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Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Wed May 25, 2011 8:10 am

Bad Gradger wrote:Bold prediction: A "participatory" budget will restore 3/4 of any cuts the Mayor proposes, recommend hiking the mill rate well past the referendum threshold, and be of minimal help to the City Council.


I'm confused by this whole thread. Are you and others talking about this (mayor's idea to include the public)
http://www.forwardlookout.com/2011/05/a ... -you/10874

or this (discussion at CCOC)
http://www.forwardlookout.com/2011/05/c ... ting/10952

or this (email Rummel sent out)?
http://www.forwardlookout.com/2011/05/p ... ison/10862

The mayor is seeking input into his own budget. The participatory budgeting thing won't happen this year, there isn't enough time, but there may be efforts to get more input. Why is that bad? Ultimately, the council members decide to follow the input or not.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 25, 2011 8:54 am

Point of information:
When you speak before the council, you always fill out a form beforehand and part of that form requires you to disclose if you are lobbying or being paid to represent something/someone. If you are speaking on your own behalf as a citizen, that's like the default and you leave the lobbying part blank.

If some of the committees aren't doing this now, it wouldn't be hard to have them start.

Why would anyone be offended or alarmed by the possibility of more public input into the city's processes? Input can come from all sides, it's not just for PD people. For instance, if something was proposed that would affect owners of lakeshore property, you can be sure they'd show up.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 25, 2011 8:59 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:'m confused by this whole thread.


So now I'm confused. The thread was about participatory budgeting then you linked to the mayors idea, not the other discussions about participatory budgeting.

According to the participatory budgeting website:

http://www.ward49.com/participatory-budgeting

After several months of meetings, the Steering Committee developed a process and timetable that culminated in a ward-wide election in April, 2010, when over 1,600 49th Ward residents voted on the 49th Ward infrastructure spending priorities for 2010.


I saw no discussion of this idea from your first link.

So people in the ward voted for the spending priorities, yet you just stated:

Brenda Konkel wrote:Ultimately, the council members decide to follow the input or not.


So how is that participatory budgeting? Not to mention this was done in a ward and not an entire city. If it's about citizens input then there should be a citywide vote. If it's just about ideas, don't alders already have neighborhood meetings where people can present their suggestions.

Brenda Konkel wrote: The participatory budgeting thing won't happen this year, there isn't enough time, but there may be efforts to get more input. Why is that bad?


Public input is not bad. I guess at this point I'll want more details how it's going to work because so far I'm very skeptical.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Wed May 25, 2011 9:17 am

Agreed, I added to the confusion by saying that the mayor's thing wasn't quite participatory budgeting, but it was a step towards it. Participatory budgeting is more specific and my guess is done a little differently in different places. I wouldn't call the mayor's idea participatory budgeting, but its a step towards it. And its lightyears away from Mayor Daves announced-last-minute "public hearings" in August when everyone is gone on vacation. Involving the committees is a HUGE first step, and including the public in a meaningful way is also HUGE. Given he's been in office a little over a month, its tremendous progress. Participatory budgeting would be another HUGE step.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 25, 2011 9:41 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:and including the public in a meaningful way is also HUGE.


Maybe I missed it, but has it been formally announced how the public will be involved in a "meaningful" way. To me it just seems that they are brainstorming now. Like I said, I may not have read close enough. Jibber Jabber on a blog isn't the same as an official public announcement how it will all work. And if it's not publicly announced, then you have a bunch of insiders attending these meetings without REAL public opinion.

I've seen a lot of great ideas fall by the wayside, so lets not put the cart before the horse.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Wed May 25, 2011 10:37 am

The mayor announced what he was going to do at that meeting. WSJ reported on it. Cap Times reporter was there too. And me. I don't think any other media was there. But then again, they never are. Is that the new test, if the media isn't there, it didn't happen cuz its only on city channel and reported on a blog? If so, we're in trouble. You've seen what has happened to the media in this town. They only show up for the Edgewater or Overture or the first 15 minutes of budget night.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby swimmingupstream » Wed May 25, 2011 10:55 am

Brenda, if "participatory budgeting" is just a fancy word for getting more public input then fine. But I believe some, including yourself, are envisioning this as more than that. It is pretty clear that the idea is that a group of unelected individuals, who are willing to to endure a lengthy public process and learn the budget, will have some kind of formal role in the decision making process with the council ultimately ratifying. As I pointed out in my first post this would strongly skew power to some communities and groups and not others.

