The pitfalls of local government--is it this bad all over the world?
I'll start off by being frank. The local government in my country is an absolute joke; the entire system is a semi-functional, corrupt and debt ridden mess, and I'm wondering, is there something in the local system or culture ruining things, or is this a more global issue?
Unlike the national elections, where people tend to have at least a passable grasp of the people involved and issues at hand, the local elections go by the public with complete apathy.
Local newspapers are relic of the past, and the more centralized modern media (mostly television and internet) simply aren't interested in every day local matters (for no fault of their own). Therefore, your average citizen hasn't a clue who's doing what in city hall, has no real knowledge of the candidates past their names (and sometimes not even that), and is accordingly apathetic. Its hard to keep up to date when the information isn't within easy reach.
Major cities whose leadership occasionally make the news, and settlements so small that everyone knows everyone don't suffer from this problem, but most municipalities are between those two extremes. Most people simply haven't got a clue what their local government is doing.
This of course leads to the whole thing working about as well as you expect. Local governing bodies tend to fall into debts, are more or less unaccountable for their failures, and are notoriously corrupt.
I'm honestly starting to think that the whole mess ought to be removed and replaced by civil servants. Those can be more easily held accountable for doing a poor job (especially plunging into debt), and are more easily removed if corruption is suspect.
Are things this bad with local government all over the world, or is just like this in my country? Is there a realistic fix, or would it just be better to uproot the whole system and start over with something perhaps a little less democratic?