Participatory Budgeting Enters its Second Year in District 8

It seems like only yesterday when we were finishing up our first year implementing the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. We had a fantastic turn-out – hundreds of local residents came out to vote for project ideas that were developed by the community, from a Meals-on-Wheels van for seniors to playground renovations for youth. We are excited to announce that we are entering our second year of the PB process. Last year was such a success, some even say “revolutionary,” that four more Council Members have signed on to bring the program to their communities. Through the PB process, community members will directly decide how to spend at least 1 million dollars in capital funds in each of the eight participating districts. Typically, this funding is distributed at the exclusive discretion of Council Members but this year 1.3 million residents of these eight districts will have an opportunity to brainstorm, shape and vote on capital projects in their district.

Have something you’re passionate about? Want to get involved? Our offices, along with PBNYC, will be hosting numerous neighborhood assemblies. Whether you simply want to learn more about the PB process or submit your ideas for projects that you’re passionate about and will make a difference in our community, the neighborhood assemblies are the venues to do so.

Come join us at a Neighborhood Assembly. We even have a specialized one just for seniors and one just for youth (14 to 24 years old). Food & Spanish translation will be provided at all assemblies.

Thursday, September 20th – 10 AM to 12 Noon
* Special Assembly for Seniors
SCAN La Guardia – 307 E. 116th St (@ 2nd Ave)

Tuesday, September 25th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Frederick Douglass Center – 885 Columbus Ave (@ 104th St)

Saturday, September 29th – 11 AM to 1:30 PM
Draper Hall – 1918 1st Ave (@ 99th St)

Thursday, October 4th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Millbrook Community Center – 201 St. Ann’s Ave (@ 137th St)

Thursday, October 11th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Red Oak Apartments – 135 W. 106th St (@ Columbus)

Tuesday, October 16th – 4:30 PM to 7 PM
* Special Assembly for Young People, Ages 14-24
Children’s Aid Society – 130 E. 101st St (@ Lexington)

Wednesday, October 17th – 6:30 PM to 9 PM
Harlem United El Faro Day Center – 179 East 116th St (btwn Lexington & 3rd)

Here is your chance to be heard and make a difference. See you there!

If you are interested in taking part or have any questions or suggestions, email us at mmvbudget@gmail.com. Click here for our PB Page that includes the outcomes from last year’s vote. General information about the citywide PB process is available at www.pbnyc.org and you can find their rulebook here.

The lead community partner in this project is El Barrio/East Harlem-based Community Voices Heard and the lead technical assistance partner is the Participatory Budgeting Project.

Fiscal Year 2013 Discretionary Funding Process

The application process for Fiscal Year 2013 discretionary funding is now available on the Budget section of our blog.  Please visit www.mmviverito.com/budget for the latest info on deadlines, application forms and other requirements. 

For more information please contact Joe at 212-788-6960 or jtaranto@council.nyc.gov.

It’s Time to Decide Where $1 Million is Spent in Our Communities

In less than two months, the participatory budgeting (PB) process will conclude with District 8 residents finally voting on how to spend at least $1 million on infrastructure projects to improve our community.  For more information on the process thus far, links to all the project ideas that were submitted, and more visit our PB in District 8 page.

Sunday, March 25th and Saturday, March 31st will be the official voting days for PB, with other mobile voting locations to be announced.  Times, locations and other details are coming soon.  But before the vote, we must begin by taking the time to inform ourselves about the options that will be available to us on the ballots.

Come and learn more at this month’s neighborhood assemblies. Please click here to RSVP!

Wednesday, February 15th at 6:30 PM
Children’s Aid Society
130 E. 101st Street

Thursday, February 16th at 6:30 PM
Youth Hostel
891 Amsterdam Avenue

Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30 PM
Betances Senior Center
401 St. Ann’s Avenue

Translation in Spanish will be available and refreshments will be served.

Community residents have been refining the ideas generated at the October-November public meetings into concrete proposals for the past three months.  You’ll be amazed by what they’ve come up with.  Make sure to join us!  For more information contact Max Cantarero at mmvbudget@gmail.com or (212) 828-9800.

You can also print out a flyer to show your neighbors.

New Year. More Progress.

Dear Friend:

I hope your holidays were both restful and full of cheer. As I looked back at our community’s many accomplishments in 2011, I couldn’t help but reflect on how hard we worked and how much it paid off.  In the coming year, I look forward to continuing to expand even further on the progress we are making in District 8.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for our community?  Please leave them in the comments section below!

