3 More Days to Support NOLA CPP on Global Giving

We are approaching the end of the April Open Challenge, and there are only 3 more days to support NOLA CPP. We still need more donations and more donors. If you have donated, thank you very much for your support. If you have not yet donated, please support us now! Every contribution, not matter how large or small, gets us closer to our goal.

To make your contribution, please follow these simple steps:

1) go to www.globalgiving.org/projects/new-orleans-citizen-participation-project

2) select the amount you would like to donate or enter your own amount

3) click on the large orange “DONATE” button and then follow the directions to pay with a credit card or PayPal

4) tell all your friends to donate too!

Thank you for your support!
The NOLA CPP Team

Participatory Budgeting

Here is a story about participatory budgeting in Columbia that was on NPR yesterday. Click here for a link to the story with audio.

Participatory Budgeting Is Music To Medellin’s Poor

by Alex Schmidt

April 20, 2011

Colombia’s image is still tainted by its long and violent drug war, but its second largest city is practicing one of the most innovative forms of city democracy anywhere.

Medellin is one of few big cities in the world to have successfully implemented a participatory budgeting system: Citizens define priorities, and public money is allocated accordingly.

Jhon Jaime Sanches, 26, grew up in the hills of Medellin, under the legacy of Pablo Escobar’s violent drug cartel.

“Militias would come to our school and tell us we had to take up arms to make revolution,” Sanches says. “I liked the idea that we needed to find a solution to change things — but what I didn’t believe is that we needed to do it with violence.”

So Sanches found another way: He started a band. But his hip-hop group Son Bata is more than that — over the years it has grown into a social service force against the crushing poverty of his neighborhood.

Son Bata’s base of operations is a colorful cultural center. It stands out from the background in Medellin, where ramshackle homes pile on top of each other, and open sewers pour down nearly vertical streets. Within its walls, hundreds of children find an escape through free music classes, and working musicians from the slums get help finding performing jobs.

“For me, it’s everything,” says Ingris Joanna Jaramillo, who works at the center. “Son Bata is my life. When I started being part of Son Bata is when I started to dream.”

Part of what has helped the group is Medellin’s process of participatory budgeting, which divides the city into small neighborhoods. Residents allocate part of the city budget to health centers, college scholarships and youth music groups that have sprung up in Medellin.

Sanches gets 30 percent of his operating budget through the system.

“With participatory budgeting, Son Bata has contracted with professors,” Sanches says. “We bought instruments. We are creating a music studio.”

Participatory budgeting originated in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989. It’s 5 percent of the city budget in Medellin, one of the largest cities in the world to have successfully adopted it. Sanches says it’s not enough to make deep structural changes — but by most measures, the system has been a success.

Alberto Diaz-Cayeros of the University of California, San Diego, has been studying the ways such systems take root in Mexico. He says there is not a lot of research about it, but he knows that historical factors have to be just right, like they were in Medellin.

“This happened in [a violent city], in a deep crisis, where a mayor came in without any connections to established political parties, with a new vision of how to run local government,” Diaz-Cayeros says.

That mayor, Sergio Fajardo, is now running for governor of the Colombian state of Antioquia, home to Medellin. He worries that another challenge remains: keeping citizens engaged.

“In the communities, people may get tired,” he says. “You have to make sure you mix things up, that you keep the flame alive.”

For Son Bata’s Sanches, at least, the flame shows little sign of fading. “Participatory budgeting is a very valuable way for the youth to understand how, with a resource, I can try to solve the problems of my community,” he says.

This budgeting process didn’t create Sanches’ group — Son Bata existed a year before it even came into effect. But it did make city money easier to get, for him and dozens of youth music groups in Medellin. Energetic idealists, in any city, may be unlikely to pass up that kind of opportunity.

