New York City: Ruling Out The Board

Ruling Out The Board

Hard-pressed New Yorkers have long maintained that there ought to be a law against their local government. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the powerful eight-member board of estimate violates the constitutional principle of one person, one vote. The decision technically leaves the nation's largest city without a legally constituted government.

Wielding considerably more authority than the city council, the board votes on the budget and controls such matters as zoning, municipal contracts, and water and sewer rates. Three elected officials (the mayor, comptroller and city-council president) and the president of each of the city's five boroughs sit...

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