Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Akron Residency Requirement

I've been thinking about this week's ruling that a state law will overturn Akron's charter requirement that its workers live in the city. It's a complex issue. Does any government have the right to tell its workers where to live?
Should the state government interfere with local decisions that ultimately have no effect on the state's interests?

According to the ABJ report, Akron residents have consistently backed the charter mandate for city employees to reside within the city they work. The reasoning is that workers who live in the city will care more about the services they provide. Do we really want people making decisions about our daily business when those people jump into their SUVs and drive off to the suburbs? Looking at the result of this law -- is our city better for insisting that its employees live within its boundaries?

On the other hand, the city workers say they should have the right to live where they choose. Why should they be forced to live the urban life style and have to deal with all of the accompanying problems?

I don't know if there is a "right" ruling on this issue. Certainly I agree that people should live where they want. And yet -- and yet -- I am so disturbed by the suburban life-style and all its accompanying damaging effects upon the environment. The farms have vanished, replaced by hideous polluting agro-farms, and mini-mansions dot the country-side. Four door garages bespeak the enormous amounts of fuel burned by the suburban dwellers. Interspersed among the suburban enclaves are vast shopping meccas and further out, the landfills are the repositories of our extremely wasteful lifestyles.

One day, I'm quite sure, people will have far fewer choices about where they live. The limitations might be caused by lack of fuel for vehicles or to the toxicity of the land and air, not to mention the changing climate conditions.

If we all lived a bike ride away from our jobs maybe we'd be healthier along with our communities. I'd prefer to see that happen without making it a law, but then again -- I've always been an idealistic dreamer.


microdot said...

I rode my bike to work for 20 years in Manhattan! I rode my bike to work when I lived in Toledo. I'd ride my bike to work here, except that I'm sort of retired, so I just ride my bike!

Village Green said...

"Get on your bike and do what you like!"

-- Donovan, Open Road