Mattress Village Board of Censors
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The Mattress Village Board of Censors, shorthanded as MVBC, is the unicameral, nonpartisan, and cash-strapped legislative and executive branch of Mattress Village. The MVBC is staffed by forty prominent "High Elders of Morality", usually called "Censors". Alongside these are the Mayor of Mattress Village, Chairman of the Cream Soda Destruction League, and the famed Censor for Life. Assembled, these forty three penguins cooperate with the citizenry through extensive referenda to govern the time capsule known as Mattress Village.
They also have a special committee in regards to gaming, which is a de facto national standard on any video game. Often confused as the MVBC itself, it is actually a youth council of chicks. Unoian chicks under the human equivalent of eighteen are appointed by the MVBC to play and rate every video game on the continent. Called the Mattress Village Board of Raters, this is regarded as the "youth wing" of the Board. Most Raters go on to be elected Censors.
The Board of Censors is one of the most secretive institutions in Antartcia. No creature is let in, and the Censors can not exit until the meeting ends without permission from the rest of the Board.
The Board is considered the face of Mattress Village, and it has renewed is once thawing, ever bitter rivalry with the City of Polaris, speaking strongly against them. Polaris has equally strong rebukes at the Board, ranging from its secrecy to its elaborate rituals and ceremonies, and most notably, its exclusion of females that didn't end until 2010, when the City Charter was amended, by supermajority referendum, to allow full equality of women in the Cream Soda Destruction League.
The Mattress Village Board of Censors was founded in 1951, at the same time that the Mattress Village City Charter was given royal assent by the King of the Ice Kingdom.
When it began, the Board was a novel idea in its time and actually championed as the future of small government. Newspapers of the time reported it and its structure with praise and excitement. The City of Polaris- still as conservative as Mattress Village in that day and age -documented the Board and "hoped to see it last as long as conservatism, common sense, and sanity exists in Polaris". Ironically, though, those who gave the speech were being ousted from their office at the end of that year because of the beginnings of a leftist uprising that began in 1945. Its Prohibtition was repealed the same year Mattress Village's began.
Its only purpose was to censor, hence the name. The original June 1951 Charter described the Board as the source of regulations. It placed Prohibition into the hands of the private sector. Apprehending criminals was solely a task of the citizens of the city, who rang bells to summon a mob to chase a witnessed criminal.
|“|| "All Regulatory Authority shall be vested in a Board of Censors, which will Protect the Masses from Aggression, Theft, Breach of Contract, Fraud, and Public Indecency, and shall also have the Authority to Purge Themselves of Members shown to act in Conduct Unbecoming a Morally Upstanding penguin.
Definition and regulation of Liquids Unholy shall be Excercised by a Chamber of Commerce, whose Membership shall consist of all Licensed Corporations in the City Limits, and who shall Rid the City of Violators by Revoking their Licenses.
Citizens who witness an Unlawful Act may, by Toll of Bell, call forth their fellow penguin and Apprehend the Violator who shall be Turned Over to the Lawful Sherrifs of the Crown. The Board shall not Establish a Police Force nor Executive Authority of Enforcing these Laws, but shall rely on the Knowledge and Insight of the Citizens it Governs.
— Original MV City Charter
However, this libertarian style of government, especially with its additional requirements to censor indecency and certain drinks, coupled with the literal ban of a police system outside of whatever Olde Antarctica had (remember that Mattress Village is over seventy miles from any major city) made the job impossible. The city was pretty much non-existant except by approval of ink on a paper.
A coalition claiming to be a grassroots organization demanded the Censors issue a Re-Charter Convention to rewrite the City Charter to allow for an "actual, efficient government". In November of 1951, the Board agreed to this without referendum. This was because, at the time, the city was so small that everyone in the city limits was a Censor.
This coalition, however, did not seem to be totally be Unoian in origin. Who convinced the Board and where they came from is unknown, but for all but two Censors to vote in favor of this, they must have been charismatic. Some suspect that relatives of TurtleShroom, either from his father's side or his elusive mother's side, saw a "dire need" to preserve their institutions of society "forever", arguing that a charter evoking that much libertarianism would lead to liberalism, which was something the Unoians actually chartered Mattress Village to protect themselves from.
Either way, in November 1951, the Censors convened behind closed doors in Oakey's Hotel. They emerged with a new Charter, approved unanimously by the Board, which granted them immense new powers and rewrote the city's governance into more functional one.