Global Giving – Donate Today

Thank you so much to those of you who have so generously supported the NOLA CPP in our April Global Giving fundraising challenge. For those of you who have not yet contributed (and remember, even amounts as small as $10 help us tremendously), please consider doing so today, because Tuesday, April 19 is bonus day and Global Giving will match your contribution! Please take advantage of this one-time opportunity!

To make your contribution, please follow these simple steps:

1) go to http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/new-orleans-citizen-participation-project

2) select the amount you would like to donate or enter your own amount

3) click on the large orange “DONATE” button and then follow the directions to pay with a credit card or PayPal

4) tell all your friends to donate too!

We are over halfway to our goal, and we need your help to meet the challenge! thanks.

The NOLA CPP Team

CPC’s NPP Process Update

At its meeting earlier this week, the City Planning Commission indicated that they were still waiting for the mayor’s appointments to the NPP Task Force and his approval of the proposed meeting dates before announcing the formal launch of the process to produce the final version of the NPP/CPP. CPC stated that they expect to get this information from the Mayor’s Office by May 1.

City Planning also said that there is a possibility that the budget for the NPP process may get cut from $60,000 to $30,000. The NOLA CPP team believes that it is important that NPP process is fully funded in order to ensure a robust process. If the funding is cut, this could mean less outreach, less support from consultants, and no facilitator for the NPP Task Force. We urge that the full funding allocated by City Council be provided for the NPP process.

Support NOLA CPP with Global Giving

We have been given a wonderful opportunity, and we just a need a little help from you to take advantage of it!

The NOLA Citizen Participation Project of Committee for a Better New Orleans has been selected to participate in Global Giving’s April Open Challenge.  Global Giving is a website that facilitates fundraising for nonprofits all over the world.  If the NOLA CPP page does well in the Challenge, CBNO will earn a permanent spot on the page.  This means we will be able to bring global attention to New Orleans’ issues and collect donations from funders worldwide. Your donations will help leverage other funds.

If you believe in the work of the NOLA CPP, we need you to help support us now. Any contribution, large or small, helps us reach our goal of getting 50 donors in one month.

The challenge runs through April 30.  We need your help!  Please make a contribution to this project.  All funds collected from this campaign will go directly to support the work of completing the NOLA CPP.

To make your contribution, please follow these simple steps:

1)  go to www.globalgiving.org/projects/new-orleans-citizen-participation-project

2)  select the amount you would like to donate or enter your own amount

3)  click on the large orange “DONATE” button and then follow the directions to pay with a credit card, PayPal or check

4)  forward this email and tell all your friends to donate too!

CBNO and the NOLA CPP would not exist without dedicated community members like you.  Whatever form your support takes, from making donations to attending meetings and events, we truly appreciate your continued interest and engagement with NOLA CPP.  Thank you!

The NOLA CPP Team

City Council Redistricting Meetings

City Council is going to hold a series of public meetings on City Council redistricting. City Council will host a citywide meeting on Thursday and a series of District meetings over of the next month. Here is information on the Citywide Redistricting Meeting:

Citywide Council Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, April 14th

6:00pm

City Hall – Council Chambers

 

Here is the list of District Redistricting Meetings. All of the meetings are from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. You can visit the City Council calendar for more information on these meetings.

 

District ‘D’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, April 19th

Gentilly Presbyterian Church – 3708 Gentilly Boulevard

 

District ‘D’ Redistricting Meeting

Wednesday, April 20th

St. Maria Goretti Church – 7300 Crowder Boulevard

 

District ‘B’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, April 21st

Grace Episcopal Church – 3700 Canal Street

 

District ‘C’ Redistricting Meeting

Monday, April 25th

Holy Angels Church – 3500 St. Claude Avenue

 

District ‘B’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, April 26th

Sacred Heart Nims Arts Center – 3901 St. Charles Avenue

 

District ‘A’ Redistricting Meeting

Monday, May 9th

Myra Clare Rogers Chapel – 1229 Broadway Street

 

District ‘C’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, May 10th

Delgado Community College – 2600 General Meyer Avenue

 

District ‘A’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, May 12th

First Baptist Church – 5290 Canal Boulevard

 

District ‘E’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, May 17th

St. Maria Goretti Church – 7300 Crowder Boulevard

 

District ‘E’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, May 19th

All Souls Episcopal Church – 5500 St. Claude Avenue

Latest Newsletter

Here is the link to the latest Newsletter from NOLA CPP. There is information on how to support the NOLA CPP through Global Giving.

