If, like us, you believe in the oft-quoted maxim “Democracy simply doesn’t work,” you might have greeted New York’s welcoming of participatory budgeting with both excitement and dread. It sounds like a good idea in theory, until your neighbor is grinding a meeting to a halt by insisting we spend $200,000 on outfitting dogs with anti-Obama thunder sweaters. But, a map put together by Participatory Budgeting New York allows you to see the ideas that have been proposed, and even propose some yourself without leaving your apartment.
Participatory budgeting, which is being done in five Brooklyn city council districts now, that cover Red Hook, Ditmas Park, Williamsburg, Gowanus and Midwood involves discussing ideas on how to best spend one million dollars given to the district. While the map is closed to new ideas at the moment, you can at least see what people in your city council district will be discussing and voting on this April when the time comes to vote.
The ideas on the map are mostly of the non-crazy variety, with proposals like making street crossings safer, adding funds for schools and building community gardens. Although there’s also someone who proposed a “human-powered monorail,” without going into the details of it. So we suppose there’s a little crazy, but that sounds about normal.