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Home of the Fighting Llamas

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May 6, 2013

To the citizens of Simsville, in response to our "win" in the Worst City in America poll

The tallest windmill kills the most birds.

That’s an expression I frequently use when asked to defend Simsville place amongst America's most successful cities. And it comes to mind again this week as we get deeper into the brackets of an annual Web poll to name the “Worst City in America.”

This is the same poll that last year judged us as worse than cities that have more serial killers per capita than honor students, cities that consists of nothing more than blocks after blocks of low wealth buildings, cities that don't even have industry. The complaints against us last year were our support of inhumane treatment of llamas (not true), and that our city was somehow responsible for ruining the ending to Mass Effect 3 (only partially true).

This year’s contest started in March with Simsville outpolling a city whose greatest export is crime, and (gulp) allegedly responsible for Simsville's recent crime wave. Their city emblem is an Internet friendly cute kitten, ours is a smelly llama. So no surprise that we drew more votes there.

Let me cut to the chase: it appears Simsville has “won.” Like the Yankees, Lakers and EA, Simsville is one of those organizations that is defined by both a legacy of success, and a legion of critics (especially me regarding all three of those organisations).

Are we really the “Worst City in America?” I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include unexplained sewer shut downs, bridges that didn’t meet the other side of the river, missteps on new tax models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of the Simsville Streetcar system. We owe our citizens better performance than this.

Some of these complaints are 100 percent legitimate – like all large organisations we are not perfect. But others just don’t hold water:

  • Many continue to claim the Always-On street light system in SimCity is a waste of money. It's not. People still want to argue about it. We can’t be any clearer – it’s not. Period.
  • Some claim there’s no room for a streetcar system as a competitor to buses. 19,000 confirmed passengers are proving that wrong.
  • We’ve seen mailing lists that direct people to vote for Simsville because they disagree with the winner of Simsville's Best Looking Llama of the year award. Yes, really ...
  • In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting against Simsville for allowing our LGBT citizens to own more than two cheetahs as pets. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT/llama policy by voting Simsville the Worst City in America.
  • That last one is particularly telling. If that’s what makes us the worst city, bring it on. Because we're not caving on that.

We are committed to fixing our mistakes. Over the last three weeks, 90,000 Simsvillians took us up on a free turtle offer for their troubles. We owed them that. We’re constantly listening to feedback from our citizens, through our Residents Complaints hotline, Twitter, this journal, or other sites. The feedback is vital, and impacts the decisions we make.

I expect the debate will include a lot of comments under this post. But here’s the truth: each year Simsville interacts with more than 35 million residents and non-residents; Our city is breaking records for revenue and new citizens; The Simsville City mobile app, Simsvigram, is at the top of the (local) app sale charts; Our streetcar system and tourist attractions are stunning achievements with millions of visitors every year; and the Simsville Facebook build your own city social game, SimCity, is being enjoyed by millions of passionate fans all over the world.

Every day, thousands of people across the country visit and love our city - literally, thousands more than will vote in this contest.

So here’s my response to this poll: We can do better. We will do better. But I am damn proud of this city, the people from around the region that work at city hall, the success we create and the people that get to enjoy them.

The tallest windmill kills the most birds. At Simsville we remain proud and unbowed.

I leave you with a response to an even earlier criticism aimed at our "Simsville 2.0" plan. The Simsville Bugle mocked our forward looking vision of the city as "drastic" and "controversial", but the proof is in the pudding. Our plans have succeeded in improving the city's traffic problems, improved the city's ability to support more population, and fixed many issues that citizens have been struggling with.

So far from the disaster that The Simsville Bugle tried to paint, Simsville 2.0 is a huge success. And I leave you with before and after photos of how the new Simsville compares to the old. A picture tells a thousand words, and we'll let these pictures tell them to you.


Before "Simsville 2.0"


After "Simsville 2.0"


Night of the Living Damned: Zombies Invade Simsville


In exclusive photos obtained by The Bugle, it appears that the walking dead are indeed walking the streets of Simsville.

