential contribution to local budgets. Overall, the federal government's transfusions of money and exhortations to reorganize have made no major contribution to solv- ing the social problems that press on central cities. Education remains inadequate, deteriorating neighborhoods are rapidly being aban- doned, and the manpower training program (after skimming off the people, such as high school graduates, who are most likely to suc- ceed) has not equipped ghetto residents for the available jobs within their commuting range. LIMITED ROLE OF THE STATES The role of the states in meeting the needs of metropolitan areas has been limited. The states have been characterized as ranging from indifferent to negative in their attitudes toward urban problems. In recent years, however, a few states have begun to act. In the past, state governments, either passively or actively, have placed arbitrary limitations on local government taxes, indebtedness, powers, and administrative structure, as well as on changes related to annexation and consolidation. State (as well as federal) aid pro- grams tend to support the inadequate local government structure by providing financial assistance to what would otherwise be un- economical units. The states' tendency to assist specific functions results in the creation of special districts or independent islands of authority. Although states have increased their aid to local govern- ments, such aid generally has not gone to the areas of greatest need. For example, the steepest increase in aid, that is the increase in aid going to education, has benefited suburban jurisdictions more than the central cities. Only in the case of welfare, largely a city problem, has state aid to cities risen sharply, though this has been an automatic response to the increase in the number of welfare recipients. 108 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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Although state initiatives in the areas of annexation, incorpora- tion, and consolidation have been modest in recent years, there has been some activity. Boundary commission laws have been created in several states to make it easier for central cities to annex the surrounding suburban fringe; however, no state in recent years has seriously tackled annexation of suburbs that are already separately incorporated. A number of states are beginning to discourage sepa- rate incorporation of satellite cities, particularly those near large central cities. Texas has had a successful program of this kind for several years. Except for state action in Indiana, which consolidated the city of Indianapolis with the county of Marion, and in Minnesota, which created the Metropolitan Regional Council in Minneapolis-St. Paul, no major stimulus toward local government reorganization is visible today at the state level. State Assumption of Urban Functions A few states have created state-administered metropolitan author- ities to deal with particular urban functions. In many states, of course, enabling legislation permits the creation of special-purpose metro- politan districts. In Massachusetts, the metropolitan-authority form is now employed to handle water service, sewerage disposal, transpor- tation, and air-pollution control. In New York State, both statewide and regional authorities have been created for special purposes. These include the Urban Development Corporation, the Environ- mental Facilities Corporation, the Job Development Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and four other regional trans- portation authorities. In heavily populated but geographically small states, such as Connecticut, state government may in effect become the metropolitan governmental unit. In abolishing county govern- ments in 1968, Connecticut transferred their limited functions to the state level. Resource considerations played an important part in transfer of welfare responsibilities to the state in Delaware and Mas- sachusetts in 1968. Currently, pressure is increasing in New York State for the transfer of responsibility for public welfare, the Medicaid program, and the financing of public education to the state level. There seems to be a growing belief in state government circles GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 109

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that all states should have some kind of agency for local affairs. The increase in such agencies since 1960 has been one visible indication that states are beginning to recognize their urban responsibilities. About 27 such agencies now exist, of which only 5 were established prior to 1966. Observers of the growth of these new agencies, how- ever, warn against any easy assumption that the mere establishment of such an office means that a state is actively involved in the solution of urban problems. In fact, such agencies act more often as protec- tors of the present local jurisdictions than as advocates of reform. Findin, Although no coordinated national policy has evolved in to the unfavorable by-products of metropolitanization, all levels < government have undertaken specific programs. If the federal re sponse has been inadequate or misconceived, the same generaliza- tion can be made with much greater force concerning the states. IMPACT OF THE FEDERAL COURTS Among the external forces influencing metropolitan goverment since 1962, none has had a greater impact than the federal courts. Their role in the future, however, is somewhat uncertain. On three fronts the courts have dealt with issues of equity that have important impli- cations for metropolitan governance. These are reapportionment, public finance and services, and district consolidation. One Man, One Vote In 1962,1 the United States Supreme Court ruled that federal courts have jurisdiction in malapportionment cases involving state legisla- tures, but it did not mandate population as the basis for apportion- ment. The following year,2 the Court for the first time used the 1 Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962). ^Sanders v. Gray, 372 U.S. 368 (.1963). 