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Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 09:32 am

The cosmopolitan perspective

 I only scratched the surface of my topic in “Form over function” (Jan. 26, 2017).

Under the old commission government, each of the five commissioners were both administrative and legislative—as individuals they ran major departments and, as a council, passed laws. Whatever the system’s faults, it did demand that every one of the five had to learn a little something about the power plant, about the streets, about the cops and the library and the finances. 

Under Springfield's successor aldermanic government, council members under a ward system bring a neighborhood perspective to their deliberations on citywide matters. Recently, an incoming alderman listed among his priorities for the new term the need for a new traffic light. Add up similar priorities from similarly inclined colleagues and you usually get a transportation program that consists of installing ten traffic lights, not an energy-efficient mode-balanced, coordinated pedestrian-and-bike-friendly public-private transit system. 

No one thinks about the city as a whole save the mayor. And one against ten is not a fair fight.

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