Looking Back on Our Second Year of Participatory Budgeting

Melissa unveiled the 2012-2013 Participatory Budgeting (PB) vote results for the 8th Council District on Monday evening at a celebration featuring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto. In response to the growing participation and excitement around the process in its second year, Melissa nearly doubled her initial commitment of $1 million to the process. This year, 1,770 District 8 residents voted in the process, as compared to just over 1,000 last year.

The $1.9 million in projects funded through PB for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget are:

  1. Security cameras for Douglass, East River, Johnson and Millbrook houses — 964 votes
  2. New Laptops for 9 Schools in District 8– 857 votes
  3. Technology Centers for Seniors and Youth — 706 votes
  4. Mobile cooking classroom for SMART  (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment)   — 534 votes
  5. Solar powered Greenhouse — 533 votes
  6. Hoops by the River — upgrade Jefferson B-ball Courts — 501 votes

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“I could not be more thrilled with the level of participation or the results,” Melissa said. “The winning projects are a reflection of the community’s concerns about public health, safety, youth, seniors and public parks. I thank all of our incredible partners in this process including Community Voices Heard, the Participatory Budgeting Project and the budget delegates for their hard work throughout the process.”

The tireless dedication and commitment from the community volunteers, otherwise known as ‘budget delegates’, was truly inspiring. Delegates came together from all different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds to work as a team of urban planners, community organizers, and decision-makers. Together they analyzed hundreds of project ideas, and through a long and grueling process they narrowed them down to twenty-one project proposals to address a wide variety of community needs such as more access to technology in our public schools, senior-friendly spaces, safe public housing, quality recreational spaces, transportation improvements, community gardens and urban agriculture.

One story that stands out in this process was the engagement of formerly incarcerate youth of color who worked on the education committee and developed one of the winning project proposals for new computers and technology in local schools. Another is that of Susan Rodriguez who works with SMART (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/ HIV Research and Treatment), who has been very concerned about public health and the lack of nutritious food options in her community.

“First of all, just meeting and speaking with the Mayor of San Juan and knowing that she wants to bring PB to her city was one of the highlights of the evening!” said Rodriguez.  “Of course, I was overjoyed when SMART’s Mobile Cooking Classroom won and I thank everyone who came out to vote! This has been an extraordinary process for me, meeting and working with other budget delegates, community organizers and residents, especially in Millbrook Houses/Mott Haven, and learning how to make our community and city the best it can be.”

Last year, which was the first year of PBNYC, Ray Figueroa proposed a solar-powered greenhouse to teach urban agriculture to court-involved youth in the South Bronx, but it did not receive enough votes to win. This year however, the greenhouse pulled through.

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“Participatory Budgeting re-enfranchises the dis-enfranchised,” said Figueroa. “It reaches out to the most marginalized residents in the most underserved sectors of our community and honors them as the experts of our community.  Participatory Budgeting respects their human dignity in this regard, and, by so doing, helps to galvanize their sense of ownership as community stakeholders and re-defines what it means to be civically engaged.”

DSC_0437The last winning project with 501 votes, was the Jefferson Park basketball courts which have not been renovated in decades. These courts are heavily used by the Hoops by the River basketball league, run by Will Kelly and his son, Will Kelly II. “It is wonderful that we were able to mobilize our youth and community residents to finally make these much needed safety upgrades to this court,” said Kelly. “This way we can run a quality league and expand our work to combat youth violence and promote health.”

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More information on all of this year’s projects is available here

The full voting tally is available here.

And The Winners Are…

We want to thank everyone that participated in PB this year, whether you volunteered, were a delegate, voted or even talked about the PB process to a neighbor. It’s because of District 8’s participation that our second year of PB was such a great success. And because of that, Melissa decided to allocate a whopping $1.9 million to the projects that were chosen and voted on by you, the people.

Last night Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto spoke at our Participatory Budgeting Unveiling Celebration. We were thrilled to hear her affirm that she would be launching the first PB process  in San Juan, Puerto Rico soon; where select areas in the city would decide on how to spend $1.5 million. Stay tuned in the coming days  for photos and reflections on the PB celebration and the Mayor’s visit. 

