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Hood School:
Based on previous articles and general feedback, Simmerville introduces the Hood School! This series is meant to inspire new and old hoods to plan and build their community structure, and you can use what ever part of it you like.

Here are the 5 chapters that will all be available during Spring and Summer, 2004

Chapter 1: Hood Council election
Chapter 2: Hood Finances
Chapter 3: Law and committees
Chapter 4: Communal builds
Chapter 5: Communication
Summer 2004 SUN will arrange a conference for Spokes Sims! There you will learn more and meet Spokes Sims from other hoods! Look for information posted on the SUN page.

Your local election
How do you elect the local Hood Council? Feel free to share your ideas and experiences here.
Please post here.
Only the first 10 comments will be put on this page.
June 12 2004, Jennifer Spears, ...
Our teens in our community like to take action and so I Jennifer Spears and the rest of our committee got together with the P&P R's or Pet and Parent Reps and we talked about what we could do to help our eager teens out. We came up with this solution we don't have that many intrest groups so we talked to the teens and deicded it offical! We had a teen action group and we called it TAG for short. TAG goes around and cleans our parks and walks dogs for free or a cookie if one is avaliable ha ha. They also stay by the council permission and parents to stay downtown and old town late to make sure no body is down there when they are not suppost to be. But in order to be in the TAG commitee you must put studies before buddies! And we made sure our teens do that.
June 10 2004, Brenda, ...
I see it fit that a person with a good intrest in parenting and has lots of exprience should be fit however we need more than just 2 people I am sorry to say. If people took as much time as they did in other options and put it into parenting we would have the best parents ever.
I am Henna Van Bestrum and I am a writer of Parents Issuses
Here is some helpful advice:

About infants
1. Never have a party while an infant is present. You may not have time to deal with the party and the infant.
2. Don't just attend to your infant while its crying play with it two or more times a day to build a stronger relationship later.
3.Be responsible, having an infant don't mean give up your life. Have a friend or other family  member watch the infant while you go out and have fun but do not over do it.
4. Infants are helpless and depend on you. Don't leave them alone.
5. figure out your infants eating schedule. It will make your life a whole lot easier.
6.make sure when you do leave your infant with another person make sure they are responsible. Someone that sleeps and eats all day will proably ignore your crying infant.
7. Get a job. You will have to if your a single parent. Because you can not get by on what you do now. You have another person to support.
8. Make sure your nursry is infant friendly

May 08 2004, Starr Grey, Greymount
In Greymount, elections were twice a year, now they were voted to be once a year and the hood is spilt into zones before each election period depending on number of familes, income, etc, usually bewteen 3-4 zones. The previous Hood Council and Spokessim recommends candidates, or canidates nominate themselves and once each zone has produced a canidate and then those with the best skills for the jobs needed: President, Financial Director, and Community Planning Director are chosen with a Parent's Rep and Pet's Rep.  We also call on special interests groups to help chose/alter laws [ie, those in the FAME career, etc]
May 08 2004, Richard,  Similton
In Similton (our neighbourhood is yet to recieve it's SUN-ID), we run things relatively similar to Simmerville. We recently held council elections and now have Spokes Sim, Abigail Goldsbourough; Finance Manager, Sebastian Goldsbourough; Workers Representative, Minax Pink and Culture and Style Representative, Cali Sampson. We plan to hold elections very often, perhaps every 3 months, so the people of Similton can have their say often. We have only held one meeting so far. Our neighbourhood is growing very quickly and we plan to add more positions as it continues to do so (the next position we add will probably be Families Representative).
May 02 2004, Betty Dinpostos, Mayor of Simland
In Simland we have a mayor who handles all political stuff and the council. The Spokes sim organizes events, and does the SUN work, the spokes sim works
under the mayor. Also the spokes sim runs the history library.
May 01 2004, Tish, ...
Our hood council elections coincide with the calendar year. Every December we elect 5 memebers to represent different areas of our hood. Unless a member steps down they remain in the council for the year and may run again if they choose. Every sim in the hood votes on who should fill the positions and the sim with the highest votes get it.
Apr 30 2004, René Swift, Goldberg Valley
Isn't one full year a very long time to wait? We want to replace the council more often, perhaps 3 times every year.

Hood School (1): Hood Council election
April 30, 2004 - by Juliana Valentino, Simmerville Spokes Sim

A new group of Sims will take care of Simmerville's community matters for the next 12 months. Learn how to run the Hood Council Election in your own hood! This article is the first of 5 articles in our new Hood School series.

A successful hood needs certain rules and routines. This is the basis of any community structure, and it would need a Hood Council to ensure those rules are obeyed, but also that the structure is benefiting the majority residing in hood. Your hood can either elect just one single Spokes Sim (mayor) or go for a full Hood Council counting several individuals.

Before you elect a Hood Council, you need to know how much and what kind of administration there will be and how many sims that need to get involved. If the hood counts only 10 households it might be enough to hire just one Spokes Sim, chosen by the residents. If the hood is expanded or involves a certain level of administration, then a Hood Council counting 3 to 5 members might be a better option. some might even require the Spokes Sim/Mayor to have a job in the Politics career.

This article will deal with the election of a 5 members Hood Council. We'll see how this is done in Simmerville, as of April 2004, and I suggest each hood to do their own adjustments of this routine to match their local needs.

Detect the interests and needs of your hood
When deciding the number of Hood Council members, you should first check what community matters would they be in charge of? Most hoods are different in terms of social status, economy, interests and jobs.

In your hood there might be a large group of sims with certain interests, i.e. superstars, children, old sims, pet owners, artists etc. Such groups should actually be reflected in the hood administration, and they might even deserve their own representative. In any hood there will be some conflicting interests between groups, and it's easier to solve such conflicts when the groups have their representatives.

