The Politics of City Revenue

By Arnold J. Meltsner | Go to book overview

3
The Revenue Process and Public Avoidance

Having discussed Oakland's fiscal discretion and identified its key fiscal actors, I will now present an analytical framework in which to integrate this material, using the concepts of the Simon- March-Cyert focus on "good enough" decision making and the perspective achieved by considering the city as an open system.1 This framework has two major components: the stages of the revenue process from search and decision through administration; and the tactics which the revenue subsystem uses to cope with environmental uncertainty. When fully developed, the framework shows that Oakland officials withdraw from the public--that officials obtain revenue by public avoidance. First, it is necessary to define three terms: revenue subsystem, environment, and tactics.

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1
For decision making, see Herbert A. Simon, Models of Man: Social and Rational ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1957), pp. 241-260; James G. March and Herbert A. Simon, Organizations ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1958), pp. 137-183; Richard M. Cyert and James G. March, A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall, Inc., 1963), pp. 114-127. Lindblom's work is also relevant; see Charles E. Lindblom, "The Science of 'Muddling Through,'" Public Administration Review 19 (spring 1959): 79-88; David Braybrooke and Charles E. Lindblom, A Strategy of Decision ( New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1963), pp. 37-110. For the open system approach see Daniel Katz and Robert L. Kahn, The Social Psychology of Organizations ( New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1966), pp. 8-29; and James D. Thompson, Organizations in Action ( New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1967), pp. 6-10.

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The Politics of City Revenue
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Oakland Project vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Revenue Sources 12
  • 2 - City Officials And Oakland Finance 49
  • 3 - The Revenue Process And Public Avoidance 86
  • 4 - The Sewer Service Charge 132
  • 5 - Budgeting Without Money 161
  • 6 - Citizen-Leader Perceptions Of Oakland Finance 186
  • 7 - Politics, Policy, And City Revenue 248
  • Appendix 287
  • Bibliography 289
  • Index 297
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