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Irony and Inevitability: Stumbling Toward Accountable Public Policy

U.S. politics are "...beginning to sound like a mash-up of Greek tragedy and Groundhog Day. All hubris and irony, over and over again. But the pragmatism required in cities and states is starting to look like an exit strategy."
November 4, 2014, 6am PST | Hazel Borys
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Ben Brown gives a round-up of election week implications for city planners, in a time of limited trust between people and their government.

"Governors, mayors and others with executive branch responsibilities ... are more visible to voters on a day-to-day basis and more closely identified with programs they advocate. When their ideas flop, they’ve got explaining to do at the next election. So they’re quicker to abandon strategies that don’t show promise and more apt to strike deals to get results they can take credit for. Whether they like it or not, they’re accountable for wrapping their arms around problems and finding paths to solutions. On a deadline."

"Which makes the days and weeks after Tuesday’s voting worth watching. Reality-based policies and programs in some states and metros will get the go-ahead, exposing the contrast with the reality-free versions persisting in Washington."

"If we’re lucky, we’ll be nearing a tipping point. Because even effective leadership and smart policies in the states and local jurisdictions can’t succeed on the scales necessary to address the big problems without help from Washington, the pressure from below will force changes up the food chain."

"Eventually, maybe, we’ll get closer to a place where the most workable definition of politics — 'the art of the possible' — will seem less like a naïve fantasy."

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Published on Monday, November 3, 2014 in PlaceShakers
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