|“||We learned to beat our own hearts! We taught ourselves to wet our own corneas! We have pulled ourselves up from nothing! It is the American dream.||”|
The City Council is the central governing body in Night Vale. Council seats are elected positions, but the elections are strictly controlled by the Council by way of the Sheriff's Secret Police and, as a result, membership has remained unchanged
since the Council was founded in 1824 until Tamika Flynn appointed herself to City Council in October 15, 2016. The City Council rules Night Vale with an iron fist, enacting bizarre, draconian legislation with little to no explanation offered to the public, and spending taxpayer funds on extravagant, useless, and brazenly corrupt projects; however, whenever one of their countless political scandals results in a public outcry, the Council often runs away, hides, or takes conveniently timed vacations. The level of influence the City Council holds over public events notably decreased when StrexCorp arrived in Night Vale, but it returned to normal when the corporation left.
Though the council consists of many people, it is almost always referred to as speaking, thinking, and doing things as a unanimous collective, hive-minded entity.
Confusingly, its version in the novelization seems different from the podcast version, being described as many living flames and being highly dangerous.
The first meeting of the Town Elder Council, the predecessor to the modern City Council, was held in 1824. Council members are believed to have dressed in crimson robes and soft meat crowns, as was traditional at the time. Although all records of the meeting were destroyed, it is said that a number of elements of Night Vale's modern civic process were invented in the first three-hour meeting of the Town Elder Council, including Night Vale's "lovably Byzantine" tax system, its system of brutal penalties for mistakes, its official town song, chant, and moan, and the City Council's membership, which remained unchanged for 190 years. The Council became a single entity when one of its members, Deborah, performed a spell incorrectly . It seems to be unclear if City Council has any authority after former Mayor Dana Cardinal quit in "A Matter of Blood Part 3".
Rules and bans
- Writing utensils, margarita glasses, and bar code scanners were all banned "long ago". The ban on writing utensils is lifted every year during Night Vale Poetry Week, as every citizen is required to write hundreds of poems during Poetry Week. The ban was also temporarily lifted when the Man in the Tan Jacket first arrived in Night Vale, so that citizens could write down the details of their encounters with him before they were forgotten. This ban can be partially circumvented by writing with "non-pens" made out of cocktail straws, cotton, and municipal food pastes.
- Pocket calculators were outlawed by the City Council in 1990 for undisclosed reasons.
- All wheat and wheat by-products were eternally banned from Night Vale on November 15, 2012. This ban was enacted in the aftermath of a catastrophic event during which all wheat and wheat by-products mysteriously transformed into poisonous serpents, and then into a "particularly evil and destructive form of spirit" before vanishing completely.
- On December 6, 2012, the City Council voted on a measure that would prohibit breathing as an involuntary muscular action. If the law were passed, all Night Vale citizens would be required to make the physical choice of whether or not to breathe. City Council cited the sense of entitlement to the receipt of oxygen citizens had developed as justification for the law. The outcome of the vote is not known, however.
- Thesauruses and public descriptions of the moon have both been banned, although these restrictions are lifted every year during Poetry Week.
- After going out on a date, Night Vale citizens are required to call the City Council and submit a Standard End-of-Date Report.
- The City Council officially declared murder illegal on August 1, 2013, after fierce debate. The law didn't go into effect until August 15, 2013, and citizens were advised to get any necessary murders done before that date, although the City Council also included a three-day grace period after the deadline, for forgetful citizens, or citizens whose victims were hard to catch.
- Listening to music of any kind was banned for at least several decades. Music was finally decriminalized after the release of John Cage's experimental piece "4'33"" in 1952.
Licensing and certification
- Citizens who wish to use hammers must obtain a valid Hammer License from the City Council.
- Bloodstone manufacturers must be certified by the City Council. Coincidentally, the City Council owns the only certified bloodstone factory in Night Vale.
- On September 24, 1983, the City Council approved book ownership for randomly selected students.
Other official actions
- In February of 2013, the City Council moved to name "dance" as the official town language, arguing that a unified language would save money on municipal signage and documentation. A final vote on the measure was held on February 19, 2013, although the outcome of the vote is not known.
- In May of 2013, the City Council voted to make death a meritocracy in Night Vale. Night Vale citizens must now earn death through hard work and productivity. "If you want to die," the Council explained, "you will have to achieve death yourself. Not everyone gets to die, and that's just how it will be." The vote won by a small margin, with the opposition split between those Council members who wished to keep death universal and those who wished to ban death altogether.
- The City Council regularly reminds citizens that books are "dangerous and inadvisable and should not be kept in private homes".
