They exist to govern a specific population with even more specific needs. Just as ASG shouldn't decide on international affairs before it addresses the woes of an inefficient shuttle system, Evanston shouldn't resolve its opinion on Iran until it resolves the lingering issues of Fountain Square and its pension fund deficiency. Evanston has too many pertinent issues for the council to spend time on resolutions that will end up null and void.
On the other hand, our neighbors to the south have credibility to propose similar resolutions. Currently, the Chicago City Council is debating a resolution to present to the U.S. government that would oppose a U.S. military attack on Iran. Five years ago, the Council voted 48-1 against the invasion of Iraq. The difference is that Chicago has the power to sway international opinion. As Professor Norma Moruzzi said at the council meeting on Tuesday, "I received an e-mail from Iran about the Chicago City Council hearings. This underlines the importance of this effort. People in Iran are watching."
Chicago, with its sizeable population, can also be influential at the national level. As the third-largest city in America, it has a good shot at turning heads in Washington. "Our role in a democracy is not to take the statements of our government or any government at face value," Ald. Joe Moore (49th) points out, "Our role is to challenge." Chicago is not alone in its decision. Cities like Los Angeles and New York have passed similar resolutions regarding issues in Iraq and Iran.
These major cities have a chance to influence ideas in Washington and abroad. Evanston, however, is a quaint community whose decisions have little bearing outside of city boundaries.