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13 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Elite Theory
A theoretical perspective on local government that holds that a unitary power elite holds substantial control over policy making. Contrasted with the pluralist view of many diverse and narrow elites, each exercising limited influence.
Pluralist Theory
Also called interest group liberalism, the theory that many diverse groups make political demands and seek public policy benefits. Their interaction with policy makers secures some benefits for most groups over time, keeping diverse players in the game of democratic policies.
Regime Theory
A theoretical perspective on local politics that holds that fairly broad coalitions of interests gain control of local government and thereafter accommodate the interests of coalition members. An alternative to the more theoretically "pure" elite and pluralist views
Representative Democracy
Democratic government by popularly elected represetatives. Contrast with direct democracy by which citizens decide policy issues themselves.
Decision of a policy issue by direct popular vote. A means of decision making outside of the usual representative processes
A democratic deveice available in some states that enables citizens to place a matter on the legislative agenda or referendum ballot by securing a requisite number of signatures within a specified time frame. The initiative forces elected officials to deal with difficult issues.
Dillon's Rule
A principle in constitutional law that holds that a municipality has only those powers expressly delgated to it by state government. Gradually eroding as cities and counties are granted broad home-rule authority by the states.
Adding territory to a local government unit using policies established by the state government. Important to recapturing a fleeing tax base.
Council of Government. A volulntary association of local government units that works on common issues, services, and problems that spill from one unit to another across the metropolitan area. Federal funds have been allocated to support the development of COGs by tying the receipt of federal money to regional activities.
Land use plans
Narratives and maps that describe the current use of residential, commercial, and public property in a community. Enables local citizens and officials to plan compatible future land uses.
Building Codes
state or local regulations that prescribe the materials and processes required for residential and commercial construction. Adopted to enhance public safety, often from industry standards.
Housing Codes
Local regulations in some cities addressing the safe and sanitary maintenance of residences. In some larger cities, a method of addressing slum lords' neglect of rental property.
Eminent Domain
Power of government to seize private land for public purpose with fair compensation to the owner.