Have you ever thought the American political process is kind of a sham? Does it ever seem that budgetary decisions are usually based on what a wealthy minority and corporations want? Well, you’re mostly right unless you’re a lucky resident of one of the city council districts with participatory budgeting. As a resident of the 36th district, unfortunately I’m outta luck and will have to abide by whatever my representative feels will get him elected again. Sigh. But if you live in Bushwick, Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Coney Island, Borough Park, or Flatbush, then chances are you’ll have the opportunity to vote between April 11th and April 19th.
You may not know it, but if you live in a PB district (there are just eight in Brooklyn total), over the past year residents of your community have been meeting to discuss a list of proposed budget allocations. Starting next week you’ll have the opportunity to vote on the best way to spend your piece of the the $25 million pie. That’s one seriously fatty stuffed pastry.
But wait, do you even know your district number? Your city council representative? It’s OK, we won’t tell anyone. You can totally find out here if your district has PB and while you’re at it, find out who the hell your representative is anyway. Make sure to bring an acceptable form of identification too, y’all. And keep in mind that kids as young as 14 can vote in some districts—verify that here.
Some of the budget allocations up for vote include resurfacing a basketball court in Williamsburg, upgrading technology at PS 81 in Bushwick, more turnstiles at the 7th Avenue F and G station, Coney Island Library renovations, fixing a sidewalk in Flatbush (“Help us to protect the humans and animals who travel down that street”), and installing public WiFi in Red Hook. A map of all the budget proposals on the district ballots can be found here.
This is all little stuff to be sure, but fixing micro-issues that are a bother to your block, your community, and finding small ways to improve education for kids in your district and beautify public spaces are ways to make your district a nicer place to live for everyone.