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About this City Journal

Our gide to a diverse, thriving, and growing region...

Entries in this City Journal

Simoleman

(Editor's Note #1: This one is for the lone poll respondent among you who answered our first pre-election poll. I thought about it later and wondered, why take the poll if I'm not going to listen to ya? So this one's for you! Now I'll slow the game down and leave these politicos in power for a while.)

(Editor's Note #2: This probably will be our last post until I learn the next "baby step" in how to do this better from a technical standpoint. :) )

From the Worthington Post...

JANNER, INTEGRA WIN SQUEAKER IN YORK

Worthington, November 8 -- Sen. Jon Janner (Int) won election to the regional governorship this week by 2 electoral votes (87-85) over incumbent Gilbert Girrard (YF) while Integra-backed candidates gained the smallest of legislative majorities in the first region-wide elections since the Bavaria War.

Janner, a former publishing executive and inclumbent volksman from North Burlington, captured 50.5 percent of the popular vote to 47.6 percent for Girrard, with the remaining 1.9 percent split between several write-in candidates. Integra also made gains in the Volkshaus, where it now enjoys a 59-58 majority. Although several Senate seats changed hands, that body remains divided down the middle, 27-27. Election experts say Integra's victory in such a close race was remarkable, especially given that voters in the four towns chartered over the last five years voted solidly YorkFirst, given that those towns owed their existence to the party's expansion agenda. All eight incoming senators and four volksmen from these towns will be YorkFirsters.

Reasons for the Change

Pollsters cite several reasons for the power shift. First and foremost, opposition to various planks of the YorkFirst Platform published over the summer was widespread. Though many YF candidates distanced themselves from the manifesto, Integra made opposition to it a centerpiece of is campaign. The platform called for every city with a population of more than 10,000 to come under a regional Clean Air Act, build a water treatment facilities, and maintain at least two public schools (one elementary, one secondary). Those proposals played to mixed reviews. It was YF's call for a 0.1 percent regional income tax to fund development that engendered the heaviest opposition.

Integra also scored points by maintaining that Girrard and YF botched things in Bavaria, removing some of the sheen from Girrard's national image as the guy who finally did something about the neo-Nazis in York's midst. Said political analyst Henry Sabato, "There's a feeling that if the region was going to come down on Bavaria in the first place, it needed to do so firmly and forcefully from the outset, not let things drag on and spiral out of control."

Key to Integra's victory was the campaign itself. Integra and its allies outspent YF by at least 3-to-1 and ran a campaign operation that was clearly superior. Integra's radio and TV ad buys, mailings, and internet communications were often tailored to local issues, and its get-out-the-vote operation was the most extensive York has yet seen. Perhaps Integra's most vital decision was choosing a candidate for governor from a big city where YF won by a thin margin the last time around. Said Sabato, "I think it's safe to say that had Janner not been from Burlington, its 15 electoral votes would've been in the other guy's column."

Pictured: Bavaria after the war, as reconstruction begins.

blogentry-432625-0-08141200-1321189540_t

Simoleman

From the Worthington Post...

From the beginning, Bavaria was, well, different. It was something widely known but largely ignored and little discussed in polite conversation. To put it bluntly, the city's founders and subsequent leaders held a certain fondess for things Third Reich, and it became a haven for those of like mind.

There were no plans to take over the world, of course. No Auschwitzes or Buchenwalds. But there was a fondess for Nazi-style pomp and pagaentry. Even the city flag, with its black-and-white seal on red background, was an unmistakable knockoff of the swastika. And there were countless instances of pro-Ayrian, pro-Anglo-Saxon, anti-everything else discrimination. It seemed no senior government post was held by anyone not ethnically German (or sometimes English). Reports of police mistreatment of "the wrong kind" abounded. The Government meticulously cared for some neighborhoods and neglected others. Its leaders lived and worked in by far the most opulent buildings in York.

Occasionally, the regional government would look into matters in Bavaria. And then, for the most part, it would look the other way.