Last year, we engaged directly with local residents to help shape the future of our community.  The El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force, which was convened by my office, released its official platform, a plan to bring peace to our streets that was created in conjunction with our community’s youth.  Soon after the release of our platform, NYCHA finally opened the Johnson Center after over 10 years of community struggle.  Our community was also one of four in the city to take a major step towards democracy in 2011 as my office began implementing a Participatory Budgeting (PB) process in Council District 8. Through PB, community residents will decide how to allocate $1 million in discretionary funds towards capital projects of their choosing.

For our older residents, my office continued to make progress on developing El Barrio/East Harlem’s Age Improvement District, by working with the City to launch Senior Pool Hours at Jefferson Pool and to unveil several new benches on our sidewalks, which will provide a resting place for older adults as they walk outside.

And let’s not forget the citywide and national efforts to which we have contributed.  Like so many of you, I have became more motivated than ever to pursue economic and social justice in our community and our city. I marched alongside thousands of Occupy Wall Street protestors and was arrested for civil disobedience as a way of making a statement on the unconscionable level of economic inequality in our society. I was also proud to sponsor and see passed into law a bill that will help protect undocumented New York City residents from detention and deportation, which will help keep more families united.

Our accomplishments in 2011 have set the bar for a great 2012. We’re starting off on the right foot by celebrating Chinese New Year with our Chinese neighbors this month (more details to come). From there, the work continues. After another round of public meetings in February, we will hold the official Public Vote for the Participatory Budgeting process in late March.  And of course my office and the organizations that make up the Youth Violence Task Force will continue to lead the fight for safer streets, as we seek funding to implement the recommendations from our platform. In the coming months, I will also be fighting against City budget cuts and to bring more resources to our neighborhoods.

And as always, I will continue to be active on local issues of importance across our district.  Exciting and challenging times are ahead.

Please don’t forget to take a moment to share your New Year’s Resolutions for our community by leaving a comment below!

All the very best,
Melissa

The Governor’s Plan to Make Our State’s Tax Structure More Progressive

We all breathed a sigh of relief when Governor Cuomo announced NY State’s new progressive income tax last week. The State was facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit that endangered vital social services and would have led to more layoffs at a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet. Under the Governor’s proposal, which has now been passed by the State Senate 55-0, the budget deficit will become far more manageable.

Yet, we have more work to do. Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the Senate and Assembly deserve credit for putting aside their differences, working together and remembering that a more progressive tax system is critical to putting our state in a better financial position. But NY State will still face a $1.5 billion deficit next year, and we have received no indication that our schools, parks, hospitals, and public housing will be shielded from the cuts. These institutions, along with many others, are invaluable, especially in hard times like the ones we are facing now. We cannot allow resources to be driven away from these essential resources.

Send Governor Cuomo a message. Remind him that we still need revenues and that cuts to our vital services are not acceptable.

I had been very vocal in my criticism of the Governor when he came out against the extension of the Millionaire’s Tax, which in my view made New York fairer. Last week, I set my criticism aside and I am happy to say that I stand in support of this new plan to invest in our state’s economy. Yes, I would have rather seen the Millionaire’s Tax extended, but it is nevertheless gratifying to know that Governor Cuomo agrees that those who earn more ought to contribute more to our State in furtherance of a more just society. I am particularly encouraged by the commitment to invest in jobs for our youth, which are so desperately needed in communities like ours.

The Governor has come a long way in recognizing that New York’s tax system has been unfair for many years. I believe he can come a bit further.

Let’s push Governor Cuomo a little further to the left. Ask for more revenues and less cuts.

Sincerely,
Melissa

District 8 Participatory Budgeting Project Idea List Now Available Online

Young people generate project ideas at our Youth Assembly (Oct. 25, 2011).

Following seven neighborhood assemblies held during the month of October as well as a period of submissions through our online platform, we are pleased to share with you the final list of participatory budgeting (PB) project ideas from Council District 8.  This list will be made available to the dozens of budget delegates who have signed up to help formalize these project ideas into concrete proposals.

All of the ideas, sorted by committee, are available at http://tinyurl.com/pbideas8.  This list will be updated on a regular basis as we receive new updates from delegate committees.

Over 550 individual ideas were submitted as part of this brainstorming process.  As you will see, suggested projects range from new technology for schools to park renovations and security cameras for NYCHA developments, among many others.  While some of the suggested projects are not eligible under PB because they do not require capital funding, our office will look into these ideas to see if there are other mechanisms available to bring them to life.

Budget delegates will officially begin meeting next week and will start reviewing the project list.  If you are still interested in becoming a budget delegate, there may still be time to get up to speed.  Please reach out to mmvbudget@council.nyc.gov for more information.

Submit Project Ideas Online for Participatory Budgeting

Missed our Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assemblies? We are excited to announce that project ideas for the process can now be submitted online! On a webpage created by our partners at the Project for Public Spaces, you can suggest ideas which will appear on a map. You can also view others’ ideas and comment on them.  Because we are moving ahead quickly through the process, only those ideas that are submitted this week (before the end of the day on Sunday, November 20th) will be guaranteed to be presented to budget delegate committees.

