PBP September 2013 Newsletter: Your Turn to Decide, Big News from NYC, 4 New PB Processes

Assemblies Begin in New York and Chicago

It’s hard to believe that it was only four years ago that we worked with Alderman Joe Moore of Chicago’s 49th ward to launch the first participatory budgeting process in the US. Thirty-one funded community projects later, the ward is entering its 5th year of PB, and has been joined by wards 5, 22, and 45. Neighborhood assemblies begin next week, and between now and next spring, we’ll empower thousands of PB Chicago participants to decide how to spend $4 million.

Participatory Budgeting in New York has begun its 3rd year, with two new districts that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy: District 38 (Sunset Park and Red Hook) and District 31 (Far Rockaways). Over the next six months, residents in nine districts will decide how to spend $12 million. PBP is working closely with the Council Member offices, partner organizations, and volunteers to coordinate over 60 neighborhood assemblies over the next few weeks! Follow the action at the new @PB_NYC Twitter handle, watch and share the brand new assembly promo video below, and join us at an assembly (see dates in the side panel).

How Would You Spend $1 Million? by Meerkat Media

PB Wins Big in NYC Election

It’s one of the biggest election stories you haven’t heard: Participatory budgeting is poised for major expansion in New York City. In September’s City Council primaries, voters chose 21 Council Member candidates who have pledged to use PB to allocate discretionary funds in their districts, which would empower residents to decide how to spend at least $25 million on community improvements. Democratic Mayoral Nominee Bill de Blasio has made a similar pledge, committing to “scale up participatory budgeting in council districts across New York City [and] pilot expanding participatory budgeting to broader pools of city grant funding.” We will keep you posted on how this develops!

We Want Your Ideas

Do you have ideas for new projects that can help the PB movement grow? Join us at our first-ever virtual PB assemblies to brainstorm ideas for how to spend money raised through PB2 – our own PB process. The top ideas developed through the assemblies will be put on the ballot for PB2 voting in November-December. Last year you chose to allocate $9,000 to hire a new PBP part-time development person and to produce the fantastic new PB Intro Video. How should we invest in the PB movement this year?

Baltimore Youth & PB

Youth from United Workers sharing their goals for PB in Baltimore, at a presentation with PBP’s Josh Lerner.

The Movement Grows

Several PB advocates that attended our training and conference in May have already followed up by launching new PB processes in their home cities:

  • St. Louis: Alderman Christine Ingrassia, runner-up Michelle Witthaus, the community organizing group MORE, and other partners launched the city’s first PB process. Assemblies for Participatory Budgeting in St. Louis start October 7th!
  • Palo Alto College in San Antonio: Faculty and staff are launching PB on campus – PB is for universities too!
  • Hamilton, Ontario: PB Ward 2 just completed its first cycle! 21 projects worth $1 million were chosen by 1024 voters.
  • San Francisco: Earlier this year, we worked with Supervisor David Chiu to pilot PB in his district. Supervisor Chiu and Mayor Ed Lee recently announced plans to scale up PB and add an online component.
  • The National Economic & Social Rights Initiative created a new video that explains how participatory budgeting can support human rights.

A People’s Budget, by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

What You Can Do

Do you have a couple of hours a month to give to your community? Do you have experience with outreach, facilitation, fundraising, design, or communications? Sign up to volunteer in New York, Chicago, or wherever you are!

Don’t have time to volunteer? Make a donation or give the gift of post-it notes.

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Upcoming Events:

Featured PBNYC Assemblies
Join PBP Executive Director Josh Lerner, NYC Council Members, and other PBNYC partners for special behind the scenes tours at the following PBNYC assemblies:

  • October 13th, 3:00-6:00pm at Myrtle Gardens (District 33)
  • October 15th, 6:00-8:30pm in Carroll Gardens (District 39)
  • October 27th, 3:30-6:00pm in Red Hook (District 38)

See more details at pbnyc.org and email josh@participatorybudgeting.org to RSVP.

PB2 Online Assemblies
Decide how to invest in the PB movement! (see more details in the main panel)

  • October 9th, 8-9 pm EST
  • November 1st, 1-2 pm EST

Please RSVP here for info about how to join the assembly webinars.

PBNYC Report Release Webinar
Interested in hearing about the outcomes of last year’s PB cycle New York City? The PBNYC Research and Evaluation team will share their findings and discuss key lessons learned with PB participants and organizers:

  • October 9th, 12pm EST

All are welcome to join – email us for more info.

2014 PB Conference
Our next international PB conference will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area in September 2014. We hope this conference will help sprout as many new PB processes as did our conference this past spring! More details soon.

Featured Video
Brand new assembly promo video for PBNYC:

Featured Resource
Are folks in your area organizing for Participatory Budgeting? Check out our organizing map to find out and plug in.

In the Press
Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich explains why PB makes sense for in The Rockaways, New York, and beyond, in an Op-Ed for The Wave: “residents fund the city coffers through their tax dollars; therefore they should have a meaningful role in determining what projects their money funds.”

PBP T-Shirts, Postcards, Magnets, and Stickers!
Check out our new postcards, and send us an email to order PBP t-shirts, stickers, or magnets!

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