Dynamism or Decay?
Getting City Hall Out of the Way

Sal Rodriguez
FreeCitiesBook2 DynamismorDecay Cover

Depending on what city you’re living in can make the difference between the success or failure of businesses and communities concludes a new book released today by the Free Cities Center at the nonpartisan, free-market think tank, the Pacific Research Institute.  The book shows that when city hall gets out of the way, California cities thrive, and prosperity returns to residents and businesses.

Download a copy of “Dynamism or Decay?” 

“From big businesses looking for an edge over competitors to unions looking to capitalize on government monopolies, it usually doesn’t take much for a city to head in the wrong direction,” writes Sal Rodriguez, PRI senior fellow, opinion editor for the Southern California News Group, and the book’s author. 

“What cities ought to do is establish basic, coherent rules, focus on their competencies, contract out services that can be done as well or better for lower costs than they can, and leave the rest to free people to sort out for themselves,” he argues.

In “Dynamism or Decay? Getting City Hall Out of the Way,” Rodriguez makes the case that rather than viewing business as a revenue generating opportunity for city hall, local governments should serve city residents and others. 

Noting that an ordinary person couldn’t distinguish between a government or private sector employee, he makes the case that even complicated public services can be outsourced to the private sector. 

He explores, for example, how several airports around the world have been privatized and how privatization could improve service and efficiency at LAX and other California airports.  

With so many of the nation’s firefighters being volunteers and a significant amount of  emergency medical services behind handled by private contractors, he says that cities should rethink the current costly fire department model dominated by the public sector.

He also explores how the city of Lakewood, California pioneered the notion of a contract city – one that contracts out for police protection, trash collection, fire services and nearly every municipal service.  By expanding the services contracted out, other cities may experience the same lower costs for services as Lakewood, while improving the delivery of services.

PRI’s Free Cities Center cultivates innovative ideas to improve urban life based around freedom and property rights – not government.  It regularly releases incisive reporting and analysis on crime, housing, education, homelessness, social mobility and other urban issues through commentaries, videos, and webinars.

The Pacific Research Institute ( champions freedom, opportunity, and personal responsibility by advancing free-market policy ideas.  Follow PRI on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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