A series of photos taken by a reader of The Bugle, who wishes to remain anonymous, shows police battling the undead on the streets of Simsville. The incident happened on the night of the 26th, and coincides with reports by other readers of a gunfight near the location where these photos were taken.

Read More ...


In this second and final edition of our historical series, we examine the period from 1925 to the present. The following features excerpts from the historical text, 'Simsville: From Sinsville to Metropolis', by Pulitzer nominated author and Simsville residence, Brandon Zeltzer.


The 1920's was the Golden Age of Simsville. It was during this time the city builts its first sewerage system, first factories, and the first newspaper, The Simsville Bugle.

Affectionately known as The Bugle by Simsvillians, the meteoric rise of the newspaper closely followed the meteoric rise of the city itself, by that time, it was one of the most prosperous cities in North America. The Bugle's reputation as a leading news source extended not only within the city and the Whitewater Valley region itself, but beyond.

But when the Great Depression arrived, all that Simsville achieved in the preceding 20 years or so was wiped out almost instantly.

First to go was industry. Overnight, the factories that had been at the center of the Simsville economic miracle shut down and closed their doors. Manufactured materials, everything from alloys to metals, sat in trade depots with no global market for these goods.


Trade depot with unsold stockpiled goods, circa 1932

People lost their livelihoods overnight. Unemployment was at 45%. Poverty was everywhere.


In this photo from 1933, a previously leafy and well-to-do suburb of Simsville turns into a deserted wasteland


A prosperous metropolis turned into a crime ridden urban nightmare almost overnight. Photo circa 1933

How Simsville dealt with this economic armageddon would unfortunately define the city, and its citizens, for decades to come, in what many consider the most shameful period of Simsville's history.

First was the Llama massacre of 1934. When city officials were slow to respond to food shortages during the peak of the Great Depression, the starving citizens of Simsville took it upon themselves to solve this crisis. The internationally respected Simsville Zoo, home to the world's largest herd of captivity bred llama, was broken into, and in what could only be described as a massacre, not a single llama survived the ensuing slaughter as hungry citizens killed and barbecued indiscriminately.

One resident of neighboring Elm Grove wrote in his diary on that fateful day in 1934: "The smell lofting over from the broken wasteland that is Simsville was unbearable. You could not go outside and come inside without smelling of roast llama. A smell that brings the most ghastly images imaginable, yet surprising salivating at the same time."

The decline of Simsville became an incubator for something even more shameful. When Adam "Benito" Whitcliff rose to the position of mayor in 1935, it would herald in one of the most shameful periods in Simsville's then short history.

Whitcliff, an admirer of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, would lead the city for the next 8 years under the guiding principles of his fascist idols in Europe, including Mussolini and Hitler. Bringing order to chaos, the citizens of Simsville embraced Whitcliff and his discriminating policies. The Simsville Bugle, once held in the same esteem as The New York Times or The Washington Post, published shameful editorial after editorial praising Whitcliff and his views, to the dismay of most ordinary Americans. The paper has never recovered from this disastrous period in its otherwise illustrious history.


A shameful headline from the June 6 1935 edition of The Simsville Bugle, ironically exactly 9 years before American troops made that fateful landing in Normandy, France

Ignorance became the catchphrase of Simsville. When the mayor commissioned local builders to recreate the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa with the city, a series of photographic mistakes led to the building of a non-leaning version of the tower. Only shoddy construction and poor engineering eventually led the tower to lean in the right direction.


This present day photo shows the infamous Leaning Tower of Simsville

Even the declaration of war against Hitler's Germany didn't change mayor Whitcliff's politics, but by then, the citizens of Simsville had had enough. Whitcliff lost to challenger Gregory Lehane in the 1943 election by a historic margin of 92% to 6%.

The damage had been done though, and at the war's end, Simsville had become the butt of a many jokes. One U.S. senator even jokingly putting forth a motion in the senate to declare Simsville enemy territory, and hence subject to war reparations payments.