This time around, the Board of Censors was a legislature with the power to make law, and an executor of their own laws, removing the hue and cry provision that was in the Charter before and hypothetically authorizing a police force. (Hue and cry was maintained as a legitimate form of arrest, supplemented by deputization and posse comitatus.) Some of the other notable provisions included the expansion of what and how the Board could censor, the creation of a Mayor with the authority to break a tied Board, and the instatement of the Cream Soda Destruction League, a permanent group of volunteers dedicated to removing banned drinks. The drinks to be banned were specifically outlined in the Charter, "so that liberal carpetbaggers couldn't mess around with it" in the future.
The city was very pleased by the Charter, which was given royal assent on December of 1951.
From there, the Board has not changed its operations or methods of governing, but, since the 1990s, has used more and more referenda. Females were first allowed to vote in 1961, which was well behind the (ironic) Khanzeninian decree that all (Lesser) Penguins could vote in Khanzem's sham elections.
To this day, they still can't hold office in any government body, with the notable exception of the Cream Soda Destruction League, which is chaired by the fiery, radical Karen Country, who is both the tallest female Lesser to ever live and the first female in Unoian office. Nonetheless, she is still called the "Chairman", because "Chairperson" and "Chairpenguin" "sounds stupid".
The Mattress Village Board of Censors is unicameral, which means that it only has one house. Every Sunday at 11:00 AM, the Board is scheduled to convene and perform its legislative functions. No one is allowed to attend except for the Censors and any VIP guests called forth by a Censor or Censors.
The Board convenes in the Mattress Village Assembly Hall. It's a narrow, chapel-like building with a single aisle and two columns of pews where the censors sit. Censors seat themselves in these pews, two per pew, which face the end of the building, where the Mayor is seated in the center, the Censor for Life to his left and the CDSL Chairman to his right.
The Censors convene for the next ten hours. Any Censor that enters is usually forced to stay until the end, unless they have to relieve themselves, where they are permitted to go to the outhouse. (Scandals erupt from time to time when a Censor lies and uses the bathroom to exit a meeting. A fierce caning and a perpetual expulsion usually follows.)
Except for Prohibition, the MVBC wields all power in the city, provided the law they write is approved by the citizenry. Unless it contradicts the federal Constitution or state laws and/or court precedents, they, like all municipalities, are free to legislate as they wish.
This is a very ironic twist of extremely populist and free democracy in an oftentimes oppressive and silencing city. The original City Charter's text reads:
|“|| In All Matters, Subjects, and Topics that the High Elders so By Law Direct to delegate, or, though the Petition and Demand by Popular Initiative of Fifteen Percent of the Male Consituency, a Referendum shall be Decreed and Issued, and ballots Be Delivered to all Male Penguin Voters, whom shall Approve or Reject said Bill as they, by Dictates of Conscience so wish.
Any Tampering, Frauding, or Altering of Referendum Results, or any Ballot Corruption for Any Reason shall result in One Thousand Strokes of the Cane and a total Expulsion, Revocation of Residency, and Banishment from the City and a Thirty Mile Radius from the Limits of Unoian Jurisdiction. The Censor for Life may, within Seven Days of the counting, Deem an election Invalid if he so sees Impurity or Fraud within. If he Abuses this Right, then he shall be subject to Ten Thousand Strokes of the Cane and, if Permitted by the Crown, Detained for a Suitable Time and subject to total Banishment from the City.
(Note: the Charter was amended in the 1980s to bar discrimination on gender in regards to voting, and in regards to anything except the Unoian government, period. No Unoian can be ever deprived of their right to vote, except if they are specifically banned from it by MVBC act or get arrested.)
However, before a law can be enforced, the entire city has to vote on it.
- Assuming the succeeding town referendum approves the bill, the MVBC can:
- Write, amend, or otherwise change city law, taxation, ordinances, and other things.
Define, design, instate, revoke, or regulate the city's public dress code.(This power hasn't been used since 1955, when females were finally permitted to wear either pants or no pants in addition to the previously mandated skirt.)
- Technically, though, they could still introduce it back, but that'd be political suicide.
- Create and revoke rights of privacy.
- Draft the budget and appropriate funds, provided that they spend not a coin over what they take in.
- Decree bills of attainder against an Unoian.
- Create new penalties and crimes against the city's law.
- Increase, decrease, or remove non-Chartered crimes.
- Add caning to an existing crime.
- Define, regulate, and contract the production of wiretap equipment and other forms of privacy invasion and snooping.
- Grant residency status, true or honorary, to non-Unoian creatures, and revoke residency status from Unoian creatures. To vote, a creature must be a resident of Mattress Village.
- Without referendum and by simple vote, the MVBC can:
- Issue warrants authorizing wiretaps and other surveillance of a suspected immoral penguin.
- Censure or temporarily disenfranchise an immoral Censor among themselves.
