Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn’t Every Council Member Doing It?
by Colin O'Connor, Oct 23, 2015
In four years participatory budgeting has exploded from four to 27 New York City Council districts. With over 51,000 voters casting ballots last cycle to allocate a total of $32 million dollars to projects across the city, New York‘s experiment in direct democracy has quickly become the largest of its kind in North America.
When the socialites joining Mayor de Blasio at last night’s gala fundraiser rolled up to Gracie Mansion and descended from their black SUVs, it’s possible that they heard a distant clamor from across East End Avenue, where about 100 residents of public housing, corralled into a cattle pen of police barricades, were staging a protest.
More than 100 angry public housing tenants marched Tuesday on Gracie Mansion, shouting protest slogans as well-heeled contributors pulled up in limousines to attend Mayor de Blasio’s gala fund-raising dinner for what he calls “the People’s House.”
The tenants marched eight blocks south from Holmes Towers, where NYCHA plans to put up 400 apartments on what it calls an “underutilized” playground. Half the units will be affordable, but half will be offered at market rate — far more than NYCHA tenants could afford.