TAKOMA PARK, MD – Inspired by the success of the Washington Nationals playoff run and hoping to capitalize on increased attendance at city council hearings, the City of Takoma Park has decided to integrate popular entertainment concepts into the conduct of future council meetings.
Labeled “competitive legislating” by the mayor, the goal is to create a dynamic, sports-like atmosphere to make political debate more entertaining, and draw in and engage residents who might otherwise choose to spend their evenings watching games from one of the big four sports leagues.
The centerpiece of the plan calls for a brand new, state-of-the-art Takoma Park city council stadium, nicknamed the Decomposta-Bowl, with capacity for 18,000 attendees (the current auditorium holds only 154 people). Once inside the new facility, attendees will be greeted with a 300 inch HD Jumbotron, organ music from local musicians, and a concession stand containing organic, gluten free snacks and craft beer.
“We need to link the community to its government by building experiences and adapting to ever-shifting interests,” stated the Mayor, wearing eye-black. “So we plan to create a true destination for our fans…er…residents who love the sport of budget debates, adoption of meeting minutes, and discussion of road closures. It’s exciting stuff!”
With heightened tribalism and an increasing focus on “scoring points”, many pundits have noted the resemblance between modern politics and sporting events. “Takoma Park is at the cutting edge of a major national trend of political entertainment,” said Shea Wilson, a professor of political science at American University. “In that sense, the city is the ideal epicenter for turning debate into sport. All the best competitors are already here.”
During hearings, city council members will now wear contrasting uniforms and sit on opposite ends of the dais so observers can clearly see what side they take on any given issue. Procedural and parliamentary disputes will be decided by the city attorney via a new instant replay system, and council members found to have committed a violation will be forced to spend 5 minutes in a penalty box, where they’ll be shown YouTube clips of Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck.
Residents can also expect some new entertaining crowd features when attending city council meetings, including t-shirt cannons, cheerleaders, and even a Kiss Cam to break the tension between heated exchanges. A Roscoe the Rooster mascot will also perform a staged brawl, or “cockfight”, with a randomly selected audience member.
Swearing will now be permitted (and encouraged) during public comment periods, and residents will be allowed to select custom walk-up music as they approach the podium to provide their testimony. “I’m really looking forward to picking my song,” stated frequent testifier Beatrice Mayfield, 82. “Right now it’s between the theme from the Lawrence Welk Show and LL Cool J’s ‘Momma Said Knock You Out’.
For those folks who love to talk beyond the allotted three-minute testimony; beware. A new “shot clock” with extra loud buzzer will greet anyone exceeding the limit, resulting in a loss of speaking at the next hearing, a crucial turnover favoring the opposing side.
In order to accommodate thousands of attendees, neighboring Piney Branch Elementary School will be razed to create a massive parking lot. While many residents were initially horrified by the elimination of a school when over-crowding remains a top issue, they were soon won over by the promise of a new free parking lot in which to hold community events as often as five times a year.
Construction on the new stadium will begin after community input, public debate, historic review, and the issuance of tree permits, which the Department of Public Works estimates will happen by the first quarter of fiscal year 2032.