- Issue resolutions expressing the Board's opinion on matters pertaining to anything, or commending or condemning a creature, organization, corporation, or group. Resolutions have no power or force of law.
- Redistrict and gerrymeander the precints.
- With a supermajority and referenda approval, the MVBC can:
- Increase or decrease the punishment for Chartered crimes.
- Permanently expel a creature from the Board, the premises of the Assembly, a certain part of town, or even run a penguin out of Mattress Village completely.
- Buy land by eminent domain.
- Allow a member whose term limits are up to continue serving.
- With a eleven-twelfths "hypermajority" and referendum the MVBC can:
- Amend the City Charter...
- ...to edit items that are not Prohibition and do not effect the structure/organization of the board or government.
- ...to grant rights not regarding monitoring of speech and communications.
- ...to lower age restrictions and gender restrictions on offices.
- Lower or create term limits.
- Make an appointed official an elected one.
- Accept a female to a position that is normally prohibited by the Charter. (Waived if a female is eligible.)
- Only in unanimity and referendum can the MVBC:
- Amend the City Charter to...
- Repeal Prohibition.
- Remove a position listed in the Charter.
- Restructure the government.
- Abolish caning as a lawful means of sentencing.
- Make an elected official an appointed one.
- Create a new court district in the city's jurisdiction.
- Enter deficit spending or take on city debt.
Positions and their description
Mattress Village Board of Censors offices
- Censor - an elected official that serves an eighty five year term and makes the laws of Mattress Village. Censors must be male and over the human equivalent of twenty. They receive no salary.
- Censor for Life - an unelected official appointed by the Board to serve as its chairman and a check and balance. The Censor for Life is permitted to discredit/invalidate an election if he suspects fraud (but if he abuses that power he regrets it), call a non-scheduled meeting, and allow VIPs to speak. The Censor for Life, as the name suggests, is in office forever unless he dares be corrupt, and he does not receive a salary. A Censor for Life can not refuse their appointment, and must be male and over twenty-five human years old to answer the calling. Censor for Lifes are paid in how many meetings they call up, so the less they call up the less they are paid. In meetings, the CFL sits to the left of the Mayor.
- Mayor - an elected official serving life tenure. Considered the symbol of Mattress Village, the Mayor wields no power except to cast a tiebreaking vote if the Board is tied and/or the referenda are too close to count (when deemed such by the CFL). The Mayor is escourted by volunteer bodygaurds and is free to, provided they are not breaking the law, use the City Hall for anything they wish. There is no requirement as to the age or gender of the Mayor, and he is unpaid. In Board meetings, the Mayor usually opens/calls to order and adjourns the meeting.
- Chairman of the Cream Soda Destruction League - the elected official that has full control over the MVCSDL. The Chairman serves ten year terms and has all of the voting rights and privelages of a Censor. They sit to the right of the Mayor. Independently, the Chairman issues Prohibition-related edicts and declares the punishments for breaking the Prohibition rules. The CDSL is entirely independent from the Board of Censors and can not be influenced by them.
MVBC supporting offices
- Mace-bearer - a randomly selected volunteer from the Board of Raters that carries the Mattress Village Staff to the seargeant-at-arms. The Macebearer is allowed to participate in all MVBC proceedings as an honorary guest, but can not vote. A new Rater is chosen every week.
- Sergeant at Arms - the elected Sergeant at Arms holds the MV Staff and excercises diciplinary powers when called. On rare occasions, he'll be instructed by the Censor for Life to raise the Staff and point it at an unruly Censor. This is considered very Serious Business. The Sergeant is also tasked with maintaining general order, such as if Censors begin to literally fight one-another, and keeping the Board on schedule, by force if neccesary. He enforces the orders of the CFL, such as to sit, observe order, etc.. The Segeant can participate in MVBC debates to the same extent as the macebearer, but can not vote. He is elected.
- His most famous role, though, is his ability to issue call of the house. This means that Censors are forced to convene in the Assembly Hall. The SAA is allowed to persue and drag Censors to the Hall "by any means neccesary", including physical force. A Call of the House hasn't been given since 1968, when thiry Censors fled the city to stop a vote on female enfranchisement. (They were being compelled, as "slaves of the city", to vote in favor of the bill or face recall by the Masses. All thirty were successfully recalled after the amendment and voted out of office. Th new Censors then issued bills of attainder disenfranchising the fleeing thirty.)
- Rater - an appointed chick, under the human equivalent of eighteen, selected to play, analyze, and review every video game in Antarctica. Essentially a video game tester, Raters are specially selected among the populace for their standards of morality and ability to speed-play the game. Raters are paid three hundred coins an hour and have rated most every video game made since 2005. Raters are held to the same standards of morality as a Censor. Any teenager appointed as a Rater should consider themselves honored. There are currently sixty Raters employeed by the city.
