I Wonder What This Could Mean

The suburbs don’t want to “subsidize” the city:

Service consolidation has been a popular topic for local government, but the notion of a metropolitan form of government has sparked controversy.

“Metropolitan government is tough,” Glendale Mayor Jerome Tepper said. “We have 20 municipalities including the county. People identify with their community” and some don’t want to give that up, he said.

Rob Henken, president of the nonpartisan Public Policy Forum, said the controversial part about metro government in Milwaukee would be concerns from suburban communities that they would be subsidizing “much more intense levels of service in the city.”

Right. Much more intense levels of service.

For fuck’s sake. You know why the city would need more services? MORE PEOPLE LIVE THERE. And the city’s been starved of services forever, creating more problems to solve, as businesses and anybody with money fled to the ‘burbs and city government could and did ignore things like building inspections and public works upkeep in neighborhoods where nobody had time or inclination to complain.

I’m not saying metropolitan government makes perfect sense here or anywhere, really, but the glib dismissal in that comment is … something.


5 thoughts on “I Wonder What This Could Mean

  1. Don’t more people still *work* in the city – many of them in the suburbs? Don’t even businesses that are out in the suburbs still have a dependency on city-based operations? I really don’t get this idea that people in the suburbs should reap the benefits of being near a city but not having to carry any of the costs.

  2. Lived in Milwaukee for nearly 13 years… I can tell you why the suburbs don’t want to subsidize the city: RACE. Black people and hispanic people live in the city. Professional, educated people with whom I worked used to BRAG to me that they had not been in the city for years! Not to go to the theatre, symphony, ballet, art museum — nothin. And these same people warned me not to shop in the Grand Avenue mall because there were “youths” there — scary black teens! MKE is the second most racially divided city in the country — only second to Detroit. The public schools are dying. The parks and public services, too. They can’t have new public transport. The suburban white people… the folks who brought you Scott Walker… they will NOT have it.

  3. The taxes city residents paid for decades subsidized the suburbs. Roads and other infrastructure weren’t built by private enterprise on spec.

  4. Don’t know the history there. But in several places that I have lived, the smaller incorporated areas ouside of the city limit owe their existence to people fleeing the evils of the city, including those scary poor and racial people.
    In one Coastal SC city, I had nightmares of being in an accident and the ambulance crews from several different districts had to call in their respective city councils as my right arm was in one city, left arm in another, etc…
    The economic argument seems convoluted to me as the real money-makers were in the city and the suburbs only means of economy was to tax the houses people came home to at night.

  5. [[ I really don’t get this idea that people in the suburbs should reap the benefits of being near a city but not having to carry any of the costs.]]
    One of the few really forward-thinking things that N.C. did decades ago was allow municipalities to annex adjoining unincorporated areas involuntarily as long as the population density was at least two people per square mile and the municipality demonstrated the ability to legal commit, within X time, to provide fire and police protection, water and sewer service and other such services. (A lot of suburban development was already on city water/sewer and paying twice the in-city rate, so to some extent they benefited on the deal.) So businesses and residents who benefited from geographic proximity to civilization eventually had to bear their fair share of the costs of that civilization. Cruel but fair, say I.
    Unfortunately, the flying monkeys that took over the legislature in 2010 are about to ban involuntary annexation. It’s a way to get back at the larger cities, which, while creating the bulk of jobs, also tend to vote Democratic and be home to larger proportions of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities.

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