Councilmember Rex Richardson Announces Uptown PB Results; Projects include Digital Marquee, Solar Powered Lights, Security Cameras

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9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson

9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson

On the evening of March 27th, after a weeklong public vote, Long Beach City Councilmember Rex Richardson announced the results from the historic Empower Uptown Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. The City of Long Beach now joins the ranks of Chicago, New York City, Vallejo and others by completing the final phase of the PB process. The winning projects include: Jordan High School Digital Marquee ($100,000) in 1st place with 1,552 votes, Solar Powered Lights at DeForest Park ($95,000) in 2nd place with 1,161 votes, and Security Cameras on corridors throughout the district ($100,000) in 3rd with 997 votes.

“Introducing Participatory Budgeting has encouraged District 9 residents to become more civically involved and fostered innovative ways of visioning democracy,” said Councilmember Richardson. “The PB process exemplifies the pure spirit of civic engagement and has allowed residents and city officials to collaborate on ways to improve our neighborhood needs. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together, and that we are the first district to have the highest turnout per capita of any other Participatory process in the nation at 4.9%.”

Since October 2014, over 240 residents were engaged during the idea collection phase through five public assemblies, and several outreach events to discuss local priorities and ideas for improvement projects in District 9. During the months of December through March, 52 community volunteers worked collaboratively with city officials to vet the feasibility and cost of those 259 project ideas. They ultimately developed 11 fully formed proposals for the PB ballot. Twenty five of the budget delegates were youth, which made up the largest youth committee of any city Participatory Budgeting process in the U.S.

During the extended week of March 21st through March 27th, a total of 2,676 residents aged 14 and older voted on what to spend $250,000 of discretionary infrastructure funds on. Long Beach’s unique experiment in participatory budgeting will now culminate with the implementation of the three winning projects and the increase of discretionary infrastructure funds from $250,000 to $295,000.

To learn more about the Empower Uptown Participatory Budgeting Initiative results, visit The Empower Uptown Participatory Budgeting process is in partnership with the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) and supported by The California Endowment and Stanford University’s Crowdsourced Democracy Team. The funds used for PB were allocated from Council District 9 discretionary infrastructure funds.

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