- (There is currently a drive amongst the youth of Mattress Village to make the Board of Raters an elected group. They are gaining attention, as the city has begun to consider it.)
When the Board of Censors votes to pass a bill into law, it is normally referred to the Masses for referendum. Originally, the only creatures eligible to vote were male, property-owning penguins that were over forty human years old. Since then, that has changed drastically. In Mattress Village, voting is a privelage, not a right.
- As of 2011, to be eligible to vote on an Unoian referendum or election, one must:
- Be eighteen human years old.
- Live in Mattress Village.
- Not have a criminal record. (If they have one, they must first serve their time, but felons can never vote.)
- Suffrage was extended to these groups by Charter amendment, in chronological order:
- Illiterate male penguins over forty and owning property penguins: 1952
- All male penguins owning property over forty: 1959
- All male penguins owning property and over twenty five: 1960
- All male penguins over twenty five, whether they own property or not: 1961
- All female penguins over twenty five: 1977
- All male and female penguins over eighteen: 1979
- Penguins with severe mental diseases: 1999
- Every penguin in good standing, period: 2000
- These groups still can't vote:
- Non-penguin creatures (e.g. puffles)
- Duly convicted felons
- Aunt Agatha
- Those specifically disenfranchised by punishment or attainder
There are forty Censors in Mattress Village. Each of these is assigned, despite being completely illogical, to a specific district. Since the Unoian government is permitted to redistrict itself at any time it chooses without referendumm, without regards to population, it was almost as if extreme gerrymeandering was intended by those who wrote the Charter.
However, because of the small size of the town, this doesn't really seem to harm the democratic process like it would in a gigantic metropolis.
Mattress Village has come under criticism since at least the 1960s for its lagging on the rights of females. The city, however, is still making progress.
- Under current Unoian governance:
- Female penguins can not hold the position of Censor without the approval of eleven-twelfths of the Board and a town-wide referendum.
- Female VIP guests can not speak in the Board of Censors unless spoken to or called to speak, and can not interrupt.
- When a female is allowed to speak, she is called up to the front and asked to sit at the feet of the Censor for Life. She relays her message to the Sergeant at Arms, who repeats it verbatim. (Twisting the words is a serious criminal offense.)
- Female penguins can not be Censors for Life.
- However, female penguins can:
- Hold any non-MVBC job without question.
- Be elected Chairman of the Cream Soda Destruction League like any male.
- Be elected Mayor.
- Vote, without exception, as equals.
- File for discrimination redress in the private sector.
One of the most famous aspects of the Board of Censors is their prescribed costume that they must wear to convene.
- Censors are required to wear a floor-length black robe (cloak?) with two vertical red stripes. The robes date back to before the village's incorporation. No one knows precisely where they come from, but they are there all the same. The robes used to have hoods, but those were snipped off in 1991, when the Board narrowly passed a resolution noting that "they looked creepy".
- The Chairman of the Cream Soda Destruction League is required to wear a floor-length, loose robe that is, quote, "identical to the color of Cream Soda" (that is, pink).
- Unoian tradition holds that the Seargeant at Arms is supposed to be a "butt-kicking, Censor grabbing, staff-wielding machine". He is supposed to look and dress the part, and must "intimidate" the Board. It's sort of hard to describe how he was to dress, but excerpts of the Mattress Village Ordinance Code says it this way:
|“||Be it Enacted that the penguin bearing the office of Seargent At Arms... ...required to dress in a manner exhibiting the willingness to compel Censors and in a way that tells the Board that he is always ahead of anything they may try to pull... ...shall keep his hair in an offbeat, noticable matter... donning a blue shirt and the special necklace provided... wearing large brown boots ...is permitted to conduct himself in an arrogant or cocky manner...||”|
- The Censor for Life's regalia is very detailed and descriptive. It'd just be better to show a picture than describe it.
Below are the profiles of the individual officeholders.
|Garrison "Freakin'" Oakey||Seargeant at Arms||King penguin||Male||19||GARY STINKIN' OAK||He is Oakey's great-grandson and the current MVBC Sergeant-at-Arms. A cocky and arrogant penguin, he knows his position and knows how to wield it, and then some. As the keeper of the Board's staff, he makes quite a show of using it to silence unruly Censors. A rather mysterious penguin, he never really tells much about himself, and neither he nor Oakey share his past. Oakey doesn't seem to mind his personality or galavanting. He's considered the Player of Uno Valley.