But that changed when Governor Girrard and his YorkFirst allies took office. They told Bavaria it must change. Bavaria refused, and took its case to court. Bavaria lost. Then the city petitioned the courts for independent region status (the neighboring town of Eidelweiss filed an amicus brief on Bavaria's behalf, and likely would have joined the new region). The courts said the decision was up to Simolay. Simolay said it was up to York.

And York, in the person of Governor Girrard, said no. He sent in the police. Bavaria resisted. He sent in more police. Bavaria continued to resist. Finally, a Regional Guard unit was dispatched to seize control of the local government. And that is when the violence that can best be described as a war broke out. The Bavarians had managed to secure senior positons at the city's army and missile bases, and they commandeered those bases in service of their cause.

It took several months to end the insurrection. The devastation seen in Bavaria and next-door Wellington was massive. It is not yet known how many died, but several thousand lost their lives. Bavaria, once home to 43,000, now has but 3,000 residents and is $150 million in debt. Wellington lost roughly one quarter of its 12,000 residents, but the damage done by the Bavarians' scorched-earth attacks left that city in even worse shape.

Today, as reconstruction continues, Bavaria is governed by the Regional Guard. And the citizens of heretofore peaceful and prosperous York are left to wonder how things could have gone so wrong.

PICTURED: Bavaria before the war. To the west, the wealthier neighborhoods and well-appointed government buildings, including the Mayor Gerhard Schroeder's mansion to the north. (Post-war photos soon to be released.)

Simoleman

Morgantown (population 35,000) was chartered in the same year as Enterprise, and that is about all it has in common with its neighbor. From the outset, Morgantown has been an experiment in social welfareism. And it appears the experiment has succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. First-rate healthcare, educational institutions, and amenities abound. The RPT (Rosa Parks Transit) buses people around the city smoothly -- and profitably. Even the long dormant Arlo Guthrie Train Station is coming back to life. Recent polls indicate virtually universal satisfaction with life in Morgantown.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Morgantown is its economic success. A recent survey showed the city's mix of business and industry has produced an overall GDP ($2 billion annually) roughly one fourth that of big business Enterprise, despite being only one-fifth the size.

And a funny thing happened along the way. In the beginning, Morgantown had the most steeply progressive tax rates in York -- 6% for low-wealth residents, 9% for medium-wealth, and 12% for the wealthiest. As a result, virtually no one with an income greater than $80,000 a year lived within the city limits. But over the years, Morgantown has become such a profitable operation that it has initiatted round after round of tax cuts. Today, the low-income personal tax rate is a miniscule 0.1%. The middle-income rate is 7.1%. And wealthier folks have begun moving into Morgantown as the top rate has come down to 8.1%. Says economist Irving Kanter, "The fact that the rich pay ten percent less in local taxes here in a self-described social welfare state than they would in most of Simolay is pretty amazing." He added, "And even with these tax cuts, Morgantown is still running an $80 million a year surplus." Indeed, Morgantown maintains a massive "rainy day fund" of $5.5 billion.

Pictured: The People's Cathedral and surrounds. Morgantown has capped growth in favor of preserving much green space. City leaders plan a massive tree-planting effort over the next few years.

Simoleman

Today, we profile Enterprise, a teeming city of 170,000 in South York.

Noplace in the region is more dedicated to free enterprise and miminalist government. The commercial tax rate is 2%. The residential tax is 6%, a third lower than the Simolay average.

There are no public schools in Enterprise, and the only reason there is a hospital is because Simolay Protectorate requires public administration of healthcare facilities. There are no parks, plazas, or other government-run public amenities. No other city with a population greater than 10,000 is without a public transportation system.

And yet...it works. Economists say that if tax rates are low enough, a city will grow almost no matter what.

As one might expect, there is great diversity of incomes in Enterprise. The super-rich live side-by-side the very poor, as you can see from the screenshot. The photo shows what is called "The Burg," rows of low-income housing. To the north and northwest, you see the highrises of the well-to-do.

**

Next Up: Morgantown, the city next door, which operates under an entirely different philosophy....

Simoleman

Hi. "Newbie" Simoleman here.