Click here to visit the idea submission webpage.

Remember: Council Member Mark-Viverito has pledged $1 million in capital funds for the participatory budgeting process in our community. Project ideas should be for capital (infrastructure) projects in our district, and should serve the needs of members of our community.  For some examples of capital projects, click here.

We hope you will take advantage of this final opportunity to brainstorm ideas for inclusion in this process.  Budget delegates will soon be working hard to formulate these ideas into budget proposals for our community vote in March.

Please stay updated on the participatory budgeting process by visiting www.pbnyc.org.

Autumn Updates from the City Council’s Progressive Caucus

As you may know, Melissa serves as the Co-Chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.  Read the latest on what the Caucus has been up to in the Autumn updates below.


The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is excited to report on the work that we’ve been doing and to spread the word about upcoming events. It’s been a busy autumn, and we have a lot of news to share!

Receive this update from a friend? Sign up for our e-mail list.

Want a daily dose of the Progressive Caucus? Follow us on Twitter (
@nycprogressives), like us on Facebook, or visit our website!


Updates on The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act

Save the Date: Many Voices, One Goal
The Progressive Caucus will be joining Living Wage NYC and faith, labor and community leaders to call for passage of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act on Monday, November 21 at 6:30pm. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors and join us at Riverside Church!

Date Set for Public Hearing on the Living Wage
The City Council will be holding a public hearing on the revised living wage legislation on November 22 [10am at 49-51 Chambers Street]. The changes to the bill focus in on the main target of the legislation: large-scale retail developments. We’re looking forward to discussing the amended bill and taking the next step toward implementing this landmark legislation.

Supporting Occupy Wall Street
The Occupy Wall Street movement has captured the attention and imagination of our city and country. Members of the Progressive Caucus have joined the chorus of elected officials, labor leaders and our community allies in amplifying the call to action and invoking the right to freedom of speech and assembly. Read this recent op-ed in support of Occupy Wall Street by Councilmember Jumaane Williams.

Occupy for Education Election Day Rally
In response to overcrowded classrooms and cuts to vital programs, parents and educators are calling on the Governor to renew the millionaire’s tax and save our schools! On Election Day, members of the Progressive Caucus will be joining a rally organized by activist parents at Governor Cuomo’s New York City office (633 3rd Ave).  Come out on Tuesday, November 8th at 3:30pm to show your support!

In favor of a fair share tax, but can’t make it to the rally? E-mail Governor Cuomo today to say that you’re counting on him to do the right thing for New York’s working families!

Center for Working Families 2011 Policy Conference

The Progressive Caucus is a co-convener of this year’s Center for Working Families’ annual policy conference, which brings together advocates, organizers, policy makers and legislators to discuss progressive solutions to New York State’s most pressing problems. This year’s conference will feature a keynote address by Barbara Ehrenreich and discussions and workshops about green jobs, voter owned elections and progressive taxation. RSVP to join us on December 2nd!

City Council Holds Oversight Hearing on NYPD’s Intelligence Operations
The Progressive Caucus joined members of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus, the Brennan Center for Justice, community groups, and civil rights advocates on October 6 to raise concerns about the New York Police Department’s infiltration of our local Muslim community and to call for more oversight of the NYPD’s intelligence operations. The Progressive Caucus actively participated in the City Council hearing that followed the joint press conference, and will continue to monitor this issue.

Rebuild the Dream

The Progressive Caucus has joined progressive organizations nation-wide in signing on as a partner to Rebuild the Dream, a hub for the emerging American Dream Movement. Rebuild the Dream recently worked with thousands of Americans to create the Contract for the American Dream, and supports many of the ongoing efforts to fulfill that dream here in New York. We’re excited to be a part of this movement.

Make the Road New York Marches Against Stop and Frisk

On October 13, members of the Progressive Caucus joined Make the Road New York in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to call for an end to discriminatory policing, particularly stop and frisk. Councilmembers and advocates called for more accountability and transparency from the NYPD and an end to racially biased police practices.

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Contact the Progressive Caucus at nyccprogresscaucus@gmail.com

Tell Us What You Want to Build in Your Neighborhood – In a Video!

As part of our new Participatory Budgeting initiative, a contest has been launched where you can create a video to share how you would spend $1 million to improve our community.  All of those who create a video will be entered into a raffle to win a Flip video camera!  All contest details are below, as well as some tips for those who may be new to making videos.  Please read the instructions carefully and upload your submission before the November 21st deadline.

You have a chance to decide how to spend $1 million to improve your neighborhood. What do you want?

Tell us in a video.  Deadline November 21.