However, he has an ego that's quite large. That sweet red Corvette doesn't really help, and he's looked down on by other Unoians because there's always females riding around with him. Why isn't he fired? HE'S GARRISON STINKIN' OAKEY, THAT'S WHY.
|Karian Country||Chairman of the CDSL||Emperor penguin||Female||55||Carrie Nation||She is the current Chairman of the Cream Soda Destruction League and a very physically violent penguin. The only female ever elected to any Unoian office, she received her job in 1959 after the CDSL overwhelmingly approved a change to their ruleset allwoing for full gender equality in the League. She has been elected every year and has run unopposed since 1998. She is one of the tallest female Lesser penguins in Antarctica, standing at a whopping four foot eleven in a world where even the higest of the Emperor penguins are lucky to hit four foot five.|
|TurtleShroom Jones||Censor for Life||Emperor penguin||Male||44||Original character (OC) with subtle Dick Cheney and Republican jokes||He is the famous censor and zealot that was ousted from power in 2009, has held the position of Censor for Life since 2005. Interestingly, his father held it until 2001. He succeeded Jim Crane in 2005 following his resignation amidst a perjury scandal. He is a rather passive CFL and usually permits Mattress Village to run itself without his interference, calling meetings with his presence on extremely rare occasions. One scandal and one procdural requirement caused the Board to declare the chair vacant on him. The first one was scandelous: He violated the Board's Emalf codes (having said "screwed" while the board was convened). The second one was procedure. A Censor for Life must vacate their post for two weeks when they change their "marital status". (For instance, a CFL getting married must resign for two weeks after the wedding. A CFL that is widowed must do the same, and TS, who was formerly celibate, revoked it to persue a chance at love, chaning his marital status from "celibate" to "single".)|
|Baldurshroom Jones||Mayor of Mattress Village||Wraith; a being of dark energy (formerly an emperor penguin)||Male||100+||Giygas||He is TurtleShroom's ghostly, extremely powerful, paternal great-grandfather. He made it his life's quest to defy fate and the powers that be in an all-out attempt to destroy the Bureau of Fiction, justifying his assault to the fabric of the universe as "defending free will" and as radical transparency. In doing so, he destroyed his entire body and much of his mind. He is immensely devoted to the cause of eliminating secrecy, and has pleaded with the Board to make themselves open to all and recorded, so as not to repeat the "evils" of the world. Baldurshroom was famously used as a tool by Porkchop, who fed on his quest for purity and wanted to mold the universe in his own image after TSGGG destroyed it. He was elected Mayor shortly before Liber Jones, his grandson, assumed the office of Censor for Life. His promise was "let the decision stand" and refrain from taking sides, except in the mayoral casting vote, which he has only used one time.|
Initiatives directly by the people
Unoian government also practices a light system of ballot initiatives. All of these items, except one, can also be (more easily) performed by the Board with a post-vote referendum.
- Unonians can, by petition, demand an audit of any penguin sitting on the Board, CDSL, Raters, or other municipal body. Their entire personal records, life, and data will be analyzed and placed before public scrutiny, and will be pinned upon the billboard of the city library. From there, Unoians can cease or take further actions.
- With the petition signatures of 100% of the Unoians in a given district (anywhere from five to twenty like-minded creatures), an Unoian can submit a petition of recall, which immediately terminates a given Censor and throws a special election to choose a new one. The same can also be acted by 51% of Mattress Village residents signing an identical petition of recall. These have been known to have partisan motives.
- With the petition of a 75% supermajority of Unoian signatures, a Call of Petalism can be enacted. Through this, the creatures of Mattress Village can vote to expel any resident from town, and never let them back in.
- With the complete, unanimous consent of every eligible resident, Unoians can also file a "Voting of the Doomed" measure. In this, the creature named can be arbitrarily sentenced to death by the rest of the city. It has only been used twice, once on a Mafia piccito that was elected to the Board (sentenced in the 1950s and finally executed in the 1970s), and another on a penguin that committed electoral fraud in the 1990s (his case is still being appealed and will probably not be put to death). Liber Jones, TurtleShroom's father, famously persued the VOTD measure in the 1990s case.
- A Voting of the Doomed measure can not be created by the Board. Only by petition, and then by unanimous agreement, can Mattress Village take the life of one of its citizens.
- Mattress Village
- Polaris City Council
- TurtleShroom's Family
- Prohibition in Mattress Village
- Keeping Up With the Joneses
- Liber Jones
- Mattress Village Airport Incident
- Uno Valley
- Libby Leigon
- Corruption in Polaris
- Mattress Village Board of Censors concurrent resolution of condemnation