- Every year prior to Street Cleaning Day, the City Council issues helpful warnings to the populace in the form of statements in 20-point all-caps font that read, "RUN! RUN! FORGET YOUR CHILDREN AND LEAVE BEHIND THE WEAK! RUN!"
- In the summer of 2012, the City Council announced a new drive to clean up litter in Night Vale. However, they cautioned citizens that any litter marked with a red flag is "not to be picked up or approached" with the helpful slogan, "No flag? Goes in the bag. Red flag? Run!"
- On August 1, 2012, City Council asked that any citizen noticing a strange aura around any of the following objects in their homes: "blender, shower head, dog, husband, wife, table, chair, doorknob, baseboard, vacation souvenirs or photos, collectibles of any kind (especially those depicting or involving horses), DVDs (especially Cliffhanger, There’s Something About Mary, and The Wire 4th season), and any bagged lettuce from California or Mexico," to please report to the Council for indefinite detention.
Management of public works
Mission Grove Park
In order to make room for a new swing set, picnic area, and bloodstone circle in Mission Grove Park, in the summer of 2012, the City Council voted to remove the Shape in Grove Park that No One Acknowledges or Speaks About, sparking protest from local historians. When Cecil Palmer inadvertently acknowledged and spoke about the Shape while reporting the story, the City Council moved it in front of the Night Vale Community Radio Station's loading zone, where it proceeded to wreak havoc. The City Council informed Cecil that if he were to stop speaking about the Shape forever, they would move it somewhere else; Cecil immediately accepted this offer. The City Council then removed the Shape to an undisclosed location.
The City Council is also responsible for erecting an enormous 7-story-tall monument in Grove Park declaring, in gigantic neon letters, that the citizens of Night Vale were decisive to the Allied victory over the Axis powers in World War II by chanting at their bloodstone circles. However, the monument was later torn down following a federal lawsuit.
The Dog Park
The City Council announced the opening of the Dog Park on June 15, 2012, and immediately reminded the citizens of Night Vale that neither dogs nor people are allowed in the Dog Park, although the Hooded Figures are. Six weeks later, the City Council and the Secret Police issued a joint reminder that Night Vale citizens "of all species and all geologic eras" should not enter, look at, or even think too long about the Dog Park.
When the doors to the Dog Park mysteriously opened in response to an anonymous poem posted to it on April 1, 2013, during the events of Poetry Week, the City Council at first issued warnings, in the form of ancient glyphs in a language that no one could read but were nonetheless understood by all who looked upon them, urging all of Night Vale not to enter the Dog Park. However, when it was revealed that the anonymous poet was in fact an angel named Erika, the City Council reversed its course and happily invited the gathering crowd inside the Dog Park to look at the mysterious monolith contained within. The tall, black gates of the Dog Park closed soon afterwards, and those who went inside were never seen or heard from again, with the exception of Intern Dana.
Night Vale Post Office
The Night Vale Post Office was sealed by the order of the City Council after a great howling, like the sound of "a human soul being destroyed through black magic", was heard emanating from within. However, the Apache Tracker, using "ancient Indian magicks", successfully slipped through Council security to look inside the sealed building.
Night Vale Public Library
In 1983, the City Council abolished the Night Vale Public Library's Summer Reading Program in the aftermath of an incident which is only referred to by those who remember it as "The Time of Knives". In the decades that followed, the City Council remained staunchly opposed to reinstating the program, citing a lack of taxpayer funds, the extreme danger posed by books, and the peril of exposing children to librarians.
In early 2013, the City Council approved renovations for the library, in order to alleviate the widespread public dissatisfaction with the facility. An entrance was finally constructed on the front of the building, so that visitors would no longer have to enter the library by waking up inside in a dizzy haze, unsure of how they got there. Also, drinking fountains, dunking chambers, and a state-of-the-art fainting pool were installed in the lobby, librarian repellant dispensers were placed throughout the building, and beanbag chairs were added to the children's section.
When the Public Library suddenly reinstated the Summer Reading Program on August 1, 2013, the City Council responded by declaring a Level Orange Fear Alert from the confines of their book-proof bunker, advising all Night Vale citizens to avoid the library and to contact the Council with any information they had on the whereabouts of the missing children, librarians’ secret weaknesses, or on good books that they’d read lately. Any citizens who admitted to having read good books were immediately scheduled for re-education and subsequent de-education.
In early August of 2012, the City Council voted to remove the large lead-plated door from the northeastern-most crook of Radon Canyon, known by the locals as "the area pulsing with green light and sotto voce basso humming. The Council justified the decision by noting that the large yellow sign that read, "DANGER: PLUTONIUM. DO NOT OPEN DOOR. RISK OF DEATH," was at worst, an offensive eyesore, and at best, a hacky sci-fi cliche.
