Most of us don’t know much about local governments. We know less about special districts. Special district advocates hail special districts as the best examples of small-town democracy. Their critics say that special districts make local government too complex. What’s So Special About Special Districts? untangles the basic facts about this least known segment of local government.
Most Californians don’t understand special districts. Most of us don’t know:
- How many exist (about 3,300).
- What they do (services from A to Z — from airports to zoos).
- Who runs them (maybe your next-door neighbor).
- Or even what they spend on local services (about $38 billion a year).
Celebrated as the best example of democracy, cursed as the worst form of fragmented government, and generally misunderstood even by the experts, special districts are California’s unique contribution to local government. The question remains: What’s so special about special districts? The citizen’s guide below provides the answer: focused service.
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What’s So Special About Special Districts?