Tucson, Arizona is engaged in a discussion about whether local elections, now partisan, should become non-partisan. So the question arises, do Republicans and Democrats differ at the local level? Yes, absolutely, said Tom Volgy, University of Arizona professor of political science and former Democrat mayor of Tucson. In a recent appearance on Arizona Illustrated Mr. Volgy used the example of garbage collection, which some say is a non-partisan activity.
Volgy said (as accurately as I can remember), “Democrats hire garbage men and pay them well. Republicans contract out the job and the contractors pay the minimum possible. So yes, there is certainly a partisan difference.” In essence, Volgy says Democrats regard garbage collection from the viewpoint of rewarding city workers. The Republicans (for shame) regard garbage collection as a service to be performed efficiently at lowest cost to the citizens. To my mind that’s about the clearest, most succinct summary of the difference in outlook between the two parties that I’ve ever heard.
Thank you Mr. Volgy for your insight.
P.S. The only thing I’d add is to question whether garbage collection should be a municipal service at all. A couple of decades ago I lived in San Francisco where fiercely competing private garbage collectors provided the best, most efficient and least costly collections I’ve ever seen. They’ve now gone over to a municipal service that stinks.