On October 1, 2012, the City Council announced that they did not privately use public funds to host a Pink Floyd Multimedia Laser Spectacular in Radon Canyon on the weekend of September 29-30, 2012. The City Council categorically denied holding a laser-powered seance in Radon Canyon to talk "hard-rockin' classic jams" with the ghost of original Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, and added that Syd "wouldn't even say anything juicy anyway, because he is such a gentleman, and an artist." Night Vale citizens are prohibited from discussing any lights or sounds coming from Radon Canyon that weekend.
Old Town Drawbridge
The City Council began an initiative to revitalize the Old Town Drawbridge in 2012. As Night Vale is a landlocked town with no rivers or bays, local engineers had no idea how to build a bridge, and tried construction materials ranging from corrugated cardboard, to non-dairy creamer, to ceramic bowls. Each experiment resulted in a new bridge collapse, and in the aftermath of each collapse, the City Council allocated additional funding to the project. For example, on September 1, 2012, in response to the collapse of a bridge foundation made out of furniture upholstery, the City Council increased the project's funding by an additional $20 million, drawing the additional funding from school lunch programs, a new 65% hotel tax, and a proposed $276 bridge toll, which would be discounted to $249 for commuters using E-Z Pass. The construction project is not expected to be completed until 2026.
Wheat and Wheat By-Products Shelter
During the wheat and wheat by-products disaster of 2012, citizens were evacuated to the Wheat and Wheat By-Products Shelter located underneath the Night Vale Public Library, which had been sitting unused for decades. When the City Council was asked why they had already constructed a Wheat and Wheat By-Products Shelter, they answered, simply, "Prophecy."
Night Vale Subway System
The City Council officially denied having approved the construction of Night Vale's subway system by sending a fair-haired, hollow-eyed child to the Night Vale Community Radio Station with the denial tattooed on his inner lip. The denial read, "Never approved." The City Council ultimately viewed the project as successful, however, noting that Night Vale could eventually become a real travel destination, like Japan or Brazil or Luftnarp or Svitz.
The industrial part of town
The industrial part of town was specially set aside by the City Council to be the industrial part of town many years ago. "Yes," they said, presumably speaking in unison as is their way, "This area around here will be pretty industrial. Warehouses, and factories, and things like that. Some graffiti, and chain-link fences.” They then cut a ribbon they were carrying with them, as the Council always carries a ribbon with them for that purpose.
Relationship with other organizations and individuals
Sheriff's Secret Police
The Sheriff's Secret Police act as enforcers for the City Council. When City Council elections are held, the Secret Police abduct selected family members from every household "so that everyone votes for the correct council seats and there's no confusion". Abducted family members are held in the Abandoned Mine Shaft outside of town, and, if anyone refuses to vote as directed by the City Council, their relatives are sent to the torture cubicles. Overall, the Secret Police seem to be bound to obey the Council's directives, and the two organizations are essentially two parts of a single machine.
Night Vale Community Radio Station Management
City Council dated the NVCR Station Management after they met in Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex in "Skating Rink". The relationship made both City Council and Station Management much more merciful, but they got into hard times in the relationship, and after trying to "work it up", they apparently broke up. Currently, they seem to be in some kind of an on-and-off relationship.
The City Council has an antagonistic relationship with the angels. They consider knowledge of the tiered heavens and the hierarchy of angels to be privileged information, and warn the citizens of Night Vale not to talk to angels, as "they only tell lies and do not exist". All angel sightings are to be reported to the City Council. In September 2012, the angels were invited to testify in hearings as to whether appealing to the angels for a sports victory constitutes illegal game tampering, but it soon became apparent that the hearings were an elaborate trap set up by the City Council to capture the angels. However, the angels easily escaped from the City Council's cages in a blaze of heavenly light. On June 15, 2013, a City Council representative was seen berating a group of disgruntled angels, saying, "I get really tired of having to say this! Angels aren't real! They just aren't!" However, it is notable that the City Council and the angels seem to have a common enemy in StrexCorp.
StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated
The City Council is in opposition to the invading forces of StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated. When StrexCorp's yellow helicopters first arrived in Night Vale, they said that the yellow helicopters were Night Vale's guests, and were to be treated as such, but added that the helicopters were uninvited guests, and were to be treated with fear, hatred, and uncontrolled panic. Their apparent influence over Night Vale sharply diminished after StrexCorp's apparent takeover of the town, and the City Council finally announced in unison on January 1, 2014, that they "just can't be here anymore", and made the standard American Sign Language "I love you" gesture before attempting, and failing, to disappear in a puff of maple-scented smoke. After their disappearance failed, the Council members failed to continue speaking in unison, and began casting blame on one another "for not believing hard enough". By April 15, 2014, City Hall, which was traditionally covered with black velvet at night under the City Council's regime, was instead seen to be covered with a yellow tarp stamped with StrexCorp's trademark orange triangle, indicating that the City Council had been completely usurped or bought out by the malevolent corporation.
