Regional Politics: America in a Post-City Age


Edited by: H. V. Savitch & Ronald K. Vogel

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Avoidance and Conflict

    Part II: Mutual Adjustment

    Part III: Metropolitan Government

    Part IV: Conclusion

  • Urban Affairs Annual Review

    A semiannual series of reference volumes discussing programs, policies, and current developments in all areas of concern to urban specialists.


    Susan E. Clarke, University of Colorado at Boulder Dennis R. Judd, University of Missouri at St. Louis

    The Urban Affairs Annual Review presents original theoretical, normative, and empirical work on urban issues and problems in volumes published on an annual or bi-annual basis. The objective is to encourage critical thinking and effective practice by bringing together interdisciplinary perspectives on a common urban theme. Research that links theoretical, empirical, and policy approaches and that draws on comparative analyses offers the most promise for bridging disciplinary boundaries and contributing to these broad objectives. With the help of an international advisory board, the editors will invite and review proposals for Urban Affairs Annual Review volumes that incorporate these objectives. The aim is to ensure that the Urban Affairs Annual Review remains in the forefront of urban research and practice by providing thoughtful, timely analyses of cross-cutting issues for an audience of scholars, students, and practitioners working on urban concerns throughout the world.


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    View Copyright Page


    For both of us, this volume has grown out of an abiding interest in two distinct though interrelated issues: first, the evolution of metropolitan regions and, second, the impact of political institutions on regional economies. This current work seeks to link both aspects through an investigation of the political economy of ten metropolitan regions. We have found these linkages to be strong and enduring, through in many ways unpredictable. What works in one region may not necessarily work in another or may result in radically different outcomes. Yet despite the diversity, we have also been able to discern common patterns, and we believe we have captured these patterns through a framework suggest in Chapter 1 and the perspectives offered in Chapter 12. We trust the reader will connect this material to the case studies in the remaining chapters.

    The cases were chosen because they cover a spectrum of experience in regional institutions and political economy. The authors of these cases present a rich tapestry of metropolitan America, one that reveals the reciprocating influences of politics and economics and imparts distinct themes. Some regions are engulfed by endemic conflict. In their chapter on New York, Bruce Berg and Paul Kantor demonstrate how regional institutions attempt to manage economic tensions between states and localities. In that highly competitive region, institutions have become a product of the very conflicts they were supposed to control and, at times, have collapsed. In his chapter on Los Angeles, Alan Saltzstein shows how regional conflicts emerge out of attempts to control air pollution. He also points up the importance of transportation and the concomitant frictions over efforts to bring about clean air. In their chapter on St. Louis, Donald Phares and Claude Louishomme underscore how an intensely fragmented region attempts to cope with tax issues, competition for industry and resultant “place wars.” Here, attempts to bring about institutional reform fall before the courts and a turbulent political process.

    Other metropolitan regions spawn a different, more gentile theme. Jeffrey Henig, Donald Brunori and Mark Ebert show how Washington, D.C.'s region focused attention away from the volatile issues and toward technical cooperation in police services. Despite the fragility of the District of Columbia's regional institutions, they have managed to hang on by siphoning federal support and curtailing the political agenda. Louisville and Pittsburgh deflect conflict in much the same way, though with one important difference—these regions focus on economic development. H. V. Savitch and Ronald Vogel show how Louisville's Compact brought some temporary relief to struggles over tax revenue, while Louise Jezierski turns to the role of the Allegheny Conference in promoting regional cooperation. In Louisville and Pittsburgh, powerful elites used institutions to bridge social cleavage.

    Finally, the cases demonstrate that some regional institutions do work—albeit with occasional setbacks, limits and a narrow political scope. Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Jacksonville, and Portland adopted different kinds of institutions to accommodate regional pressures and promote regional cooperation. Genie Stowers points up the very limited nature of Miami's metro system, which is best understood as a “regional county.” Bert Swanson shows that consolidated Jacksonville cannot become a more encompassing regional institution and has failed to slow the growing disparities between the center and the suburbs. John Harrigan chronicles the story of the Minneapolis-St. Paul model (“widely praised but never copied”) and now showing signs of distress. Arthur Nelson demonstrates the circumscribed role of Portland's metropolitan service district.

    All told, the cases enable us to understand the dynamics of regional politics and draw conclusions about strategies for regional cooperations. We are grateful to the contributing authors for their care, skill, and diligence. Without their expertise and insight, we could not have proceeded. They should not, however, be held accountable for our interpretations of their cases.

    We also thank John Mollenkopf of the City University of New York's Graduate Center, for greeting our work, encouraging its completion, and inviting us to present some of our findings to a conference sponsored by the Social Science Research Council and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Conference, held in Washington during December 1994, enabled us to crystallize our ideas and expose them to the probing criticism of other colleagues. Hank Savitch extends his special appreciation to Dave Rusk for his comradeship, intellectual acuity, and his stubborn search for regional solutions. Ron Vogel acknowledges the tremendous intellectual debt he owes Bert Swanson at the University of Florida and is grateful for the opportunity to turn the table on his former mentor in his new capacity as editor. Dennis Judd and Susan Clarke, series editors, were always patient. They consistently probed us to push our findings to the limit and helped put many of the pieces together.

    Several Graduate Research Assistants worked steadfastly and artfully to gather data and make some sense of it. David Collins, now research Director for the Committee on Prevention, Education and Substance, and Kevin Dupont helped us immeasurably for more than two years. Suzanne Sexton and Geetha Suresh furnished us with some last-minute talent in putting the index together.


