Michael Karlik has created a well-investigated, thoroughly-documented, articulately-reported podcast series on government dysfunction in North College Hill, Ohio. It centers on how a small group of disgruntled residents can negatively disrupt small town politics and government administration, complete with characters, personalities and pettiness.
Says Karlik in an interview with Route Fifty’s Kate Elizabeth Queram:
This is about a group of people who were dissatisfied with the way their local government was run. They wanted to change it, which is a natural impulse. They had very valid points of view about how poorly things were run. The problem was that their tactics were not as noble as their principles. They bumbled their way through a lot of things. They made people upset, they put the city in jeopardy, and they at times appeared to not know what they were doing. They talked a lot during the campaign but once they got into office it pretty much turned into a vengeful motivation and that’s what, I think, made it so hard and so personal. When you’re not passing legislation or acting on the policies you campaigned on, and you’re just focused on firing people or cutting salaries or or saying, “We won’t do anything until our demands are met”—a city government doesn’t work that way. Congress barely works that way. The story is kind of about what happens when Congress comes to small-town America.
Tear It Down will, or should, inspire you to get more active in local government politics or, at minimum, pay attention to who is leading and what is happening within your community.