A vague, yet menacing, government agency
The City Council, in cooperation with agents from a vague, yet menacing, government agency, publicly urged the citizens of Night Vale to attend a questionnaire at 7:00pm on July 1, 2012, to discuss "mysterious sights that definitely no one saw, and strange thoughts that never occurred to anyone. Because all of us are normal, and to be otherwise would make us outcasts from our own community."
Big Rico's Pizza
The City Council has endorsed Big Rico's Pizza, the only pizzeria in Night Vale that has not burnt to the ground in an unsolved arson case, in the form of a law mandating that every Night Vale citizen eat at Big Rico's once a week. To not do so is a misdemeanor. And although Big Rico's illegal wheat and wheat by-product speakeasy was shut down by the City Council, Big Rico was not punished for his brazen defiance of the Council's eternal ban on wheat and wheat by-products. Presumably, Big Rico is manipulating the City Council through some combination of blackmail, secret campaign contributions, and special favors.
Soundproof Old Town
In late 2012, Soundproof Old Town, a community group dedicated to eliminating loud noises in Old Town, pushed for the City Council to do something about the extremely noisy sunsets that beset their neighborhood. The City Council first claimed that the sounds were generated by windmill farms in Desert Bluffs, which was outside their jurisdiction. However, when Walton Kincaid, president of Soundproof Old Town, countered that this could not possibly be the case because the windmills were non-existent and also didn't work, the City Council responded by wordlessly staring down Kincaid for fourteen uninterrupted minutes, literally compacting his soul into what looked like a partially chewed black-eyed pea. The Council then wished Kincaid luck in attending a mandatory 4:00 AM meeting at the top of Skeleton Gorge, which could only be accessed by government helicopters, as all previous attempts to scale the cliff-side had "failed in extravagantly gory fashion".
The City Council members are a single bodied entity, known as the City Council, and Tamika Flynn. The entity known as the City Council was once a group of individuals, but has since formed into one body.
Known features of the single-bodied entity :
- It has many hands, although the precise number seems to change, at one point they claim it's eighteen, but some time later it changes to seventeen 
Confusingly, its version in the novelization seems different from the podcast version, being described as many living flames and being highly dangerous.
- Those citizens of Night Vale who hold to the Olden Faith do not believe in modern medicine, and instead treat their ailments by having a member of City Council howl at them.
- The City Council often delivers messages through the use of strange, mute messenger children. Cecil Palmer has noted that he is never quite sure what to do with them, and he isn't even sure if the children are "completely sentient". The City Council apparently has an unlimited supply of these mysterious children, as they send new ones with every message, and the children do not return to them. Cecil has tried to give some of his leftover messenger children away on the air.
- Members of the City Council have "dirt gills", which they use to breathe whenever they bury themselves alive to avoid the fallout of political scandals. Wait, I mean, the City Council doesn't do that. Ever.
- In the year 2052, the City Council will reveal its "true form" and consume half the town of Night Vale.
- They are dating Night Vale Community Radio's Station Management, as first seen in Episode 82.
- Episode 3 "Station Management"
- Episode 7 "History Week"
- Episode 114 "Council Member Flynn, Part 1"
- Episode 8 "The Lights in Radon Canyon"
- Episode 20 "Poetry Week"
- Episode 14 "The Man in the Tan Jacket"
- Episode 22 "The Whispering Forest"
- Episode 10 "Feral Dogs"
- Episode 11 "Wheat & Wheat By-Products"
- Episode 12 "The Candidate"
- Episode 27 "First Date"
- Episode 28 "Summer Reading Program"
- Episode 97 "Josefina"
- Episode 9 ""PYRAMID""
- Episode 40 "The Deft Bowman"
- Episode 17 "Valentine"
- Episode 23 "Eternal Scouts"
- Episode 15 "Street Cleaning Day"
- Episode 4 "PTA Meeting"
- Episode 5 "The Shape in Grove Park"
- Episode 1 "Pilot"
- Episode 2 "Glow Cloud"
- Episode 16 "The Phone Call"
- Episode 6 "The Drawbridge"
- Episode 29 "Subway"
- Episode 45 "A Story About Them"
- Episode 25 "One Year Later"
- Episode 32 "Yellow Helicopters"
- Episode 38 "Orange Grove"
- Episode 13 "A Story About You."
- Episode 157 "The Promise of Time"
- Episode 181 "C****s"
- Episode 41 "WALK"