Brenda, did anyone bring up providing childcare at all of these meetings? If you are working class and have kids, you are not going to be hiring a baby sitter on multiple nights in order to attend these meetings. It is a huge barrier in participation for poor people with kids. I would guess this was not recognized because most of the alders do not have children. So I would be interested in knowing if this even came up at the meetings that have discussed this. Any information you could provide would be appreciated.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Wed May 25, 2011 11:13 am

All the discussion I have heard are posted on my blog at this point. There were probably many others outside the public venues. If you are interested in free childcare email allalders@cityofmadison.com or psoglin@cityofmadison.com. Your argument is with them, not me. I believe participatory budgeting, done right, would have childcare available, but then again, we aren't there yet. It'd be cool if we had a budget to provide it for all city meetings. Meanwhile, they are designing a system for this year's budget.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 25, 2011 11:29 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:The mayor announced what he was going to do at that meeting. WSJ reported on it. Cap Times reporter was there too. And me. I don't think any other media was there. But then again, they never are.


Alright, if this is such a HUGE deal, where is the press release:

http://www.cityofmadison.com/news/index.cfm?a=8

If this is such a HUGE deal, why didn't these papers write more about it. If they really want this to be participatory, then the council and Mayor have an obligation to get the word out. If the media doesn't think it's a big deal, then they probably won't report on it.

Brenda Konkel wrote:it didn't happen cuz its only on city channel and reported on a blog? If so, we're in trouble.


If that's the only two places it showed up, then we ARE in trouble.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Bad Gradger » Wed May 25, 2011 11:42 am

From Brenda's last blog post:
Participatory budgeting generally involves several basic steps: 1) Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates 2) Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals, with help from experts 3) Community members vote on which proposals to fund 4) The city or institution implements the top proposals

How, exactly, are "budget delegates" different from the city council?
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby swimmingupstream » Wed May 25, 2011 12:02 pm

Bad Gradger wrote:How, exactly, are "budget delegates" different from the city council?

They are not elected.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Brenda Konkel » Wed May 25, 2011 7:11 pm

Bad Gradger wrote:From Brenda's last blog post:
Participatory budgeting generally involves several basic steps: 1) Community members identify spending priorities and select budget delegates 2) Budget delegates develop specific spending proposals, with help from experts 3) Community members vote on which proposals to fund 4) The city or institution implements the top proposals

How, exactly, are "budget delegates" different from the city council?


Actually, that is from an email that Marsha sent, that is information from Lisa Veldran (council staff) sent that she got from wikipedia. I simply reported what was sent out. I'm not sure we want to be relying on wikipedia and I"m not sure that Madison's participatory budgeting will look just like that.

BTW - You can tell I didn't say it because its indented and with a different color background (gray). And, its not from my last blog post. That was from the first blog post on this issue.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby bdog » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:45 pm

swimmingupstream wrote:The remnants of local failed political party, Progressive Dane, is pushing something called “participatory budgeting.” The last PD alder Marsha Rummel has asked the new mayor and council to incorporate it into the budgeting process for this year. The idea is to invite “average” citizens to be at the decision making table helping to make budgetary decisions for the coming year.

In fact participatory budgeting is elitist and undemocratic. Most working class citizens of this city would not be at the decision making table because they can not get time off from their jobs and can not afford to hire babysitters so that they can attend multiple meetings. Most people do not have the time and the wherewithall to learn the budget inside out in order to fully participate. Instead, most average citizens think that they are electing alders and a mayor to make these decisions.

Who would be represented at “Participatory Budgeting” meetings? People who are already politically affluent. It would be the cast of regulars who think they should be running the city but can't seem to get themselves elected in even the most progressive areas of the central city. These meetings would be dominated by downtown Isthmus dwellers who don't have kids to worry about. You can also count on the trust funders being well represented as well. :lol:

It seems that Progressive Dane now can't even win elections on campus or on the near east and west side. Their new strategy now seems to be to do an end run around the council and mayor and try to become the decision makers through undemocratic means.

Uncool.

Case. Closed.
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Re: Participatory Budgeting? Anything but?

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:05 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:The mayor is seeking input into his own budget. The participatory budgeting thing won't happen this year, there isn't enough time,


A year later and:

Biz Beat: Soglin budget closes 9 ice rinks, cuts neighborhood beach lifeguards

Anyone attend the participatory budget meetings this year?
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