So without further ado, we are proud to present the winning projects:

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PB Celebration PPT_tech

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Total Vote Counts:

7. Play for All: PS 155 Playground Renovation (#1 – 416 Votes)
8. Air Conditioning Wiring for PS 72 (#9 – 362 Votes)
9. SMART Board Technology for Schools (#8 – 355 Votes)
10. Lighting Upgrade in Douglass (#5 – 353 Votes)
11. Auditorium Upgrade at Manhattan Center HS (#10 – 307 Votes)
12. Upgrades for Gaylord White Senior Center (#15 -304 Votes)
13. Peaceful Valley Community Garden (#3 – 301 Votes)
14. Playground Upgrades at Washington (#6 – 285 Votes)
15. New Fitness Equipment for Cherry Tree Park (#14 – 278 Votes)
16. Safety Upgrades at the Heckscher Building (#13 – 231 Votes)
17. History/Media Lab for PS 171 (#11 – 215 votes)
18. Backyard Renovations for UPACA 6 (#16 – 199 votes)
19. Layered Access at UPACA 6 (#17 – 148 votes)
20. New Subway Canopy (#21 – 139 votes)
21. Multi-Media Information Kiosks (#20 – 106 votes)

Join Us for the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, with Special Guest San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto

PBNYC vote image small_1It has been a great week in District 8, with hundreds of community members coming out to vote for projects that they believe in. If you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, there’s still time – check out the list of voting sites and times on our PB site, www.mmviverito.com/pbnycTo conclude the weeklong voting process, the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, unveiling the winning projects, will be held on Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue).

We are very excited to announce that our Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration will feature a very special guest, San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.  As you may remember, Melissa had the honor to deliver the keynote at her inauguration. Mayor Carmen Yulín  has pledged to implement a PB process in San Juan and is coming to see how the process works in our district.

“It is an incredible honor for me to welcome such an incredible woman and inspiring leader to our city for the first time since being elected Mayor of San Juan,” said Council Member Mark-Viverito. “Mayor Carmen Yulín is bringing a new style of democracy to San Juan. I am truly excited that she has committed to roll out a PB process in the city, which will help bring transparency and direct public input in how the government allocates resources. I look forward to continued collaboration with the Mayor’s administration in continuing to strengthen ties between our two cities and across the Puerto Rican diaspora.”

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Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

WHATSecond Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration
WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, PBNYC, and Community Voices Heard
WHEN: Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE:  Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue)
RSVP: mmvbudget@gmail.com or (212) 828-9800

Participatory Budgeting: Join Us At An Upcoming Project Expo

We are about to enter the third phase of the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process – Project Expos. In the first phase, we held seven neighborhood assemblies, which were attended by hundreds of community members and where we gathered even more great ideas on how to spend $1 million in District 8. Then in the second phase, the budget delegates worked hard on turning the ideas you helped generate in our neighborhood assemblies into concrete proposals for a public vote.

Please join us at one of our Project Expos, where our budget delegates will unveil the projects that will appear on the ballot for a public vote this April. This is a great way to learn more about the projects before you cast your vote. Hope to see you there!

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Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

For more information on PB in District 8, visit mmviverito.com/pbnyc.

You Can Still Submit Ideas on How We Should Spend Money in District 8

Just because you missed one of our Participatory Budgeting (PB) neighborhood assemblies doesn’t mean that you can’t brainstorm on ideas on how we should spend capital funding in our district. Please visit District 8′s PBNYC website, created by Project for Public Spaces, where you can submit your ideas, browse other submissions and share your comments. We will be accepting submissions until November 12, 2012 at 9 AM. Anything submitted after 9 AM will not be considered.

District 8 is one of only eight districts in New York City where PB is practiced. 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. This revolutionary process ensures that your voice is heard, so please share with us any proposals you have – and who knows, it may be one of the winners. 

Click here to find out more about the PB overview and process.

Melissa to be a Panelist at Participatory Budgeting Seminar this Thursday

Baruch College will be hosting a free seminar, Participatory Budgeting in New York City: First Year Experience and Future on Thursday, October 18, from 4 to 6 PM. The seminar will present a broad perspective on Participatory Budgeting (PB) in government and discuss the pilot process for the four council districts that participated last year. Melissa will be one of the panelists along with Councilmember Brad Lander, the Project Coordinator of the PB Project, Donata Secondo, and member of the District Committee in the 45th District and Citywide Steering Committee for PB, Hazel Martinez. Although the admission is free, the space is limited so RSVP today.

WHAT: Participatory Budgeting in New York City: First Year Experience and Future Prospects
WHERE: 151 East 25th Street (between Lexington & Third Avenue) – Baruch College Information & Technology Building, Newman Conference Center, 7th Fl, Rm 750
WHEN: Thursday, October 18th – 4 to 6 PM
RSVP here

PICTURE POST: Participatory Budgeting

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Two neighborhood assemblies down and five to go! We’re having a great time conversing with our constituents and brainstorming on potential capital projects that deserve funding in our district. Make sure to join us and have your voice heard at one of the next five assemblies:

Saturday, September 29th – 11 AM to 1:30 PM
Draper Hall – 1880 1st Ave (@ 97th 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)

To find out more about Participatory Budgeting and the process, please click here.

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.