Kensington

Behind the Scenes of Participatory Budgeting in District 39

By Rachel Fine of the Participatory Budgeting District Committee 

As a District Committee member, I have been focusing on getting the word out about participatory budgeting and engaging our district’s diverse communities in this process. Although the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity getting ready for the neighborhood assemblies, our outreach efforts have targeted a number of communities. Read more »

Three shelters from the storm

Over the past week, we wrapped up operations at one hurricane evacuation shelter (John Jay High School campus), continued to provide an incredible level of compassion and support to evacuated high-needs residents in another (Park Slope Armory), and welcomed evacuated homeless veterans into a third (on West 9th Street in south Carroll Gardens).  And we continued to do all we could to help our neighbors down in Red Hook, more than 3,000 of whom are still – unacceptably – without power or heat twelve days later. Read more »

Hurricane Recovery: Ways to Help Sunday

Here are some ways you can help out with hurricane relief efforts today (Sunday, November 4) at the two evacuation shelters in Park Slope, in Coney Island, and in Red Hook:

Read more »

Beyond Words

Two of the people killed by Hurricane Sandy were two young Brooklynites, Jessie Streich-Kest (24) and Jacob Vogelman (23) – both young people of extraordinary values and bright promise.  I cannot find any way to understand or explain their loss, or really even begin to grieve.  I’m so deeply sad and angry.  But I at least want to take a minute to honor their memory, let you know a little bit about them, and share the funeral and memorial/tribute arrangements. Read more »

Behind the Scenes of Participatory Budgeting

As a District Committee member, I have been focusing on getting the word out about participatory budgeting and engaging our district’s diverse communities in this process. Although the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity getting ready for the neighborhood assemblies, our outreach efforts have targeted a number of communities. Read more »

Self-government's appeal

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
10/03/2012

So who knows our neighborhood needs better than we do? A rhetorical question, of course, but one that gets at the heart of a City Council initiative called Participatory Budgeting.

In 2011-2012, Brad Lander was one of four NYC Councilmembers leading their districts in a program first hatched in Brazil and launched in this country in Chicago. The success of the actions taken in NYC’s four forward-thinking districts led to the program’s doubling—eight councilmembers, representing over one million New Yorkers, have dedicated a total of at least $10 million in NYC discretionary capital funds for the 2012-2013 program. It is we, the constituents, who decide how the money is spent. Read more »

Participatory Budgeting is Back

One year ago, we started an experiment: to give New Yorkers the power to decide how to spend $1 million of their tax dollars on projects in the neighborhood.

That experiment, Participatory Budgeting, was a huge success. Over 3,000 people participated, we received nearly a thousand ideas for projects in the community, and our small voting sites were overwhelmed with eager residents wanting to be part of what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action.” The seven projects with the most votes – projects for local schools, libraries, parks, and streets – received City funding and are moving forward.

Now we are starting again, with another $1 million and your great ideas. Read more »

Back to (Our) Schools

This morning, over 1 million kids (including my two) head back to New York City’s public schools.

Despite the often-contentious rhetoric surrounding education policy these days, our public schools for me remain the shining hope of American democracy: that we all work together – through government, with our tax dollars – to invest heavily in the idea that every single kid deserves an equal opportunity to learn and grow, that diversity is a core strength, that we help individuals achieve their potential through collective action, and that knowledge, ideas, and the search for truth matter. Those are not the values of the marketplace (though good education is certainly essential to a thriving economy); they are the values of democracy. Read more »

Better transit service - because we worked together

I’m very pleased to report that the MTA – in response to our advocacy – is improving transit service in our neighborhood.

As you’ve probably heard, the MTA has agreed to make the G train 5-stop extension to Church Avenue permanent. The G extension has increased the number of trains running along the Culver line through Kensington, Windsor Terrace, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and connecting our neighborhoods to Downtown Brooklyn and North Brooklyn. Thousands of people raised their voice in support of Brooklyn’s “Crosstown Local,” and the MTA heard us. Read more »

A city budget we can be proud of

The City Council and Mayor Bloomberg reached an agreement this week on New York City’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget – one that invests in our kids and preserves funding for vital public services.

The City’s $68.7 billion budget is a statement of our priorities, and I am proud that those priorities reflect a deep belief in education (public schools continue to be the largest item by far), in core public services and infrastructure that make sure we have safe and vibrant communities, and in a strong safety net for those who need it (young, old, and in-between).

I’m also excited that, for the first time, the City’s budget includes items that you selected, through participatory budgeting. The seven items – totaling $1 million – that more than 2,200 of you voted for in March are being officially adopted as part of the City’s capital budget this week … and we’re launching a new webpage to keep you posted on their progress. Read more »