If you support giving residents a voice in how the 50th Ward’s menu money is spent, please go to change.org and sign the petition “Bring Participatory Budgeting to the 50th Ward.”
All ward residents over the age of 14 as well as business owners are eligible to participate in the PB process and therefore may sign the petition.
A 2015 attempt to get a non-binding referendum on the ballot in support of PB in the 50th Ward failed because we did not have enough time to secure the required number of signatures; it didn’t help that the law was unclear about whether the percentage of signatures required applied to each precinct or the entire Ward. The alderman’s forces challenged that petition, and the challenger was represented at the CBOE hearing by the alderman’s attorney. His participation at least clarified that the required percentage applied to the entire ward and not individual precincts, which would have made our task easier. The wording of the petition was also challenged, so determined were the Alderman’s forces to defeat the idea of community input.
This time around, there won’t be any attempt to get the petition on the ballot. Instead, the petition will be presented to all candidates for 50th Ward alderman in the 2019 election. Candidates Andrew Rowlas and Jason Honig have already indicated their support for PB in the 50th, while Alderman Silverstein has steadfastly resisted any attempts at citizen input in Ward decision-making.
PB is open to all residents over age 14 and also business owners within the ward. Therefore, we invite all residents over age 14 and all business owners who support having a voice in the ward’s menu money spending to add their names to the petition.
50th Ward Follies will be arranging a screening of the documentary “Count Me In,” a history of participatory budgeting in Chicago, during the campaign season. The film has been broadcast on WTTW, and chronicles the PB experience in various wards in Chicago.
Among the projects funded through PB in other wards are community gardens, refurbished playgrounds, water fountains, and bus stop benches as well as tree plantings and other beautification initiatives.
For more information on PB, visit the Web site for the Greater Cities Institute at UIC.
The history of the PB referendum in the 50th can be found in 2015 posts on this blog