In the swamp of gloomy local government news, I thought I’d take a brief moment to offer a few minutes of laughs. Pop culture loves to take comedic shots at local government. Here are some favorite clips poking fun at local government …

This following clip (you have to follow the link to watch) is from the Showtime series Weeds. The scene shows a City Council meeting in which City Councilman “Doug” explains to resident “Celia” why the city can’t pay for a new traffic light.

City Councilman Doug: “Lights costs money.”

Resident: “Isn’t that what the budget is for, Doug?”

City Councilman Doug: “All of our money has been allocated for the year. We’re renovating this chamber here, haven’t you seen the plans? I mean c’mon, we’ve got a full kitchen going in back there.”

Resident: “So I pay my taxes so you can have a kitchen?”

City Councilman Doug:
“And a parade. And the balance of what we owe the branding firm for the new town slogan, ‘Agrestic, the best of the bestic.’ And a lot of other stuff. Now if that’s everything, I want to go home and watch the game … and drink a little bit.”

The NBC sitcom, Parks and Recreation, is one of many instances of poking fun at local politics. This character, Ron Swanson, has been Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department for six years. According to his Wikipedia page, he believes in the elimination of government waste and has always brought the department in under budget.

“Ron believes government should be privatized and follow the business model of the Chuck E. Cheese’s family entertainment chain.”

This hilarious Family Guy clip mocks the election process. This debate is tremendous.

In the Saturday Night Live satirical skit, Kenan Thompson played the host of the “2010 Public Employee of the Year Awards.” As he tells his audience at the mock award show, “people with government jobs are like workers everywhere except for lifetime job security, guaranteed annual raises, early retirement on generous pensions and full medical coverage with no deductibles and office visit fees or co-payments.”

And finally, here is our favorite clip from Santa Cruz. Only, this one is real – well, in someone’s reality at least. I still think she deserves her own reality show.

It’s video from the public comment portion of a Santa Cruz City Council meeting in May of 2008. This evokes great memories of Miss South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA Contest in 2007.

James Spencer can be reached at