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City Councils deal with mundane issues

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 23:10

It’s reassuring to know that local governments are hard at work deciding on the burdensome issues that weigh upon their citizens, ensuring that citizens are getting jobs and are not on the street.

Except, the St. Petersburg City Council has decided that it is indeed all right to be on the street as long as one is perfectly still.

Tuesday, it was debating whether sign wavers promoting local businesses on the streets of the city should be allowed to move or not, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

No more dancing antics or frantic waving, city officials proposed. No more funny costumes. No more raised signs. Drivers could be distracted by the motion, they argued.

While it is very generous of the city of St. Petersburg to have public safety as a burning concern, there are many more safety issues the city should tackle first, and the issue is demonstrative of the gradual erosion of the effectiveness of local government.

The system of federalism is often compared to the marble cake in history and government classes — the different tiers of government working together for the citizens’ best interest.

But in actuality, it appears that the local-government swirls in the cake are lacking in flavor.

Issues like public safety, highway management, or even things as trivial as whether or not a 5K race can take place on a specific road at a specific time, need to be decided by someone, and the bombardment of local government’s with mundane and trivial details are unnecessary and inefficient, leaving bigger issues ignored.

The city of St. Petersburg faces serious issues. The city has a crime index rating of three, on a scale of one to 100 — 100 being the safest.

One in 88 St. Petersburg citizens are likely to be victims of violent crimes as opposed to one in 184 Florida residents.

For the city to be spending tax dollars to meet and make decisions on whether or not people can wave signs in the street is a cop out from the real issues that face the city.

Whether these issues are simply taxing City Council and should be dealt with in a more hyperlocal fashion with larger decisions left to the city or whether the city is choosing to address the more meaningless issues that it is able to tackle, local government cannot function as an effective part in society if it is beholden to the minutia of a hula-hooping Statue of Liberty trying to make a living.

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