Around the World: Pop Culture

Posted on August 28, 2014

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Around the World in Local Government – August 2014


Frame Changers

Three Biggest Issues Facing Local Government

Stereotyping Local Government


What music, books, places, etc. best represent the current state of pop culture in your region?

Brian H. – Assistant to the Director (Chief) at San Antonio (TX) Police Department

  • Austin, which hosts the SXSW music festival, is a cultural hub for music and other areas of pop culture in the region.  They are also the home of Bioware, a major gaming firm as gaming and cosplay culture become more widespread.
  • The multi-week celebration of “Fiesta” in San Antonio is also a big draw for people throughout the region; it includes music, art, food, etc.  It’s really something.

Brian S. – Management Analyst at the Village of Elk Grove Village, IL



Being new to the Chicago suburbs and just finishing up a seven week stay in a local hotel, I would say my knowledge of pop culture in this region is a bit stale.  Sadly I have not attended one concert since moving here and that is an accomplishment in itself with the number of venues in the area.  Last Friday night Everclear and Eve 6 played a small venue about 20 minutes from where I now live, circa 1999 I would have been standing in line eight hours early to get in to that concert. The only show that I currently have lined up is a sold-out Ryan Adams show at the Chicago Theater in October.

As for reading, I would suggest Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This book and soon to be movie is an amazing story about the resilience of one man.  If anyone thinks they have a tough job or are just having a rough day, they should read the story of Louis Zamperini.  I read the book a few years ago and recent events in July had me thinking about the book again.

I am currently lacking on places, I will have to get back to everyone on this once I actually have the chance to get out and see the sites.

Marc – Special Projects Coordinator at the City of Roanoke, VA

This magazine article provides an excellent overview of the pop culture in Roanoke. Link: City Portrait: Roanoke, Virginia

Stephen – City Clerk at City Of Guelph, ON (Canada)

Not sure I’m the best judge of current state of pop culture but Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm is currently number one on Maclean’s magazine (Canada’s defacto current affairs mag) book list and “Am I Wrong” by Nico and Vinz (no idea who they are!? See told you I wasn’t a good judge) is tops on the Billboard Canadian Top 100 list.

What questions do you have for the other regions?

Brian H. – Assistant to the Director (Chief) at San Antonio (TX) Police Department

  • What post MPA learning opportunities do you feel would be most useful to local gov professionals?
  • Other than regulating every new industry, what other ways can/have local governments play(ed) a role in softening the disruption that new technologies can sometimes create in communities and economies?
  • What are the best ways to connect with professionals and find positions in local government in your region?

Brian S. – Management Analyst at the Village of Elk Grove Village, ILdownload (1)

  • Northwest United States – If I move there, is it possible to hold a local government job and camp 100 days a year?
  • Southwest United States – On a local level is there a noticeable influx of large businesses relocating to the area from other states and if so do you feel the impact on the local economy?
  • Southeastern United States – How do coastal communities deal with budgeting and funding for natural disasters since they seem to be a real possibility every year?
  • United Kingdom – Is there a discontent for the United States and its foreign policy?  (Based on the idea that the United States seems to get the United Kingdom involved with a lot issues on foreign soils)

Marc – Special Projects Coordinator at the City of Roanoke, VA

Has your city/county come up with an innovative approach for dealing with planning/permitting backlogs?

Stephen – City Clerk at City Of Guelph, ON (Canada)

Questions I would have for other regions relate to elections and financing services. As it relates to elections, I’m always interested in what innovations other local government sectors around the world are implementing (i.e. internet voting, mandatory voting, campaign financing rules). As it relates to the financing of services, in Ontario we have a property tax system that serves as the primary source of funding for municipal/local services. This source is inelastic and not as responsive as the taxation powers of our senior level partners at the provincial or federal level. I’m always curious how services in other countries are divided between various levels of government and subsequently how these are paid for.

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