Comment 93308

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted October 15, 2013 at 16:27:17

Ummm, it's as participatory as it gets.

I think you need to kickstart your imagination then, because that's demonstrably untrue, and sort of silly because there are tons of ways it can "get" more participatory.

For example, "participation" in McHattie's model is strictly limited to proposals and voting. So it's missing a key component of PB: deliberation.

It would be more participatory if there was city-organized community discussion or conversations on community needs, and the kinds of projects that might address these needs. But beyond discussions among Councillor McHattie's handpicked group, this did not happen.

But most glaring, there is no participatory budgeting in this process. Y'know, the hard weighing pros/cons, deliberating and compromising that characterizes the budgeting you might with a small group or your family. The unfairly-maligned compromise table that Ward 2 assembles participated in actually required residents to discuss the costs and potential impacts of various projects, and encouraged them to find a workable consensus that achieves the most results with a limited amount of money. That's budgeting.

So you're right, in Ward 1 you don't have a group of preferred projects discussed and voted on by residents; instead you have a list of projects from residents, filtered by a group handpicked by the Councillor, and then voted on by residents.

That's sorta participatory, but so is electing representatives every 4 years. Neither is enough participation to live up to the PB model first popularized in Porto Alegre and then spread around the world.

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