Sunday, January 16, 2005

Politics of THE CITY

The subject of my future posts will have a lot to do with the relationship between the political life of THE CITY and the bureaucratic life of THE CITY. Let's go over some basics:

Bureaucracy is the antithesis of politics: Bureaucracy is a firm adherance to the rules and regulations, while Politics is the firm adherance to the Will of the Electors. Politicians will constantly try to twist the bureaucracy to serve their needs ("credit claiming" in order to win elections), while Bureaucrats will resist as often political directives are "suboptimal" when compared to other choices. "Suboptimal" also includes, for the record, the potential for the bureaucrat to be fired, sent to jail, or otherwise violate Rule #2. So there's this tense dance between the Politicos and the Bureaucrats, each trying to lead (or at least guide) the other.

The result is often that nothing gets done... which, on the national level, isn't always that bad: the Bureaucracy is a check on the Politicians. If you were a strident member of a political party, would you really want the other party to have absolute control over law and be able to change it in a whim, or would you want some inertia to slow that process down? Would you really want the other party to be able to impose its will instantaneously, or would you want some delay so that you can minimize the effects of the changes?

Of course, we the Bureaucrats get trashed for being slow and ponderous (we're defending against the tyrrany of the majority!) and treating people like crap (that's democracy and equality, baby: all y'all get treated like crap).

Enough with the theory... let's get to some of the major players in political life of THE CITY:

The Mayor: Generally disliked across the city. Went through a spate of building projects during his term; THE CITY slouched towards bankruptcy. The mayor gets most of the blame, which may or may not be warranted. Announced some weeks ago that he's not running for mayor again.

City Council: Sort of like the Superfriends of THE CITY... only without Superman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern... well, really without anybody with any "super" powers, not even Black Vulcan. So you're left with Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder-Dog. Only there's nine of them. While some of them have some blinding flashes of insight, and while they are often very knowledgeable about matters in their district, these are the class of people that can be categorized as parochial.



The Silver Fox Used to be on City Council. Lost to The Mayor last time around and was given a post at THE STATE as a sort of consolation prize. Left the post at THE STATE to... Well, we don't know yet. We assume that he's going to run again, but hasn't declared his candidacy.

The Snake Oil Salesman Works for the City now as the Controller; is also the Chairman of the Local Dominant Political Party. Also has not declared his candidacy. Not necessarily a bad guy, but entrenched in the muck that is the Politics in THE CITY.

The Administrator A bureaucrat himself, is in charge of an agency that would baffle most people outside of THE CITY. Interestingly has championed the elimination of his own job. Positioned himself as an "outsider". Only viable candidate that has officially declared.

The Fop On City Council now, Represents the wealthiest and trendiest area of THE CITY. He's into this whole "New Economy," "Creative Class", thing. Has come support with the younger crowd, but doesn't seem to have a full grasp of what is involved in running THE CITY. Oh, yeah, and an enemy of THE BUREAUCRACY. Has not declared his candidacy either.

So that's the overview of the starting lineup of the race. There are other players, but we'll get to those in future posts.

This post brought to you by: Sunday Morning

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