Cobble Hill

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 »

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 »

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 »