110 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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expression "one man, one vote" and ruled unconstitutional Geor- gia's county-unit system for electing state officials. In a 1964 case,3 the Court disallowed the apportionment of either house of a state legislature on the basis of area (defended as analogous to the federal system), holding that it violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Henceforth, both state houses would have to be apportioned on the basis of "one man, one vote." Since local governments are creatures of the states, the Four- teenth Amendment applies to them as well, and the Supreme Court predictably extended its "one man, one vote" principle to local governments. In 1968, the Court held that the apportionment of the Board of commissioners of Midland County, Texas, violated equal protection.4 It stated that there must be population equality in county districts, since commissioners perform legislative functions, including setting a tax rate, equalizing tax assessments, issuing bonds, adopting budgets, and levying taxes. This principle has promoted moderniza- tion in some counties. Unfortunately from the viewpoint of the central cities, the Court's decisions came too late. Prior to the decisions, the popula- tion of the central cities was grossly underrepresented in legislative bodies. By the time the decisions took effect, however, the popula- tion balance had shifted to the suburbs, and they, not the central cities, became the principal beneficiaries of the more representative systems. The Supreme Court, in a recent decision, has to some degree backed away from its one man, one vote dictum by allowing state legislatures more latitude in establishing districts to deviate from strict population equality.5 Finance and Services In 1971, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state's system of financing public schools largely by means of local-district wealth violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution because such a system "makes the ^Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964). *Avery v. Midland County, Texas et al, 390 U.S. 474 (1968). *Mahan v. Howell, 35 L. Ed. 2d 320 (1973). GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 111

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quality of a child's education a function of the wealth of his parents and neighbors." The court added: "Although private residential and commercial patterns may be partially responsible for the distribution of assessed valuation throughout the State, such patterns are shaped and hardened by zoning ordinances and other governmental land use controls which promote economic exclusivity. . . . Govern- mental action drew the school boundary lines, thus determining how much local wealth each district would contain."6 Although the Unit- ed States Supreme Court did not uphold the test case (Rodriguez),7 which would have required state governments to equalize the financing of public education throughout a state, the Court did recog- nize the need for reform and suggested that state governments them- selves take the initiative. There currently is much state interest in this problem, and it cannot yet be said that the decision has thwarted further progress. Many states are discussing state assumption of a portion of the property tax, which would then be redistributed state- wide by means of some kind of equalization formula, in order to assume greater or complete financial responsibility for education. Hawaii, which has only one school district, is currently the only state with full responsibility for financing public education. The equitable distribution of public services within a jurisdiction was the issue in Hawkins v. Town of Shaw, Mississippi, decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.8 This decision requires municipalities (and, in all likelihood, other local govern- ments) to provide equal levels of service to all parts of their jurisdic- tion if service inequality reveals a pattern of racial discrimination. The Shaw decision, however, does not address the issue of disparities in service levels among jurisdictions. District Consolidation In Virginia, a United States.district court on January 11, 1972, or- dered that a metropolitan school system be established in the Rich- mond area no later than September 1 by the merger of the school '•Serrano v. Priest, 5 Cal. 3d 584 (1971). 7San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973). 8Hawkins v. Town of Shaw, F. 2d 1286 (1971). 112 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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districts of Richmond, Chesterfield County, and Henrico County.9 The Richmond system presently has a student population that is approximately 70 percent black, and each of the county systems has a student population that is over 90 percent white. The district court ruled that "meaningful integration in a biracial community, as in the instant case, is essential to equality of education and the failure to provide it is violative of the Constitution of the United States." The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on June 6, 1972, by a vote of five to one, reversed the opinion of the district court.10 Referring to Spencer v. Kugler, n the circuit court stated: "Because we think that the last vestiges of state-imposed segregation have been wiped out in the public schools of the City of Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield and unitary systems achieved, and because it is not established that the racial composition of the schools in the City of Richmond and the Counties is the result of invidious state action, we conclude that there is no constitutional violation and that therefore the district judge exceeded his power of intervention." The United States Supreme Court upheld the circuit court's decision in May 1973, making it unlikely that there will soon be any forced consolidation of central city and suburban school districts.12 Findings Of the external forces influencing metropolitan government 1962, none has had a greater impact than the federal courts. Un- fortunately, from the central cities'viewpoint, the judicial require- ment of one man, one vote representation in state legislatures came after the cities had already lost much of their population to the suburbs. The cities no longer had the votes to redress the balance between resources and social needs. The chief beneficiar- 9 Carolyn Bradley et al. v. The School Board of the City of Richmond, 338 F. Supp. 67 (1972). 10Bradley v. School Board of Richmond, Virginia, 562 F 2d 1058 (1972). "Spencer v. Kugler, 404 U.S. 1027 (1972). "School Board of City of Richmond, Virginia, et al. v. State Board of Education of Virginia, 412 U.S. 92(1973). GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 113

