The Government of Metropolitan Areas in the United States

By Paul Studenski; Frank H. Sommer et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VI
PUBLIC OPINION AS A FACTOR--TERMS OF ANNEXATION AND CONSOLIDATION

Consolidations and annexations have almost always originated in citizens' movements. Aroused by failure of the city, suburb, or metropolitan area to advance rapidly because of the limited territorial jurisdiction of the city, the inadequacies of the suburban government or the political disunity of the metropolitan area, civic leaders have launched drives to extend the city's boundaries. They have been compelled to cultivate popular support because they were seeking a far-reaching rearrangement in the political organization of the community, which naturally evoked the opposition of political influences backed by a substantial portion of the population. Enabling legislation or a local referendum, or both, being necessary, the legislature or the voters, or both, must be won over to support the proposal.

Wholesale consolidations and annexations naturally originate in the city. The City's political ambitions are a reflection of the desire of its inhabitants, and particularly of its business leaders, to achieve for themselves greater prosperity and power in the economic sphere. In order to attain this, the city must develop the region 80 as best to adapt it to industry, trade and habitation. The city views its suburbs as integral parts of its economic structure. Whenever the city's area becomes insufficient to enable it to control the region, and industry and people move outside its limits, it naturally considers the expansion of its boundaries and its jurisdiction. Ambitious urban interests will often favor the addition of improved and rich territories, justifying the heavier expenditures necessitated thereby as an investment which will eventually prove profitable.

More impulsive, yet probably equally effective, has been the "bigger and better" psychology which so often attends annexation movements. Newspapers and business men's associations are frequently captured by it. No statistical evidence of its influ

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