Participatory Budgeting is a new and different way to make decisions about publically funded infrastructure projects in your neighborhood.

If you or someone you know has ideas about how things could work better in these districts – make a video and let us know!  All eligible ideas submitted by November 21 will be considered. 

Here’s How You Can Participate

  • Read and follow the rules
  • Create a 30 second to 3 minute video about how you would spend $1 million to improve infrastructure in one of the four districts
  • Upload your video to YouTube and tag it pbnyc (very important to tag it!)
  • Send us an email at pb@artsanddemocracy.org with your contact info and the name of the video that you uploaded and tagged. Everyone who uploads a video will be entered into a raffle for a Flip video camera, so make sure to send us your info!
  • Submit your video by November 21

There is a Video Workshop to Help You Out

November 7 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Brooklyn Community Access TV (BCAT) studio 232 Third Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn at the Old American Can Factory. RSVP required rsvp@artsanddemocracy.org (space is limited, first come first served)

For more information

contact pb@artsanddemocracy.org

Rules

  • Videos should be no longer than 3 minutes – shorter is great!
  • Capital projects only: that’s money for physical improvements that benefit the public like rebuilding a street, renovating a park, installing benches or street lights, or trash cans, repairing buildings, or buying computers or equipment for a school or community center.
  • Any music used must have the permission of the artist or be available via a Creative Commons license (see https://creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos). Or create your own music!
  • By tagging your video pbnyc you agree to allow the Arts & Democracy Project, Participatory Budgeting Project, and the City Councilmembers to use your video for educational purposes and feature on their websites.
  • Projects need to be within the four City Council districts: District 8, Manhattan/Bronx, Districts 39 and 45 in Brooklyn and District 32 in Queens. Check http://pbnyc.org to see what neighborhoods are in these districts.
  • Videos need to be submitted by November 30 for your ideas to be considered this year.

Tips

  • Plan ahead. Even if your idea is simple, think through how you want to do it before you start recording. If your idea is more complex, write out a script or a storyboard.
  • Make sure you have enough light, especially if you are shooting indoors.
  • If you are recording sound with your camera mic, make sure there are no background noises and then make sure that the person speaking is loud and clear.
  • Make sure you can see everything/everyone in the shot before you start recording.

Resources

Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee & the National Priorities Project for sharing their resources and inspiring this project!

First Neighborhood Assembly Held Last Night, Six More to Go!

Over 120 District 8 community members joined us at our first participatory budgeting neighborhood assembly to begin the process of deciding how to allocate $1 million in funding for our district. There are six more of these assemblies to go! The next assembly will be at the Youth Hostel on Amsterdam Ave and 104th Street on Tuesday, October 11th at 6:30 pm. All dates and locations are available here.

After time for food and getting to know one another, participants learned more about what the participatory budgeting process entails and what types of projects are eligible. They were then broken up into small groups where the brainstorming process began. Project ideas included increasing lighting on our streets, installing larger and taller trash cans and painting new murals in the community.

More than 25 people signed up to be budget delegates, who will help us form the ideas generated throughout the process into concrete proposals that the community will vote on in March 2012.

Have a great idea for a project? Want to get involved and serve as a budget delegate? Join as at one of the six remaining assemblies this month. The dates and locations are below. We’re still looking for volunteers to help carry out this process as well (you can sign up to volunteer at http://tinyurl.com/pbvolunteer). 

A huge thanks to Yorkville Common Pantry for hosting last night’s assembly, and also to Community Board 11, Children’s Aid Society, Community Voices Heard, Violence Intervention Program, the Participatory Budgeting Project and everyone else from the District 8 Committee who was instrumental in making the event a success! And of course thanks to all who participated last night.

Please continue to spread the word so we can make sure to pack the house at all of the upcoming neighborhood assemblies.

Tuesday, October 11th – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Youth Hostel
891 Amsterdam Ave @ 104th Street
English with Spanish Translation
 
Wednesday, October 12th – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Crystal Ball Room at Taino Towers
2382 2nd Ave (btwn 2nd and 3rd Aves), 4th Floor
English with Spanish Translation
 
Wednesday, October 19th – 9:30 am to 12 noon
Union Settlement (237 E. 104th Street)
English with Spanish Translation
Note: This assembly will be geared toward seniors.
 
Thursday, October 20th – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Children’s Aid Society Frederick Douglass Center
885 Columbus Ave (@ 104th Street)
English with Spanish Translation
 
Monday, October 24th – 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Millbrook Community Center
201 St. Ann’s Ave (@ 137th Street) – Bronx
English with Spanish Translation
 
Tuesday, October 25th – 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Children’s Aid Society
130 E. 101st Street (@ Lexington Ave)
English Only
Note: This assembly will be geared toward youth.