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Service problems are solved by means of service agreements very slowly. These agreements complicate local government and may make it less responsive to the needs and wishes of citizens. Nevertheless, they will continue to be popular with local government officials because they allow units to take advantage of economies of scale and have a minimal disruptive impact on the structure of local government. States have encouraged local governments to enter into service agreements and seem likely to strengthen these efforts in the future. At the same time, it is important to note that not all governmental service problems lend themselves to solution by means of service agreements. The potential of intergovernmental cooperation is lim- ited chiefly to the solution of relatively noncontroversial problems involving a small number of local governments. large number of intergovernmental service arrangements have been created. Sixty-three percent of the 2,375 municipalities re- "ponding to a mailed questionnaire have entered into formal or 'nformal agreements with other public or private units for the •upply of services. THE POLICY OF ACCOMMODATION Despite many popular conceptions to the contrary, the present frag- mented system of local government generally has been able to de- liver the services demanded by the more articulate middle and upper classes. Delivery has required adaptations ranging from interlocal agreements through contractual arrangements to the more funda- mental change that comes with a metropolitanwide special district that performs a single function. These adaptations have not neces- sarily reduced fragmentation, but they have sometimes softened its unhappy consequences for public services. The governmental system has grown used to a policy of accom- 122 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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modation, not reform. The result is that local governments have been able to keep house—water continues to flow, sewage is disposed of (though it may pour downstream to pollute other jurisdictions), high- ways are built, fires are extinguished, public health is protected, children are, after a fashion, educated, and welfare checks are mailed (though delivery is another matter). While modest improve- ments in the efficiency of local government may have resulted from the policy of accommodation, fundamental questions of equity have seldom been addressed by metropolitan communities as a whole. Increasingly, questions of equity have been raised by the courts. In a Mississippi case, as has been noted, the court required that municipalities provide equal services to all parts of the jurisdiction. Logically, the same reasoning might be applied to differences among jurisdictions within a metropolitan community. Several lower courts have found that the present system of educational financing, in which differences in wealth produce differences in educational ex- penditures, is objectionable. Although courts are drawing attention to questions of equity at the local level, the pervasive problems of externalities, fiscal disparities, and inequities cannot be solved by the courts alone. Basic decisions about metropolitanwide issues have not been made because no institution has authority to make them. The failure of the policy of accommodation and the tactic of gradual adaptation to come to grips with the issues of equity points to the necessity for other approaches. Three have been frequently suggested: (1) in- creased state and federal aid; (2) development of a single tax base for the entire metropolitan region, from which all units would draw revenue on some basis of need; (3) metropolitan reorganization that would make possible both equity and rational long-range planning. Federal and state governments hold the constitutional and fiscal resources necessary to erase the system's structural and fiscal defi- ciencies. The federal government has never adopted a coherent metropolitan policy with these objectives, nor has it beer> able to implement an integrated program of federal support, though federal grants have continued to mount. The events of the 1960s made the states more aware of the problems of the cities. Many states demanded federal action, but a GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 123

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few also tried to deal more effectively with the problems themselves. Most states have enabled local units of government to work together voluntarily. This enabling legislation has been helpful concerning problems that affect more than one jurisdiction. Many states contrib- ute to federal-aid programs that require a local share, while single- function authorities have been created for a few activities that clearly cross local boundaries. At least two states have established a form of regional (that is, metropolitan) government for their major cities. Others are considering the possibility. In a few metropolitan areas, major reform has been achieved by local initiative. However, the political resistance encountered does not make this a promising avenue for future change. Multiplication of interlocal agreements seems likely to continue, but they are un- likely to be very helpful in dealing with equity issues. Metropolitan government might in time be feasible in additional areas, if its expan- sion is supported by concerted state and federal policies. Meanwhile, other important avenues of action are open to the states. State assumption of welfare and education financing could cut fiscal disparities, as could focusing state resources on areas of densely concentrated social ills. In addition to the chronic socioeco- nomic and financial gaps between central cities and suburbs, there also are growing disparities among suburbs. Legislators from low- income suburbs may find that their interests are better served by coalition with large-city legislators than by alignment with those from high-income suburbs. But before realignments like this can occur, many deep ethnic and social antagonisms must be put to rest. The federal government, for its part, need not restrict its help to more resources. If, for example, the administration had followed the suggestion of Representative Henry Reuss of Wisconsin and tied revenue sharing to state and local government reform, the program could now be reducing rather than reinforcing the inadeq"acies of the system. Councils of governments, regional planning agencies, and citi- zen participation have all been promoted by federal action. The councils of governments, however, are generally forums in which local officials protect the autonomy of their jurisdictions. Under councils of governments regional planning is advisory and carefully 1 24 