The ballots are cast, the votes are counted, and the people have spoken. Attached below are the detailed results of the 2017 Participatory Budgeting Election in the 49th Ward:
Over 2,900 residents of our community cast ballots in the “PB49” election. This represents a 36% increase over last year’s record-breaking turnout and constitutes one of the largest per capita voter turnouts of any participatory budgeting election in the nation!
The voters this year decided that 64% of the $1 million allocated for PB should be devoted to street and alley resurfacing, streetlights, and repairs to sidewalks, curbs, gutters and alley aprons. As a result, four blocks of streets and six alleys will be resurfaced and approximately $177,000 will be devoted to new streetlights and repairs to sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
For the remaining portion of the budget, the voters selected the following:
- One hundred trees planted on City parkways in Rogers Park;
- Installation of a “learning garden”at Gale School, which will be designed to be an innovative model of urban outdoor education;
- Upgrades to the streetlights on Clark Street, including repainting all light posts, installing energy efficient LED bulbs, and attaching ornamental piggy-back lighting to each light post on Clark; and
- New benches inside the heat lamp shelters at the Jarvis, Morse and Loyola Red Line stations.
When I launched the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting process eight years ago, I had high expectations for our amazing neighborhood. The 49th Ward has a proud history of civic engagement, and I knew my constituents would embrace this process.
But the participatory budgeting elections have exceeded even my wildest dreams. They are more than elections. They are community celebrations and an affirmation that people will participate in the civic affairs of their community if given real power to make real decisions.
At a time when our governments are failing us in Washington and Springfield, we in Chicago’s 49th Ward have shown the world what true democracy looks like.
I’m proud to report that our Participatory Budgeting model continues to spread across Chicago and the entire nation. Eight other Chicago aldermen have joined me in adopting Participatory Budgeting in their wards and cities as diverse as Seattle, Washington; Long Beach, California; St Louis, Missouri; and Greensboro, North Carolina, have joined New York City; Boston, Massachusetts; and Vallejo, California in adopting “PB.”
This is a people-powered process from beginning to end. From the initial planning stages to its final implementation, the process is driven by scores of community volunteers. I extend my deepest gratitude to the members of the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Leadership Committee and the 49th Ward residents who volunteered countless hours as “Community Representatives.”
I especially want to acknowledge 49th Ward residents Roberta “Bobbie” Patzold, Kang Chiu, and Jeremy Leithold-Patt, who co-chaired the Leadership Committee and devoted countless volunteer hours to ensuring the success of our initiative.
And kudos to my 49th Ward Service Office staff–especially Cecilia Salinas, who is my lead staff coordinator for the Participatory Budgeting process, Kevin O’Neil, my chief-of-staff, and Wayne Frazier,who oversees ward infrastructure projects. Bob Fuller, Michael Land, and Ann Hinterman of my staff also pitched in to support the work of the Leadership Committee and community representatives.
For the second year in a row, PB49 voters were able to cast their ballots online thanks to the able assistance of Stanford University Professor Ashish Goel and his Stanford Crowdsourced Democracy Team. We hope to use Stanford’s expertise in digital technology to expand voter participation even more in future elections.
I also wish to extend my gratitude to Josh Lerner and Maria Hadden of theParticipatory Budgeting Project and Thea Crum of the University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute for their ongoing guidance and support.
Finally, and most importantly, my thanks to the residents of the 49th Ward who voted in this historic election and took democracy into their own hands. I’m proud to represent this amazing community.