A fair election routine ought to represent as many sides of the community as possible.

  • Interest groups

  • If half the residents work as musicians there should be at least one Hood Council member with an expressed interest in music.
  • Demography

  • Many teens in the hood would justify a teens' representative.
  • Geography

  • Make sure that the Hood Council represents several parts of the hood. A large hood can be split into several election zones. Simmerville has 3 such zones, given by the hoods history.
In Simmerville we have both a Parents' representative and a Pet Owners' representative. They made sure parents/children were happy, and that pet owners had enough parks to walk their pets. They also spoke up when the Hood Council introduced new taxes affecting these groups. In your hood there might be other groups, look around!

Hood Council members
Nobody would like a job that contains no agenda and absolutely no responsibility. When deciding the Hood Council positions, keep in mind that there must be ways they can actually achieve something. The more vague the agenda is, the harder it will be to do something that residents will recognize and applaud. Below are the 5 positions of the Simmerville Hood Council up for election April 2004:

  • Spokes Sim (chair, mayor)

  • Head of the Hood council, foreign affairs (includes downtown, Magic Town etc) and community planning at large. This member leads meetings and co-ordinates the work of the other councillors, always knowing what is in the works.
  • Finances

  • Head of the hood's economy including hood taxes. Local stores and businesses. Building restrictions and welfare services including general SimCity services.
  • Culture and sports

  • Secure the hood's past as well as future through cultural activities and recreation arenas.
  • Parents' representative

  • Ensuring family values and security, as well as a good environment for children. 
  • Pet Owners' representative

  • Ensure a good environment for pets, regular contact with the local Kennel Club.
Each position will require certain qualifications based on skills, personality and interests, see below. Locals who would like to get elected can read up on related subjects. Also note that these jobs will not suit all hoods, you should look for your own local combination.

If your hood is split into regional zones, you would need to assure there are representatives from all zones and avoid a zone to become over represented. It might take a couple tricky adjustments to make it all fit, but as long as all members qualified in the first candidate round it ought to be accepted to hire a runner up if he/she lives in a not yet represented election zone. In Simmerville each zone is allowed no more than 2 members.

How to run the election
In a modern democracy a Hood Council would be elected, but in most Sim hoods it would be more fair to pick the Hood Council members based on their skills, interests and how much they get involved in community matters (non household friends could be a good indicator, although you might disagree). You might prefer completely different indicators for your election.

When electing the Hood Council members you could start finding the residents who qualify on a general basis. This will allow you to narrow down the number of candidates, making the rest of the election process easier.

In Simmerville any candidate must have a political interest at 8 or higher, at least 2 non-household friends and at least 5 skill points (total). If these requirements result in too few candidates, adjust them and try again. Summing up political interest points, number of individual friends and skill marks will give each candidate a total score that you will need to rank them. In Simmerville this set of requirements gives 8 candidates. If you do the same, you should now have a rather limited list of candidates and you can begin to look for more specific qualifications for each position they should fill.

When counting points, it might be useful to use a diagram. Fill out the information and start by deciding the positions that are obvious. Below you see the results of the Simmerville election.
Spokes Sim Finance Culture Parents Pets
Clive Appleton 28 4 10 - -
Angela Gobelin 21 10 1 - 46
Marta T. Mervil 20 9 10 - 3
Steve Grumblin 35 2 7 - 48
Simbille Ballong 30 0 10 - -
Juliana Valentino 45 10 7 64 -2
BB Hanssen 38 4 6 84 23
Arthur F. Gamming 30 5 11 - -

The Spokes Sim is obvious, and so is the Parents Representative. Note that because they both live in the same zone of Simmerville, the 3rd candidate (Arthur Gamming) from that zone is excluded from the Hood Council.

  • Spokes Sim: The candidate with the highest total score.

  • This is probably the easiest pick. In Simmerville Juliana Valentino had a total of 45 points which is 7 more than the runner up.
  • Finance: The candidate with the highest economy interest.

  • Only 2 of the remaining 7 candidates do have a significant interest in money. Angela Gobelin would be the first choice, but the runner up, Marta T. Mervil, would be preferred if Mrs Gobelin is needed for any other position. 
  • Culture & Sports: The sim with the highest music+sports interest.

  • In Simmerville Arthur Gamming scores 11 points, but he is excluded because his zone has got 2 councillors already. So this position goes to one of the 3 runner ups that all are scoring 10 points. None of them has been chosen for other positions and it's difficult to choose either of them. At this point it's totally up to the hood to decide which criteria should count. In simmerville it counted that 2 of those 3 candidates represented zone A, which also has the higher population. Finally, Clive Appleton was chosen with Marta Mervil as the runner up, because of Mr Appleton's higher total score (28).
  • Parents rep.: The sim with best average relation to same household children.

  • The 2nd obvious candidate is BB Hanssen for Parents' Representative, because none of the other candidates (except the Spokes Sim) have got children.
  • Pet owner's rep.: The sim with best average relation to same household pets.

  • Steve Grumblin has the best (average) relation to an same household pet, 48 points. Angela Gobelin is the runner up with only 2 points less.
After the election
As soon as the Hood Council is elected, the Spokes Sim should be told to host a first meeting, which can be quite a challenge if they didn't already meet.

Also remember to inform all residents of who the new Hood Council members are. It might be a good idea to introduce them at a local community meeting. It will also be a good idea to let the old and new members over lap with a month. This depends on how many changes are caused by the election.

From now on these fine men and women will be your hood's voice, being heard in local debates or even on the SUN boards.

Congratulations! You just completed the first chapter of our Hood School! The next chapter will focus on the hood's finances.