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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monitored by the spokesmen for governmental units that make up the governing board. Groups of citizens, frustrated by lack of funds, also lack expert analysis on which to base their positions. The federal government stands in need of effective instrumentalities at the level of the metropolitan community if the resources it makes available are to be appropriately used to deal with the most urgent social prob- lems. In this respect, the interests of states and the federal govern- ment frequently may coincide. Differences among the metropolitan communities, not only in size but in the urgency and complexity of the problems they face, suggest that the instrumentality must be adapted to particulate situations. The fragmented governmental units within the metropolitan community may be more receptive to fed- eral initiatives as the social problems originally concentrated in the central city spread to other jurisdictions. If research and develop- ment ultimately can provide major improvements in important public service systems, the transiton to a common set of metropolitan in- strumentalities may be facilitated. Findings One can state with reasonable confidence that the major problems of metropolitan areas will have to be confronted by state or federal government unless new areawide mechanisms are developed. URBAN LOCALISM AND METROPOLITAN DECENTRALIZATION Metropolitanization, as has been demonstrated, involves an increase in the size and complexity of urban economic and social institutions. This increase in scale also may affect the basic characteristics of such institutions, incurring a change in kind as well. Implicit in much of the discussion about governance of metropolitan areas is the ques- tion whether the increase in scale does not require fundamental changes in governmental institutions. One specific question is whether the increase in scale does not require a surrender of powers GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 125

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or aspects of powers to smaller units by decentralization of govern- ment within metropolitan areas. Controversy over decentralization, community control, and citi- zen participation is now commonplace in urban areas. However, a considerable part of the literature and discussion concerning submet- ropolitan change has been concerned with only the largest metropol- itan aggregates, particularly New York and Chicago. Changes associated with scale may make decentralization in some form a more critical problem in the larger metropolitan areas than it is in others. On the other hand, clamor for a voice in government may have more complex origins. One point needs to be emphasized: none of the familiar decentralization schemes envisages revitaliza- tion of the neighborhood or microcommunity in any meaningful sense. All are concerned with much larger population groupings. The Committee for Economic Development recently published three policy statements calling for administrative reorganization of state and local governments and the creation of new structures for metropolitan government. The metropolitan policy statement calls for two-tier governments in urban areas—metropolitan-scale govern- ment to perform metropolitan-type functions and smaller, communi- ty-scale governments to perform functions that can readily be handled at the community level. In suggesting that functions be assigned on the basis of where they can best be performed (at the areawide level or at the community level), the proposal assumes it is possible to grant functions to local communities even if those functions are already assigned to the areawide level. In other words, the local communities would be allowed to participate in decision making about such matters as transportation, pollution control, and sewage disposal. One of the difficulties in assigning functions in the abstract has been the assumption that the function must be assigned to one or another level when, in fact, it is possible to assign aspects of the same function to different levels of government. The com- munity-level governments would range in population from 40,000 to 250,000. The objective is simply "units of government small enough to enable the recipients of government services to have some voice and control over their quality and quantity." Evidence to support the effectiveness of the community-level governments is not available. 126 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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The New York metropolitan area has perhaps been more con- cerned with decentralization than any other area in the country. One reason may be that today New York contains over 8 million people and there are an additional 10 to 12 million in the surrounding counties. A "command decentralization" experiment was initiated by Mayor John Lindsay. Four experimental districts varying in popu- lation from roughly 100,000 to slightly more than 200,000 are in operation. The plan is more concerned with establishing a structure for decentralized management and coordination than with the dele- gation of central powers to local authorities. The community advi- sory councils that have been established in the districts are increasingly strong voices in establishing priorities for their areas and in stipulating how services will operate there. Beyond command decentralization, six more far-reaching de- centralization schemes are currently being debated in New York City. All these plans divide the city into neighborhood units. The optimum subdistrict population varies among plans from 100,000 to 300,000. There is substantial agreement about what functions should be decentralized: sanitation, code enforcement, street maintenance, selected health services, and park and playground operation. Inter- estingly enough, no aspects of regional functions such as water sup- ply and air-pollution control are included. One other plan is of interest because in essence it represents a federated approach to local government on a metropolitan scale. In the seven-county Twin Cities area of Minnesota, a de facto form of metropolitan government has been created, initially for very limited purposes. Powers are divided between an upper-tier unit—the Met- ropolitan Council—and lower-tier units—counties and municipali- ties. The council has the authority to review and indefinitely suspend any plans of an independent commission, board, or agency that is in conflict with the council's development guide. It also may inter- vene before the Minnesota Municipal Commission in annexation and incorporation proceedings. To finance its activities, the council is authorized to levy a tax not exceeding seven-tenths of one mill on each dollar of assessed valuation of all taxable property. The Metro- politan Fiscal Disparities Law, passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 1971, enables all local governments in the seven-county Twin GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 127

