Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Local is Where the Power Is

City councils are where the power truly is found. The city councils and mayors are who will solve the problems that we face. These people cannot afford to be ideologues. Their job is to pick up garbage, keep hospitals open, to ensure fire and safety services are available, and that law enforcement and teachers do their jobs. How many times have you or even heard a person say, “If I just was in charge things would be better.” Well, local governments, such as school boards, water districts, fire boards, city councils and county board of supervisors are as close as the average proletarians can get to being in charge or at least at the decision-making table when decisions are made that affect your life, your family’s life and that of the community you live in. Also the higher up one goes in government the slower things happen and the more money it takes to get elected. This is where ideologues take over and the nation stalls and nothing gets done that is worthwhile. A city can raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, which can solve 90 percent of the problems in a city or county, and even help businesses by slowing turnover, which will make workers more productive. The extra money will be spent in your community, which will boost the local taxes and provide for more jobs. The key would be local—to get the cities in a county to agrees on a minimum wage so everyone would pay it and not put a business at a disadvantage and then tie it to a cost of living or Consumer Price Index. The other thing that worked in New York City was organizations, like the Working Families Party, with its grassroots powerbase, helped elect Mayor Bill deBlasio as New York’s mayor; and Seattle City, WA; Richmond, CA; and Newark, NJ, all now have progressive mayors. This is where people can still get things done, but will have to watch that the state or federal governments do not enact laws, which would stifle local laws or our power. A good book to read is, “If Mayors Ruled the World” by Benjamin Barber.