The results for Participatory Budgeting are in!
Despite having to vote entirely online due to the pandemic, our district cast an unofficial 7,315 votes. That is an extraordinary level of participation, even during pre-pandemic years.
All the credit goes to you – our neighbors – who organized the past few months. Most impressive of all is that this year’s process was led by our youth, particularly our incredible Youth Committee leaders Marisol, Marifer, and Nallely.
We also had the most participation from our Asian American neighbors, and at a time when anti-Asian hate crimes are rising, this participation is the greatest expression of our democracy’s resilience.
However, I say “unofficial vote count” because we did determine that several people voted multiple times. We did not include an SMS verification process as in years past, nor did we use paper ballots written in Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic, which counted for almost 90% of the ballots we collect each year. We took these risks because we decided to operate on trust this year to encourage as much participation as possible.
Because it’s unclear how many votes are affected, I have decided to increase my contribution to PB and fund all projects on the ballot this year.
As this is my last year in the Council, I think it is only right that I set aside more money for the district to control. For the last eight budgets, our district has controlled over $30 million to improve our own parks, schools, and streets.
I cannot wait to see how Participatory Budgeting grows as it continues to invite more of our neighbors into the process, especially those who cannot vote in municipal elections.
This is your government, a government of the people. Congratulations to everyone and all the PB projects!