Re: Excellent Observations Interesting question, Mary, and good points PeterJ, about at what point this insulation happens. I also wonder if it matters what status the person had before entering office. For example, Rahm Emanuel is the mayor of Chicago. Is he more "untouchable" because of his prominence? I actually don't know the answer, and would love to hear from anyone who is in Chicago. But I agree with PeterJ that this can happen at any level. But you're not going to be an effective mayor if you let it happen early on.
Excellent Observations Mary, I do think that insulation can happen at any level of office and regardless of the size of the constituency. Maybe it is communication that matters most. Some public officials are very effective at it - they use media and other tools of the office to connect with the public. They work on building a public relationship and and invest in it over time. Maybe it is the building of political capital that allows some to do bolder things.
Excellent Observations Yes, there is accountability at the city level, and elected officals, namely mayors, are the administrators to whom citizens seek leadership. It cannot be deflected at this level, which I think results in democracy working as it should. And I do beleive citizens respect officials who honestly lead, communicate, and deliver sorely needed leadership.
Re: Excellent observations "One great observation: If politicians had to face their constituents every day the way mayors of large cities do, we'd see less partisan shenanigans."
I believe that as well. I recently went to see the movie Lincoln, as well as a musical called A Civil War Christmas -- both of which revolve around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and that period of time. In seeing both of these, I was reminded that there was a time when citizens could go right up to the White House and ask/demand things of the president. Those days are long over. Even Senators and Representatives exist as little more than pre-packaged soundbites.
There's a great talk by Benjamin Barber (who intends to be writing for Future Cities soon) called If Mayors Ruled the World... I think he's onto something.
Excellent observations Applause for former Mayor Diaz of Miami regarding the errors and evils of partisan politics at the local level. He also speaks to why we need to resist partisanship at the federal level.
One great observation: If politicians had to face their constituents every day the way mayors of large cities do, we'd see less partisan shenanigans.
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