Let's face it; "government" is not always a positive word. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" is not exactly a compliment.
On the other hand, "necessary evil" is probably too strong of a negative term.
However it is viewed, government plays a vital role in our existence and even the most ardent anti-government zealots recognize the fundamental problems with anarchy and chaos.
So which form of government serves the people the best? ...which is most efficient? ...which provides us the best bang for the buck?
The United Nations?
The Federal Government in Washington?
State Government in Tallahassee?
...or local City governments?
I would argue, that the government closest to the people is the form of government the best serves the people and that means my City.
When you call 911...do you want it to go to Washington, D.C. or a local emergency operation center?
When you need an immediate response, would you rather petition your state government or talk to your local Mayor?
It seems to me that basic government services are best provided by local governments and we are often best served by local representatives...people we know, neighbors who send their kids to the same schools as our kids, who drive through our neighborhoods and eat at the same restaurants we do.
Of course, this is not to bash or disparage state or federal governments...they serve a vital role and usually do a great job of providing important services. But dollar-for-dollar and day-to-day, I'd put my money on my local City government to be most responsive, most efficient and most likely to have my interest at heart.
There's an old adage about a woman who attended a town hall meeting with her U.S. Congressman. When it was her turn to speak, she inquired about the road repairs taking place in her neighborhood. The Congressman listened to her concerns with practiced patience. When she was through, he responded, "Mrs. Johnson, I understand your concerns about the neighborhood, but I work in Washington...have you contacted the Mayor?"
"Oh no", she replied, "I didn't want to start to that high up."