Fit 1x03: Civic
In the glow of the pre-morning sky, I headed towards Celia's Taco Stand. It had been another restless night, which also meant that I had spent the latter part of the night in discomfort from hunger pains. Some breakfast would do me good.
I walked up to the counter. Celia had just finished opening up her stand. As usual, I was to be her first customer of the day.
"Good Morning, Celia." I mumbled my usual greeting.
"I'm not Celia, Mr. Mayor. I'm her daughter, Celia the Second."
I looked up and took a closer look at the woman behind the counter. Indeed, she looked quite similar to Celia, but there were some differences - her cheeks were more gaunt, the shape of her eyes somewhat off.
"Ah. I didn't know she had a daughter. How are you doing? Is Celia sick?"
"You could say that... she died yesterday. A severe imbalance of the humors, the doctor said."
"...Oh my. I am so sorry for your loss."
I could not help but feel sorry for Celia the Second, although I was unsure of what death really meant here. I still had not thought of a way to discover whether I was wandering around a video game or an alternate reality. But should it really matter if the sims are virtual or not? Death still robs others of those it takes.
Some other things nagged at the back of my mind. Celia was not very old, barely pushing 40. And she had died of an imbalance of the humors? Humorism had been discredited hundreds of years ago! Perhaps biology works differently here. Or perhaps the sims had somehow yet to progress in matters of science to understand germ theory and proper sanitation.
Or perhaps I might have neglected some things while building this city...
Back at my office, I checked my hunches.
Yes, it was indeed true. This village I had built had no medical services to speak of, to the point that the sims did not even register on the health data map!
And they were dumb as a doorknob as well! I did not earn a Bachelor's Degree just to let my sims lead unhealthy, uneducated lives. This could not stand!
Once again, the daily council meeting.
"...And so in conclusion, I state that the city must do more to diversify our commerce sector activity. Does New City truly need 10 different car dealerships? That is one for nearly every 200 citizens!"
"Thank you, Mr. Dunnerham," Neil said. "Now, is there any other business that needs to be brought before the council?"
I motioned for the floor. "Yes, I have a proposal I would like to share."
"Of course, Mayor Defacto. What will it be?" I had gotten somewhat used to having everyone look at me when I speak, but it still caused me some discomfort.
I cleared my throat and began to speak. "As it currently stands today, the citizens of our town live short, unfulfilling, and sickly lives, having no regular access to doctors, and no opportunity to advance from the economic position they were born into. It is my view that if this is to continue, this city will never rise to the greatness that it can achieve."
"It is with this in mind that I believe that this is the best time to open New City's very first schoolhouse and clinic. After some analysis of the city, I believe that the best place to place these buildings is at the northern end of the former site of Farhan's Local Strawberries. We can buy the lot and locate the buildings on the fields. The greenhouse can perhaps be converted into additional classrooms."
"I believe that this is an excellent plan, Mr. Mayor. If there are no more additions or changes to be made, we can put this plan up to vote."
The vote passed unanimously, as my suggestions always did.
By the next morning, the schoolhouse and clinic were open. In fact, I was not entirely sure that any construction had happened; it seemed they had simply appeared. But of course, this was what the game did. I began to write a note to myself to install the plugin allowing for civic construction, until I remembered that I did not have access to my plugins. This was becoming a bit of an annoying problem.
I also noted with satisfaction that some middle class homes had sprung up in response to the heightened desirability around these civic services. I spent a few minutes observing their construction, and then walked back to the village hall. As I walked in, the secretary sitting in the waiting area stood up.
"Ah, you're finally here Mr. Mayor. Your Finance Advisor wants to see you, and she seems quite agitated." The secretary had a slightly worried look on his face.
"Monique?" Oh dear. I don't remember her ever having anything good to say to me.
Sure enough, I found Monique in my office pacing around restlessly. When she saw me enter, she immediately began haranguing me.
"Mayor Defacto! What do you think you're doing spending all this money on services? Our budget just took a large hit, and if that keeps happening, we'll be bankrupt!"
"Yes, I understand that this is quite a bit more expenses per month, but we are still making near a thousand simoleans a month. In addition, I have adjusted the funding of these services to accommodate the growth that the council has forecasted we will have. We won't need to increase civic funding for a while."
