The January issue of Conscious Choice has an excellent interview with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. In the article, Daley discusses both his upcoming projects and his legacy as a steward of Chicago. Among the interesting topics covered is the notion that, in today's era of federal-level gridlock and stagnant support, enterprising cities are entirely capable of championing causes on their own -- with worldchanging results. From Conscious Choice article:
"Daley: As the government cuts back on programs—and maybe they have too many programs and should have more options instead of having so many complicated programs, that way the money gets spread around more quickly and evenly—that’s where the community has to step up and function.
The federal government is much more dysfunctional these days, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Democrat or Republican, they are so far removed from the average citizen—especially when it comes to the environment. Just today we had the Coast Guard shooting lead rounds into the lake, and we’re like, “you can’t dump all that lead into the lake!” But with [the federal government] the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing. Local government is hands-on; people can just come right up and talk to us and tell us their real concerns and needs."
In the face of such indecision, Chicago has plowed ahead -- for better or worse -- with a variety of initiatives that would never have received support on the federal level. From smoking bans to big box initiatives to green building codes, the sheer level of activity in Chicago is proof that the city-state mentality may not be such an archaic notion after all.