Before I get to the first in my "city profile" series, some techie stuff. I've downloaded the transporation NAM, and it's great stuff. I like the roundabouts, even though whenever I'm in one in real life, my blood pressure goes up because I keep thinking someone's gonna slam into me. And I LOVE the left-turn lanes. Not only do they make things look more realistic, they work! My thanks to the geniuses who come up with this stuff and are able to add it to an existing game. Long live Sim 4-plus!

The next thing I'd like to learn (think Bill Murray in What About Bob. "Baby steps, baby steps...") is now to post screenshots w/out the toolbar stuff at the bottom, and how to make them appear as something other than "thumbnails," and how to insert written commentary to go with the shot. So... if someone would be so kind as to help a tech-impaired regional governor, I would give you the ceremonial keys to the city (28 cities now, actually) and name a thoroughfare or monument after you!

Oh, by the way, I love what I see and read on this site. I'm as interested in how a city functions for the people in it as I am in its design -- okay, more interested. Which is why I especially like the CJs that tell stories, most especially the somewhat realistic ones. (By the way, what happened to Bergerland? Military coup??) So I'll continue to read those CJs -- like Greekman's, for example. Amazin' stuff.

Okay, profile time....

GLAESER -- CENTRAL PARK CONCEPT, SORT OF

I named the city after Edward Glaeser, author of the book Triumph of the City. It's a great read, probalby especially enjoyable for anyone who plays Sim.

I wanted a Central Park area, but I also wanted to put public facilities in there because they serve the public more efficiently when centrally located. Then I zoned a ring of dense residential/commercial around that, a ring of medium density around that, and low density around that -- more or less. I worried traffic might be a problem, but it hasn't been. (An aside: I get a kick out of the traffic message that says "a chaos of cars." Hey, that's a normal commute here in Washington, DC.)

I also mitigated pollution effects by walling off industry behind lots of trees, while keeping it close enough to the city center to avoid horrible commute times.

The city is a smashing success, growing to 95,000 people in about 50 years, which for me is lightspeed. Hopefully, the "thumbmail" picture gives you an idea of what I was up to with the Central Park concept.

Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Sincerely,

Simoleman

Regional Government of York

Simoleman

GIRRARD ELECTED GOVERNOR AS YORKFIRST SCORES DECISIVE VICTORY

Worthington Mayor Wins 97 Electoral Votes to Iskoff''s 58; YorkFirst-Backed Candidates Win Majority Of Legislative Races

Worthington, 8 p.m. EST -- Worthingon Mayor Gilbert Girrard was elected Governor of York today, culminating a campaign season dominated by major party politics for the first time in the region's history. Integra candidate Hale Iskoff,a former two-term mayor of Liberty, conceded in a brief but reportedly friendly telephone call shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m.

Though each of the major party candidates won majorities in 12 localities, Girrard captured 97 electoral votes to Iskoff's 58, winning in seven of the region's 10 largest cities. The popular vote totals were much closer, however, with less than five percentage points separating the totals in more than half of York's cities and towns. Girrard took 50.1 percent of the popular vote to 48.2 percent for Iskoff and 1.7 percent for several write-in candidates.

In Vokskhaus races, YorkFirst candiates or those endorsed by YorkFirst were elected to 66 seats in the 106-seat body. But the Senate races split exactly down the middle, with 24 seats each for YorkFirst and Integra. The makeup of the Senate seems likely to be a powerful check on the YorkFirst agenda.

Today's election made for some strange political bedfellows. The self-proclaimed social welfare states of Morgantown and Prole joined the minimalist government cities of Liberty and Enterprise in voting for Iskoff and Integra, united in their concern that a more activist and foreceful regional government might infringe on their governments' prerogatives. In his victory speech to approximatley 3,000 supporters at Worthington's Zollman Pavillion, Girrard sought to allay those fears. "To those who look on our victory with trepidation," Girrard said, "let me reassure you tonight that we have no intention of breaching your integrity or forcing you into some cookie-cutter mold of what we think a city should be. Our diversity is our strength, and we will not run roughshod over you as we seek to build a bigger, better York."

For his part, in a concession speech at the Liberty Statue in the heart of his hometown, Iskoff promised "cooperation and compromise." Harking back to the controversy which gave rise to his party, however, the Integra candidate added, "But when arrogance leads to such unnecessary, wasteful, and devastatingly disruptive proposals as the capital beltway boondoggle, there will be no compromise. We will fight such stupidity with every weapon we have at our disposal."

