Friday, April 03, 2009

Political Infighting Stalling Cuyahoga County Reform, There's A Shock!

The Plain Dealer has a story up today about how political infighting is stalling proposals to reform Cuyahoga County government.

Well, there’s a freaking shock.

Apparently, there are two competing proposals for county government reform, but both have the broad outlines of creating a system of government similar to the one in neighboring Summit County. That is, replacement of the county board of commissioners with a county executive elected countywide and a county council, and replacement of many elected county officials into fewer officials with more responsibility plus more appointed officers. The two competing proposals seem to have their largest difference in the number of members the county council would have. In the proposal pushed by Parma Heights Mayor Martin Zanotti, the county council would have between 7 and 9 members, whereas in a competing proposal pushed by Prosecutor Bill Mason, it would be more like 13 members.

One of the things I simply can’t understand about the situation is that apparently, the minority community is opposed to the reform, because fewer elected officials means fewer chances for minorities to get into elected office. Sorry, but first, that’s not a good enough reason to keep superfluous officials around who are paid, and their staffs paid, with taxpayer dollars that could be better spent and second, it seems to me that the best way to create more elected offices is to grow Cuyahoga County’s population, thus creating more state representative, state senate, and congressional offices to run for. Cuyahoga County’s loss of nearly 110,000 residents since the 2000 census means the loss of an entire state representative district, which also, by the way, means sharing a state senate district with another county instead of having it entirely within Cuyahoga.

County government reform is past due. Summit County’s model works. Let’s do it.

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