    To my students in New York, Louisville, and Paris


    To my wife, Jeanie

  • About the Authors

    Bruce Berg is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. His present research interests focus on intergovernmental relations, interest groups, and health policy. He has published articles on these and related topics in Administration and Society, Policy Studies Review, and other journals.

    David Brunori is the legal editor of State Tax Notes magazine. His research interests include state and local tax and budget issues. He earned his M.A. in political science from The George Washington University and his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Mark Ebert, an attorney, is a doctoral student in political science at The George Washington University. He has a master's degree in Public Administration and was a Banneker Fellow at the George Washington University Center of Washington Area Studies. His research interests include state and local government and political socialization.

    John J. Harrigan is Professor of Political Science at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota. He coauthored, with William C. Johnson, Governing the Twin Cities Region and is the author of Political Change in the Metropolis, Politics and Policy in States and Communities, Politics and the American Future, and Empty Dreams, Empty Pockets: Class and Bias in American Politics.

    Jeffrey Henig is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies at The George Washington University. He is the author of Neighborhood Mobilization: Redevelopment and Response (1982), Public Policy and Federalism (1985), and Rethinking School Choice (1994). His articles on such topics as neighborhood organizations, gentrification, privatization, and the politics of school reform have appeared in scholarly journals including Urban Affairs Quarterly, Journal of Urban Affairs, Political Science Quarterly, and World Politics.

    Louise Jezierski is Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Program in Urban Studies at Brown University. She was a Fellow at UCLA's Institute for American Cultures, Chicano Studies Research Center during 1992. She is writing a book, Imagination and Consent: Reinventing the Post-Industrial City, based on her research on the politics of the postindustrial urban transformation of Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Her other major interest is urban race and ethnic relations. She has published articles on public-private partnerships and neighborhood movements, regional development, postmodern urban theory, and the role of women in the transformation of industrial cities to service and high-technology economies. Her Ph.D. in sociology is from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Paul Kantor is Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. He has written numerous articles, reviews, and books in the fields of urban politics, public policy, and political economy. Most recently, he coauthored, with Dennis R. Judd, Enduring Tensions in Urban Politics (1992) and wrote The Dependent City Revisited: The Political Economy of Urban Economic and Social Policy (1995). His current research focuses on the political economy of comparative urban development in the United States and Western Europe. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

    Claude Louishomme was formerly Director of Real Estate and Community Development for the Economic Council of St. Louis County. He also served as lead administrator for the selection of gaming developers in unincorporated areas of St. Louis County. He is a graduate student at the University of Missouri—St. Louis, pursuing a doctoral degree in political science with an emphasis on public policy, public administration, and urban politics.

    Arthur C. Nelson is Professor of City Planning, Public Policy, and International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is widely published in the areas of regional development planning, urban and regional development patterns, resource land preservation and management, infrastructure planning and finance, growth management, and urban revitalization. He serves as an Editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association and Associate Editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs. His clients have included numerous federal agencies as well as regional, state, and local governments. He earned his doctorate in urban studies from Portland State University.

    Donald Phares is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Missouri—St. Louis, and Director of the North American Institute for Comparative Urban Research, which coordinates research and conferences on cross-country urban issues. He is the author of three books and the editor of two, and he has authored or coauthored more than 100 professional articles and technical/governmental reports. He served as coeditor of Urban Affairs Quarterly and was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Affairs. He has been a consultant on government finance and urban policy issues for numerous public and private organizations, foundations, and universities.

    Alan L. Saltzstein is Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of Public Administration Programs at California State University, Fullerton. He is the author of Public Employees and Policymaking and several articles dealing with urban politics and personnel policy making in cities, and he has also written on Los Angeles city politics. His work has appeared in the Western Political Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, American Review of Public Administration, and State and Local Government Review. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA.

    H. V. Savitch is Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the Center for Urban and Economic Research, College of Business and Public Administration, University of Louisville. He has published three books on various aspects of urban affairs, including neighborhood politics, national urban policy, and comparative urban development. His Post Industrial Cities (1989) was nominated for the best volume on urban politics by the American Political Science Association. He has coedited Big Cities in Transition (with John Thomas) and is coeditor of the Journal of Urban Affairs. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Polity, Journal of the American Planning Association, Economic Development Quarterly, Urban Affairs Quarterly, National Civic Review, and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

    Genie Stowers is Associate Professor of Public Administration at San Francisco State University. She has published frequently on Miami and Miami politics and is completing work on a book about Cuban American political development. Her research interests are in the areas of urban politics and policy, women and public policy, and ethnic politics. She is especially interested in the question of how politically marginalized groups develop and use power and how they work for changes in public policy.

    Bert Swanson is a member of the Political Science and Urban Studies faculty and former director of the Institute of Government at the University of Florida. He served as a consultant on the charter revision of New York City and as Executive Director of the Advisory and Evaluation Committee on Decentralization for the New York City Board of Education. He has assisted public officials at the federal, state, and local levels in the areas of health, education, housing, race relations, disaster response, and civil disturbances. He is coauthor of The Rulers and the Ruled: Political Power and Impotence in American Communities, which won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book on political science published in 1964. He is the author or coauthor of numerous other books in community studies, racial and ethnic relations, and other areas. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oregon.

    Ronald K. Vogel is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville. His research focuses on regional economic development and governance. He is the author of Urban Political Economy: Broward County, Florida (1992) and editor of the Handbook of Research on Urban Politics and Policy (forthcoming). He serves on the Executive Council of the Urban Politics section of the American Political Science Association.

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