"For all the wrong reasons, a national spotlight is shining on Chicago. The city has become known for its violence, police abuse, parent and teacher unrest, population decline, and mounting municipal and pension debt. The underlying problem, contend Ed Bachrach and Austin Berg, is that deliberative democracy is dead in the city. Chicago is home to the last strongman political system in urban America. Any perceived checks on mayoral control are often proven illusory. The outrageous consequences of unchecked power are evident in government failures in elections, schools, fiscal discipline, corruption, public support for private enterprise, policing, and more. Rather than simply lament the situation, criticize specific leaders, or justify an ideology, Bachrach and Berg compare the decisions about Chicago's governance and finances with choices made in fourteen other large U.S. cities. The problems that seem unique to Chicago have been encountered elsewhere, and Chicagoans can learn from the successful solutions other cities have embraced. A future filled with demographic, technological, and economic change requires a government capable of responding and adapting. Reforms can transform the city. The prescriptions for change provided in this book point toward a hopeful future: the New Chicago Way"--Back cover.
Preface: The field Introduction: The cost of one-man rule Cutting the mayor down to size Discouraging democracy Governing the schools and the city Chicago's fiscal ruin Pension apocalypse now, not later Overdue oversight and the reality of corruption Public support for private enterprise at the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Policing in Chicago Creations of the state The audacity of hope? Appendixes.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 235-260) and index.