"It would work a lot better if we didn't have to fund the school buses or ambulances." Monique said in a huff.
"That would cut into their effectiveness though."
"Plus," I added, "There was hardly a dent in our funds due to the construction and ongoing costs. We make enough money every month for it to be covered."
At this moment, the secretary came in accompanied by a woman with a bob cut. "Mr. Mayor, Bettina Dean has something urgent to report to you."
"Yes, what is it?" I did not quite recall meeting Bettina before, but she looked familiar.
"Mr. Mayor, there's been a strike. The hospital's been closed down." Ah, she was the Health and Educa...
Under the hot noontime sun, we observed the protest.
"You need to go talk to them, Defacto." Neil Fairbanks said flatly.
I eyed the protesters with caution. They looked quite energized and indignant. I really did not want to deal with this. "But, I'm not so good at negotiations or confrontations. I've never had to manage highly emotional and conflicting feelings before."
"You do quite well at the council meetings. Wouldn't you agree this is a similar situation? I'm sure their demands will be reasonable. Open a dialogue with them."
"All right, I'll give it a try..."
I approached the protestors with some trepidation. "Excuse me, what is this all about?"
A man in a doctor's coat turned to me. "Mr. Mayor! We demand that our funding levels be increased. There is too much demand for our services, our equipment is old and outdated, and most importantly, we are overworked!"
"But you've only been on the job for a day."
"That is more than enough to ascertain that these conditions are deplorable. There are far too many sickly people in this town who need care, and yet our current funding levels only allow for two fully qualified professionals: me and Doctor Jurcevic. We need more funding now!"
I checked with my tablet on their efficiency levels. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to set the funding to meet demand, and there were twice as many patients as they could handle. "Fine, very well," I said, "I will double your funding."
The doctor's seemed befuddled at the sudden acquiescence, but look gave way to a gratification. "Really? OK then. Let's get back to work everyone!"
I could almost feel the heat from Monique's fumings. "Are you absolutely sure this is a good idea, Mr. Mayor? You said we didn't need to raise funding for a while! This will be yet more expenses on our budget."
"I'm quite sure. Providing these services will help to attract more wealthy sims and better jobs into this city, further increasing our tax base."
"As you can see, the projected demand for higher paying jobs has already gone up, just from the placement of these civic buildings. To be sure, the demand is very slight, but I'm sure that as time passes, we will be able to build up a nice economic base from these beginnings."
"Besides," I added, "If we just let them continue striking, they'll probably move their activities over to city hall and cause disruptions there."
Seeing that my mind was completely made up, Monique gave up. "I hope you're right, Defacto. We'll be sunk otherwise."
Unfortunately, this day was not done yet. As we began to walk back to city hall, a cream-colored station wagon pulled up beside us. The driver rolled down the window to talk to us.
"Mr. Mayor? I'm from Foradect. The city council is having a meeting right now, and we need your input on some matters."
"Alright then. It's quite convenient that my advisors are here right now. Can you drive us there?"
I had missed my daily attempt at an afternoon nap. The car was not very comfortable, but all the same I began to feel the drowsiness that came whenever my sleep schedule was disturbed. In spite of the drowsiness, I still noticed that we'd passed the village hall. "Excuse me; I think you just missed the turn."
"We're going to the Foradect village hall."
Foradect has its own village hall? "What's wrong with the hall at White Tail?"
"White Tail's hall is too far from us. I'm sure you would agree that a council meeting should be held close to those who will be affected by the decisions it makes?"
He had a point. Still, I wished that we would get to the meeting quickly. Cars in this place seemed to move quite slowly. If I were sprinting, I could probably keep up with them.
Foradect's village hall was located just off of the road connecting the town to White Tail. As we got out of the vehicle, I noted that it was very similar in shape to White Tail's city hall. It was however set closer to the street, without any cottages at the front. We went into the meeting room, which only contained several people. A somewhat stout man sitting in the petitioning booth stood up.
"Greetings Mr. Mayor. My name is Jeff Lukesworth."
"It's nice to meet you Jeff, what's the meeting about?" I hoped the meeting would end soon. I was beginning to feel rather tired.
