Every time I mention a way in which the City and the county could cooperate, I get an In Box full of nervous phone messages from allies and friends in both the City and the county.
Their concerns seem to be about the same. Cooperation is only a step away from merger — and merger would inevitably mean changes in governance. My City friends worry that the larger and more homogenous population in the county would out-vote the gains we’ve made to empower and celebrate our diverse City population. My county friends worry that a municipality as large as the City would upset the delicate balance of power maintained among the county’s 90-something political subdivisions.
While I understand the worries, I believe that they are dwarfed by the realities. The county’s problems are exacerbated by its patchwork of municipalities. The City’s growth is constrained by the relatively anemic nature of its tax base. We’d all be better off in the same boat.
I don’t expect that we will be undertaking a voyage tomorrow. But, it is not too soon to start looking at the maps.