This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT 1278 MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT
are large breweries of Bavarian beer, which produce yearly over 50,000,000 gallons. The chief trade is in grain, and in objects of art. The true history of modern Munich is the account of its growth as an art-center in the 19th century. Population 538,983. See Mrs. Howitt-Watts' Art-Student in Munich.
Municipal Government. A municipality is a corporation representing a certain local community and created for the purposes of local self-government. It has always been confined to communities that are thickly populated — towns or cities — where there are many interests common to the people living in the district which do not greatly concern people living elsewhere.
In America, the right of cities to home rule in all states except Michigan, apparently, depends upon the state constitution or upon the will of the legislature. There have been many instances of interference with the freedom of cities in local affairs, especially in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio. On the other hand, in the following states constitutional amendments have been adopted that provide that the city shall within wide limits determine for itself the nature of the charter that it shall have: Missouri, California, Washington, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon.
In types of municipal government there may be distinguished two extremes: the complicated department government, of which New York is the best illustration, and the simple government by a commission or small council exemplified in Galveston and Des Moines. The former is patterned rather after the English, the latter after the German model. The majority of our cities are nearer the former than the latter, and we may therefore give a brief description of the charter of the City of New York, so far as it deals with this subject. There are a legislature — the Board of Aldermen ; an executive ■—■ the mayor; and municipal courts. The first has some 90 members, elected every two years. No ordinance can be passed without its approval, and it can override the veto of the mayor by a three-fourths vote. It may decrease but not increase budgets. No franchise may be granted for more than 25 years, except in the case of tunnels, for which a franchise of 50 years may be granted. Limited renewals are permitted. Tunnels must pay 3% of their net profits to the city, after they have earned 5% for their owners. The mayor is elected for four years. He appoints the heads of the following departments : finance, law, police, water, gas and electricity, street-cleaning, bridges, parks, public charities, correction (prisons etc.), fire, docks and ferries, taxes and assessments, education, health and tenement-house departments.
He appoints all the members of the board of education. The controller (treasurer) is separately elected by the people, every four years. There is a board of estimate, consisting of the mayor, the controller, the president of the board of aldermen and the presidents of the five boroughs (Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Richmond), in which each member has from one to three votes according to his importance. This board submits its estimates to the board of aldermen. A peculiar feature is the division of the city into boroughs, after the London model, each borough having a president and also departments that deal with streets, buildings, sewers and bridges. The presidents are elected. Another remarkable feature is the art-commission, consisting of the mayor, the presidents of the Metro-
folitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn nstitute of Arts and Science (two private institutions), the president of the N. Y. Public Library, a painter, a sculptor, an architect and three other citizens of New York, who have the power to prohibit the city coming into possession of any work of art (including bridges and buildings), which does not meet the approval of the commission. There are 46 local boards of education acting under the main board of 46 members. There are 25 municipal courts, of which those in Manhattan and Bronx are appointed by the mayor and the rest elected.
The committees that have taken charge of Galveston and Des Moines have produced results that have been eminently satisfactory thus far. But it is obvious that such government gives to the unscrupulous an opportunity to carry on for years without detection the robbery of the public. Among the best-governed cities of the country may be mentioned Cleveland, Detroit, Des Moines, Springfield, Mass., Boston and some smaller cities, especially in Massachusetts and the interior.
Among the measures advocated by the National Municipal League are the following : that municipal elections be held separately from state and national elections; that municipal officers be nominated by petition and not by primaries ; that a four-fifths vote of the council together with the approval of the mayor be necessary to the granting to any private party of the ownership of streets, bridges or other public places; that franchises may not be granted for more than 21 years; that self-supporting municipal enterprises, as car-lines, gasworks etc., may be engaged in to any extent; that the council and mayor be elected by the people, without provision for a separate municipal legislature; and that cities over 25,000 inhabitants may frame their own charters. These suggestions point towards municipal ownership of