But like the defeated nations of Germany and Japan, Simsville refocused the ignominy of "defeat" into productivity and rebuilding. The second Golden Age of Simsville had begun, and the city flourished again.

The city stayed out of the headlines, quietly rebuilding its industry, taking advantage of the consumer electronic and computing revolutions of the 80's and 90's. Even The Bugle's reputation recovered somewhat.


Simsville is now a center of consumer electronic manufacturing and export

Presently under the steady leadership of mayor Peter Less, the city has undergone major transformations in the last decade. The city continues on its journey to reach its full potential, and regain its reputation as one of the premier metropolises of the world.


A metropolis once again - Simsville in 2013


A new sun rises in Simsville


Below is an excerpt from the historical text, 'Simsville: From Sinsville to Metropolis', by Pulitzer nominated author and Simsville residence, Brandon Zeltzer.


The Beginning:

The town of Simsville was founded in the year of our lord 1885 by Barnaby Sims. Sims, an self-made millionaire who "made" his fortune in the infamous Whitewater Valley gold rush of the 1870's. The gold rush was made infamous by the fact that the existence of gold in Whitewater Valley was then, and remains today, a rumor - not an ounce of gold has been extracted from the mountains and streams of Whitewater Valley. Financial historian Albert Wonnacott explains: "This was one of history's first recorded 'Ponzi Schemes', and the reason why the phrase 'Whitewater Miracle' is still often used as a less disparaging name for a 'Ponzi Scheme'."

Barnaby Sims, by all accounts one of the key perpetrators of the scam, was never prosecuted. And in his efforts to escape censure, he founded Simsville, a town that he could be the law and justice, where he would find relative safety.


Water Towers: one of the oldest surviving photographs from Simsville's early days, circa 1895

While the gold rush turned out to less then real, what did become a real rush in the late 1880's was the discovery of coal in the mountains of Whitewater Valley. Simsville's purpose, as a kingdom for self proclaimed ruler Sims, changed to accommodate the swarms of miners that flocked to Whitewater Valley.

Prostitution and gambling ran riot. The town sheriff Elijah Sims, the nephew of Barnaby, chose to turn a blind eye to the town's corruptible influences. Allegations have always surrounded Elijah's involvement in the illegal gambling and prostitution rings, some even say he was the mastermind behind it all.

For a while, Simsville was widely known in the region as 'Sinsville'.

The Reformation:

When the coal rush ended at the turn of the century, the once prosperous and sinful Simsville turned into a ghost town. And when Barnaby Sims died in the influenza epidemic of 1905, the town needed a new direction.

And that new direction was offered by the grandson of Barnaby, Bryce. Bryce Sims, a graduate of the University of Whitewater, had a deep desire to reform not only Simsville but of the Sims family name, by then synonymous with corruption.

It was a period of major advancement for Simsville. The construction of the town's first schools, first clinic, and the famous town hall that now stands proudly in the town center, all occurred during the reign of Bryce Sims.


Historical photograph of the Simsville Town Hall, circa 1925

It was during this time that Simsville ceased to become a town, and became a city proper. Instead of prostitutes and illegal gambling earnings being the city's biggest imports and exports, factories were built producing an assortment of freight. Soon, Simsville became Whitewater Valley's main port of trade.


Simsville Port, circa 1924

And the city's growing citizenry acknowledged Bryce's contributions and by rewarding him with a tax-funds built house, now known in the city as Bryce Manor.


Bryce Manor, circa 1920

Other well known architecture from the time includes the Art Deco style Mountaintop Hall, built originally to house the city's mentally ill, later re-purposed as a sports and entertainment venue, and now the home of eccentric billionaire Bruce Wane.


Mountaintop Hall, built in 1922. This photo was taken in 1958.

But all was to change when the Great Depression hit Simsville ...


Join us again in part 2 of our series on the history of Simsville: The Great Depression, The Shame of WWII, and The New Boom period of the 1960's to present.


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