PICTURE: Uptown Burlington, shortly after polls closed. In a close race, the region's most densely populated city provided 15 electoral votes for Girrard and YorkFirst. Exit polling showed voters in Burlington and elsewhere were as likely to make their choices based on such issues as education and healthcare as they were on the galvanizing issue of the campaign, integrated regional development.

Simoleman

ELECTION DAY IN YORK: HOW WILL YOU VOTE?

From The Worthington Post

It being the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, this is Election Day in York Region. (Pictured: The Conagra Firehouse, one of 106 polling places.)

Elections are usually relatively placid affairs in York, and what controversial issues there might be are normally localized. The Regional Government traditionally has exercised little control over its independent-minded cities. What political parties there are have been relatively small and ever-changing. Lawmakers generally organize themselves in coalitions based on issues of the day rather than party or faction.

But over the last decade or so, that has begun to change. There is a growing debate over whether there should be a more organized, centrally-controlled regional approach to development, particularly as regards transportation infrastructure. YorkFirst says yes, claiming such an approach will result in a stronger economy and more efficient transportation flow. Integra says no, that the economy is doing quite well as it is and that the independence of York’s localities should be preserved.

The parties also differ on other issues, with YorkFirst espousing a philosophy somewhat comparable to that of America’s liberal Democrats and Integra that of America’s conservative Republicans.

The governorship and all regional legislative seats, as well as most mayorships and city/town council seats, are up for election today. Public opinion polls indicate a close race between Gilbert Girrard (YorkFirst) and Hale Iskoff (Integra) for the governorship.

Electoral Process: With each locality having slightly different voter eligibility laws and procedures, York’s regional election system is based on the U.S. Electoral College approach. Each locality has 1 electoral vote for each of its representatives in the Volkshaus and 2 electoral votes for each of its 2 senators. Each locality is represented by 1 volksman for every 22,115 citizens, with 1 additional rep for every number of citizens between 22,115 and 44,230. (Thus, even the smallest towns are represented by 1 volksman.) The most populated city, Worthington (506,000), has 25 electoral votes. Several cities and towns have but 3 or 4.

STAY TUNED FOR THE ELECTION RESULTS… TO BE POSTED TOMORROW. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE!

Simoleman

Picture Update

We apologize for our inexperience in navigating the Simtropolis website. We'll learn eventually. In the meantime...

The screen shot/thumbnail pictures you see are of:

1) Sunrise over Landekopf, the first settlement in York. The historic Town Hall and Mayor's Residence are near the center of the picture.

2) The Capitol Building and Governor's Mansion in the heart of York, the regional capital city of Worthington. With more than 500,000 residents, the city is by far the largest in York. blogentry-432625-0-23628700-1320670413_t

Simoleman

WELCOME TO YORK... Something for everyone.

Welcome to York, a thriving and ever-expanding region on the Atlantic coast of Simolay Protectorate.

From the cultural attractions and skyscrapers of the regional capital of Worthington to the tree-lined streets and suburban homes of Waynewood to the forested Paradise Lodge Resort and farmhouses of rural Conagra, there is a place to visit or a place to live for everyone in York.

Since the founding of Landekopf by immigrants from the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany 500 years ago this week, York has grown into a region of 24 cities and towns that are home to 2.1 million people. Its diverse $100 billion-a-year economy boasts virtually full employment. Coolidge and Enterprise are home to some of the biggest businesses in Simolay; Burlington and Expindustria, some of the biggest industries. The U.S. fast food chain Arby's is headquartered here.

Physical fitness, sports, and the enjoyment of the outdoors make up a big part of life in York. Parks, pools, and athletic fields dot the landscape. And in this citizen's opinion, the crown jewel of our sporting life is Frank Howard Stadium, home to our Worthington Senators Baseball team.

In the coming days and weeks, you will hear from government officials, journalists, and others here about what we are up to in York. We hope you will enjoy reading about us. And remember, there is always a place for you in York.

Sincerely,

Oramas G. Whislow

Governor

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