"Mayor Defacto, I have asked for this meeting because I had just discovered that New City has just built a schoolhouse for its children, but the colony has apparently decided to build it mostly for the service of White Tail, with little consideration for Foradect. Upon hearing this distressing inequality in service, I came over from supervising the construction of my pool to ask the council to take up the issue and avoid the shortchanging of the future of our village."
I tried to come up with a suitable response, but in my drowsy state my mind latched onto the wrong thing. "You have a pool?"
Jeff smiled. "Yes. If you want to use it, I live just down the road from this hall. You can't miss it; it's the largest house on the block."
I checked my tablet. It was indeed true. I'd already managed to attract high wealth sims into my city! Unfortunately, I also felt a bit intimidated. Would he pack up and skip town if this meeting went really poorly?
"It's rather late," I responded, "I think I'll pass for now. Please continue."
Jeff began again. "I chose to live in Foradect due to its quieter surroundings and great environs. However, it's come to my attention that White Tail has just gotten a new schoolhouse. But then this leaves Foradect a bit shafted, as the buses don't come all the way through this fine town of ours, and we don't have our own institution of education. Mr. Mayor, I am petitioning for Foradect to have its own schoolhouse to educate its children, so that they may keep up with their peers in the north."
"Don't take from this as an attempt to only increase my personal reputation, or to gain a benefit for myself only. I'm sure you realize that in fact my house is within the bussing limits of the current schoolhouse. I'm doing this for the people of Foradect. This institution will help to enhance the livelihood of our citizens and attract more talent here, which I'm sure is why the current schoolhouse was built."
"Your points are well made," I replied, trying to end the meeting quickly. "I guess I can build another schoo..." Monique cut me off.
"I'm very sorry Mr. Mayor, Mr. Lukesworth. The budget of this colony cannot sustain another school. Between the costs of transporting the children to school, the additional administrative costs, and so forth, we will be losing money as soon as this building is built."
"Well, that's a bit of a shame." Jeff replied. "But all the same, adding this school would help in the development of this colony."
At this point, Neil, who had been having a private conversation with Bettina, motioned for the floor. "Perhaps there can be an alternative solution?" Neil said. "Bettina, please explain your proposal."
"Well, libraries can also help in increasing the education of sims, not to the same extent as schools, but in the long run we will likely have the funds for them to complement each other. Thanks to lower staff and equipment requirements, they cost less than most educational buildings. There isn't a need for any sort of bussing, either." She gave a glance towards Monique, who after a moment gave a begrudging nod approving the idea.
Jeff gave the idea some thought. "...I suppose that will be acceptable, given the apparently dire financial straits of this colony. So, what shall it be Mr. Mayor?"
I was rather glad to see agreement come so quickly. "This proposal would work, I think. Let me see where we can put it..."
Using the education data overlay, I looked around the map for a suitable place for the library, one where the radii between it and the school overlapped least. My eyes caught a windbreak lining a farm at the southern end of town. "How about here?"
"Hm, this does seem like a decent spot. Perhaps a bit too far from the center of town, but then it'll be quiet there, a perfect place for reading. I can accept this proposal."
The council accepted the proposal, and the library was put up as the sun set. It indeed just popped up, or perhaps it was only my sleep deprived mind unable to fully comprehend my surroundings? At any rate, I could finally go home for a nap, maybe even sleep through the evening...
Click for large image.
After a nap, I woke up to find that night had fallen. Tired, but unable to fall back to sleep, I went out for a walk around town, observing the lights coming from the tenements that had come up after the school and hospital was built. Lost in thought, I began to wonder what the lives of the sims in this town was like. Were they happy? Was I being a good mayor to them? It seems that here, people always think that I do a good job, but perhaps I wasn't meeting those that didn't, or couldn't remember them. I was never quite good with names or faces.
It had been a long day. I went back to my home, showered, and went to bed. I slept fairly soundly.
I think I might have typed waayyy too much for this update, and the next few have even more pictures! Going to have to let the pictures do more of the talking...
hahei: Thanks for the compliment!
Schulmanator: They are indeed, but of course growth brings with it issues that need to be solved.