The ballots are cast, the votes are counted, and the people have spoken. Attached below are the detailed results of the 2016 Participatory Budgeting Election in the 49th Ward:
Over 2,100 residents of our community cast ballots in the “PB49” election, which represents a 16% increase over last year’s turnout and constitutes the largest voter turnout in the seven-year history of participatory budgeting in the 49th Ward.
The voters this year decided that 65% of the $1 million allocated for PB should be devoted to street and alley resurfacing and sidewalk repairs. As a result, four blocks of streets and six alleys will be resurfaced and approximately two blocks of sidewalks will be repaired.
For the remaining portion of the budget, the voters selected the following:
- One hundred more trees planted on City parkways in Rogers Park, replacing some of those lost in last August’s “super cell” storm;
- New streetlights and alley lights adjacent to Sullivan High School and Kilmer Elementary School;
- Improvements to Dubkin, Paschen and Loyola Parks, including a concrete entryway at Dubkin Park (Ashland and Fargo), a 15-foot fence around the Paschen Park basketball courts (Lunt and Damen), and two chess tables in Loyola Park (along Lake Michigan); and
- New streetlights on Greenview from Greenleaf to Touhy.
When I launched the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting process seven years ago, I had high expectations for our very special 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.
I’m proud to report that our Participatory Budgeting model continues to spread across Chicago and the entire nation. Seven other Chicago aldermen have adopted Participatory Budgeting in their wards and cities as diverse as 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 and Gwen Smuda 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 first time this year, PB49 voters were able to cast their ballots online thanks to the able assistance of Stanford University Professor Ashish Goeland 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 the Participatory 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.