Monthly Archives: June 2016

Alderman Will Not Attend ParticipatorParticipatory Budget Meetings

Scheduling conflicts will prevent Ald. Silverstein from attending either of the participatory budgeting meetings this week. There was no indication from her office that she either supports or opposes bringing this exercise in participatory democracy to residents of the 50th Ward.

Her office did not offer to send  a staffer to represent her and no statement from her will be read at either meeting. Her office did say that any questions could be emailed to her afterwards.

The process of gathering signatures for petitions to place the referendum in support of participatory budgeting on November’s ballot begins tomorrow.




Alderman Invited to PB Meetings June 28 & June 30

Petitions are ready to be signed to get a referendum on November’s ballot to bring PB to the 50th Ward. Residents can attend either meeting to learn more about PB, discuss some of the possibilities for using the menu money, sign a petition, and perhaps become a petition circulator for your precinct.

Ald. Silverstein has been invited to attend one or both meetings, to engage with us and lead the way on this important issue. No word yet from her office but we’ll be checking with her on Monday.

Bring your ideas and your neighbors and join us to  experience the thrill of democracy in action!

PB Meetings: Tuesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 30, 6-7:30 p.m., Northtown Library

Participatory Budgeting Campaign Off to a Good Start

A lot was accomplished at Tuesday’s first meeting of the campaign to bring participatory budgeting to the 50th Ward.

Tom Desmond’s presentation outlined the 49th Ward’s experience with participatory budgeting. He began with a brief history–its origins in Brazil, and Joe Moore’s bringing it to the 49th Ward, the first ward in the City of Chicago to share menu money decision-making with residents.

A Steering Committee has formed. The alderman is being invited to the next meeting. Contacts are being called.  Other groups are being invited to participate. The petitions and signature goals for each precinct are ready for volunteer circulators. Updated poll sheets are on the way.

Watch this space for news about the next meeting.

And if you’d like to join us in this exciting project, please either come to the next meeting or contact us via this Web site.

Participatory Budgeting Meeting Tomorrow

The first meeting of the campaign to bring participatory budgeting to the 50th Ward will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, June 7, from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the Northtown Library (6435 North California).

The basics of participatory budgeting will be explained by Tom Desmond, a member of the Leadership Team of PB49 in the 49th Ward.

Meeting participants will also have the opportunity to sign the petition in support of placing an advisory referendum on the 50th Ward ballot in November.  The vote on that referendum will reflect the sentiments of the community. An overwhelming vote in favor of participatory budgeting will be the first step toward more transparency in ward decision-making.

A successful petition requires the support of 8% of registered voters in the Ward, based on the umber of votes cast in the 2014 election for Illinois governor. That means at least twice that number must sign the petition to offset any challenges from opponents.  Approximately 1,600 valid signatures are all that’s necessary, but that total must represent 8% of registered voters in each precinct. Political reform ain’t easy.

[Although only registered voters can sign the petition, participatory budgeting voting is open to all ward residents as well as business owners and parents with children in neighborhood schools.]

The signed and notarized petitions must be presented to the Chicago Board of Elections for signature verification. Opponents will then have an opportunity to challenge individual signatures, supporters will have a chance to prove the signatures valid, and CBOE will decide if there are enough valid signatures to put the issue on November’s ballot.

All of this must be accomplished by August 15.  It’s do-able.

If you’d like to volunteer to circulate a petition in your precinct, please contact