"Public participation only cultivates a greater thirst for even greater public participation," said Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson, as his plan to undergo the democratic participatory budgeting process was underway last year. It's a new year, and participatory budgeting is back for 9th District residents, whom elected a series of infrastructure projects for their community last year.
Projects selected by local voters included: a Jordan High School Digital Marquee, Solar Powered Lights in DeForest Park, and security cameras along major corridors. This process directly allows residents to take action on issues they consider problematic or in need of attention, with the selection and implementation of those projects highlighting residents' concerns.
Councilmember Rex Richardson took the reigns of this empowering, experimental process by allowing Council District 9 to make history as the first PB effort known to Southern California. As noted in cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, participatory budgeting engages the youth by extending the opportunity to be involved in public processes, where they can see their decisions come to life within their corridors. Of the 2,600 North Long Beach residents (age 14 & older) who voted in the Empower Uptown Participatory Budgeting Process.
"You do not need to be a registered voter or U.S. citizen to participate, but must live in District 9 and be at least 14 years old. Business owners and non-profit representatives in the district are also eligible to vote." The only proof requirement besides age showing proof of residency within the 9th District.
With Participatory Budgeting returning to the 9th District for the second year, North Long Beach can expect community improvements that will continue to foster voter participation and collective organizing. Ultimately, PB is part of the Roadmap to Renaissance where government does a better job of collaborating with residents in Long Beach, CA.
To read more about last years' PB Process, click here.