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I don't think the "Second City" title means much to most Chicagoans, even though reports in the LA Times suggest that Chicago would again be second in population if secession succeeds (the Valley city would be 1.4 million, Hollywood about 200,000, and the rest of LA about 2.2 million).
I'm wondering if other cities will take a cue from what's happening out there. Will cities begin to split in the name of efficient and effective governance?
Louisville and Jefferson County in Kentucky just merged governments, though I realize even after it takes effect it's not a city the size of LA or Chicago. I'm may be a contrarian on this issue - I believe smaller governmental units actually *are* more responsive and efficient. The reason the merger succeeded, IMHO, was an inexplicable infatuation with population count ("Now we'll be 16th!") rather than any actual benefit.
I agree that there are advantages to smaller governing units. There are also efficiencies to consolidating services. It is something our communities have been doing for decades - sharing specialized equipment among municipalities, providing services (fire protection, etc.) to multiple jurisdictions, etc., without actually merging governments. What is the right size? I'm guessing it is smaller than LA.
Despite the fact that I live in Canada now, I was born and raised in the Valley and my parents still live there. From time to time, I get an update from mom (who keeps relatively entrenched in the local politics), and even she's confused on this issue. The LA Local Agency Formation Commission was supposed to release a study regarding servicing, etc, but I haven't seen it. Anyone else know what's going on? There are a number of websites I've been to... like http://www.valleyvote.org/ ... although the LAFCO site is probably the best one ( www.lalafco.org).
I believe LAFCO has made findings that the reorganiztion is possible and fiscally feasible. If you are into tax spreadsheets and stuff, they have a bunch posted on the site. You could definitely spend hours wading through all this info.
My take on this is that a new valley city and a newly re-incorporated Hollywood (Hollywood was an independent city until the 1910s, I believe) are good for the residents of those places, but bad for the LA region.
I look at the Chicago region and see suburbs constantly competing with each other for middle and upper income housing, sales tax-rich commercial strips and business parks. I know Chicagoland is not unique in that respect. I think you'll see a new valley city push hard to compete with LA in terms of tax revenue, and that will be to the detriment of the quality of life throughout SoCal.
I do agree, however, that smaller units of government are more efficient and responsive. But residents of these areas will only relate to their particular area and how it serves them, without thinking of how it fits in the bigger picture -- the Greater Los Angeles area that stretches from Simi Valley to San Bernadino and beyond.