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Cities region to share in the property tax revenue produced by new commercial-industrial development, regardless of where it occurs in the region. There are 300 governmental units of very unequal size in a 3,000-square-mile area providing services to 1.9 million people. It is useful to note that, while the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council is decentralized in form, the intent is clearly to centralize. Neither the Metropolitan Council nor most of the existing governments seem to be concerned with neighborhood participation in the microcom- munity sense. The Twin Cities model may be viewed as an attempt to maintain what Tiebout (1956) described as "advantages of public choice" while attaining the advantages of economies of scale. URBAN LOCALISM AND SOCIOECONOMIC STRATIFICATION Metropolitan residents pay for the benefits they receive from their local government. Consequently, they seek maximum service at min- imum cost. Urban residents utilize the facilities of the metropolis in work, recreation, shopping. At the same time, their view of their inter- ests may be affected by socioeconomic class and place of residence. In terms of benefits, the upper and middle classes depend on government only for basic housekeeping and protective services and for education. The latter is the largest expenditure item in most urban areas. Raymond Vernon (1962, p. 31) said of this group a decade ago, "for most people things are getting slightly better all the time." However, today there is some disenchantment with urban condi- tions even among the upper-middle and upper classes, who are troubled by congestion and pollution, crime and delinquency, and the ugliness of the urban-scape. Most have not made the connection between their growing discomfort and the governance of the metro- politan community. Meanwhile, the lower part of the middle class sees itself as overtaken by rising taxes and inflation. Proud of their self-reliance yet unable to fully share in the general progress, con- vinced that their hard-earned tax payments are going to support the idle and dissolute, these people have been spurred to more or less open revolt, in which they are joined by some of their better-off blue-collar colleagues. 128 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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Finally, there are those in the lowest income groups—the work- ing poor, people with inadequate fixed incomes, and the unem- ployed. These groups in varying degree must look to government for gratification of their most elementary wants, beginning with basic subsistence, housing, education, and a viable social environment (that is, neighborhoods free of such things as violence, dope pushers, and vagrants). A good deal of the interest in urban localism appears to stem from the stratification of residential areas along class and race lines found in virtually every metropolitan community no matter what its size. The middle and upper classes have been relatively effective in obtaining high-quality facilities and services for their residential neighborhoods. Urban localism, as it is reflected in the defense of subcommunities, in this case seeks to maintain existing social and financial advantages. In contrast, the lower-income and minority groups are seeking increased access to resources and political power in order to ensure more adequate provision of facilities and services. In short, submetropolitan units are seen by some as a means of defending what they have and by others as a means of gaining access to what they have not. The interests of minority groups, like those of the majority, increasingly reflect class differences. While there are now middle- and upper-income minority residential areas in many central cities, the deconcentrating movement that is under way generally has not resulted in large movements of minorities across the boundaries of political jurisdictions. For the present, minority localism remains cen- tral city localism for some and residential area localism for others. Both groups seek access to political power, but opinion is divided on the adequacy of the resources that power in the central city will provide. Decentralization at the level usually discussed would have little effect on the neighborhood, or microcommunity, which will con- tinue to be the setting of relatively fewer and fewer urban transac- tions. As operative for middle- and upper-income groups, decentralization might tend to strengthen socially undesirable exclu- sionary practices. For the lower-class, decentralization is important only if it provides real access to power and in turn better services. GOVERNMENT OF METROPOLITAN COMMUNITIES 129

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On the whole, it does npt seem likely to achieve these things. As Janowitz (1961) concluded after examining the urban scene, the problem of local groups as well as that of the wider community derives less from a concentration of power than from lack of an articulated system for making decisions at all. Throughout the country, there is a basic need for more equitable and effective metropolitan government. Informed and coherent na- tional standards could make an important contribution toward this end. At the same time, there is need for concerted state and federal action. Most important, perhaps, local leaders and citizens must recognize the extent to which they live on a metropolitan scale and how metropolitan institutions shape their well-being and the quality of their lives. Finally, as provision is made for better governance of metropolitan communities, continuing work to identify those activi- ties that may lend themselves to more responsive handling at a submetropolitan level will be needed. In the absence of effective metropolitan government, the states and the federal government will be obliged to assume additional responsibilities. 130 TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF METROPOLITAN AMERICA

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