Municipal Government Unit

There are 5 divisions of local government in Iowa:  Counties  Municpalities  Townships and Towns  School Districts  Special Districts (Fire-Drainage District #13) Three characteristics of a local unit of government:

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 Must have corporate powers—i.e., right to sue or to be sued, right to make contracts, own property  Must have government character, i.e., elected officials or persons appointed by elected officials.  Right to tax o In Iowa, we have 99 counties, 955-936 municipalities Forms of City governments allowed by State of Iowa  Mayor-Council  Commission  Council–Manager–Ward  Council Manager-at large  Home Rule Charter  Special Charter In Iowa we have Home-Rule:  Local government may exercise any power and perform any function it deems appropriate to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and property of the city or its residents to improve and preserve the peace, safety, fhealth, and welfare of its residents. The city is limited by the constitution of Iowa and by state laws. Power is vested in the City Council to pass local ordinances, but:  Cities can’t lower state standards  May raise state standards unless prohibited by state law

 May levy only taxes allowed by law 2 .

Political Parties What is a Party?  Political Party: 8/28/2013 9:17:00 AM o A group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office.  Major Parties: o Republican and Democratic parties What do Parties do?     Essential to democratic government Vital link between the people and their government Bring conflicting groups together Nominating Candidates o Select candidates o Work to help their candidates win elections  Informing and Activating Supporters o Inform and inspire voters (Campaigning)     Campaign for candidates Take stands on issues Criticize the candidates and positions of their opponents Major Functions of Political Parties The Bonding Agent Function o Ensure good performance of its candidates and officeholders   Select people who are qualified and of good character Prompts successful candidates to perform well in office  Governing o Public officers are regularly chosen on the basis of party o Partisanship: the strong support of their party and its policy stands  Acting as a Watchdog 1 .

o Parties act as watchdogs over the conduct of the public’s business o Party out of power criticizes the policies and behaviors of the party in power 2 .

Communist History of Major Parties    George Washington was against parties Nothing mentioned about parties in Constitution Jefferson and John Adams worked to create the first modern party. Green. the democratic-republicans. which became the democratic party in 1828  1854-Republican party formed by former Whig party members and antislavery Democrats Party Eras  Era of the Democrats 1800-1860 o Led by Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson o Began to have trouble when the slavery issue arose  Era of the Republicans 1860-1932 o Led by Abe Lincoln and William McKinley o Began to have trouble during the Great Depression   The Return of the Democrats 1932-1968 o Led by FDR and JFK New Era o Began with Nixon 1 .8/28/2013 9:17:00 AM Two Party System    Historically and traditionally always two parties o Federalists and Anti-Federalists Election process works for a two aprty system o Must have a majority. only one winner Americans share many of the same beliefs and principles o So no need for wide range of opinions/options o Most are middle of the road  Today’s major Parties: Democrats and Republicans o Minor parties: Libertarian.

business people 2 . Republicans  Democrats o Liberal.o No one party to have control of presidency or congress for a significant amount of time o Divided government – executive and legislative branch of different parties Democrats vs. right o against government involvement and government programs o anti-abortion o in favor of a large military o GOP – Grand Old Party o Elephant o Typical members are upper class. left o For government involvement and more government programs o For women’s choice o Against large military o Donkey o Typical members are minorities. lower to middle class  Republicans o conservative.

other than the two current leading parties History of American Third Parties  No minor third party has ever come close 1 .8/28/2013 9:17:00 AM Third Party  Any political party organized in at least a few states.

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