At the first public comment session of 2023, supporters of Participatory Budgeting Cleveland stepped up to the microphone in City Council chambers to support a process that would give residents a say in city spending on some community projects. Legislation for the pilot program was introduced and will be considered by council.
The Public Comment CLE website has all of the week’s comments and transcripts, edited by Cleveland Documenter Carolyn Cooper. Read more about the meeting, which was covered by Documenters Yorel Warr and Chau Tang.
Ayat Amin, a Ward 3 resident, talked about her parents, who didn’t have a say in their government before they became U.S. citizens. If a process such as participatory budgeting had existed, they could have had a voice. Her mother may have asked for more trees on her street because her brother had asthma. Her father might have worked with neighbors to bring more Halal food options to the area.
Karim Ragab, of Ward 4, said he had recently learned about participatory budgeting and had been apathetic to politics but liked the idea of young people having a say and being able to propose ideas to make their city better.
George Hrbek of Ward 3 told council members that participatory budgeting is in keeping with council’s commitment to involve people in making decisions that impact their own lives. He said it would also increase participation in civic life and potentially boost voter turnout.