The CPP Experience Report

For three days in March, we had guests from Birmingham and Atlanta to discuss their CPP. We learned a lot from our guest, and we have summarized their trip in our final report. There are two versions of this report, the full report and the two-page summary. See below for links to pdfs of these reports and for the text of the report summary.

The CPP Experience Report

CPP Experience Summary

 

The CPP Experience Report – Summary

Introduction

The most powerful source of information is the firsthand knowledge of individuals with experience on the subject.  To provide the New Orleans community with an up-close look at citizen participation programs, Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) and CBNO brought community leaders from neighborhoods, businesses and government from Birmingham and Atlanta to New Orleans for a series of public events in March 2011. Birmingham and Atlanta’s programs were selected because they are successful programs, and the cities have similar history, culture, and economy to New Orleans.

Hattie Dorsey, longtime neighborhood leader, was the guest from Atlanta. The Birmingham guests included: Bernard Kincaid, former Mayor and neighborhood leader; Valerie Abbott, current City Council member and former neighborhood leader; Charlie Faulkner, former CEO of Princeton Baptist Hospital; Don Lupo, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Citizen Assistance and former neighborhood leader; Alison Glascock, President of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association; and Doris Powell, President of the Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association.

 

ENONAC Community Breakfast

The kick-off event for The CPP Experience was a community breakfast in New Orleans East, co-presented by Eastern New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission (ENONAC), featuring a presentation by Hattie Dorsey. Ms. Dorsey spoke about Atlanta’s struggle to prepare for the 1996 Olympics, focusing on the importance of a comprehensive approach to revitalization that recognizes the needs and assets of all geographic communities. She also acknowledged the significance of business investments in a community.  Charlie Faulkner echoed this, emphasizing the benefits of investing in a community for businesses. Following the presentation was a robust Question and Answer session during which both presenters spoke about strategies to bring more businesses to New Orleans East.

 

City Council Meeting

Mayor Kincaid, Councilor Abbott and Don Lupo presented to City Council at their March 17 meeting.  The Birmingham guests gave a brief history their CPP, outlined important aspects of their program, and described the benefits and challenges of it. They then answered a few questions from New Orleans City Council members.

 

Meeting with Administration Officials

All guests participated in a meeting with officials from the Mayor’s Office and one staff member of the City Planning Commission. The guests discussed their program, how it is funded, how it relates to the Planning Department, and projects that came out of their CPP. They also answered questions about funding neighborhood groups and other nonprofits, representation, and building capacity of neighborhood associations. The guests made the following key points about the success of their program: neighborhood groups need to be funded, there needs to be defined neighborhood boundaries, and there needs to be training available to neighborhood leaders.

 
Bureau of Governmental Research Meeting

All guests met with two staff members from the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR). There was a discussion and critique of the CPP models proposed by BGR and CBNO for New Orleans. The visitors again stressed the importance of having open, inclusive neighborhood associations with clearly defined boundaries.

 

Algiers Community Meeting

Closing out a busy first day for our guests was a community meeting at Woldenberg Village, co-sponsored by the Algiers Council of Neighborhood Presidents and Algiers Economic Development Foundation. Mayor Kincaid and council member Valerie Abbott spoke about their experiences coming up through the Birmingham CPP as neighborhood leaders before taking elected offices and how that experience was invaluable to their effectiveness as city officials.  Alison Glascock and Doris Powell each spoke about strategies they have used to accomplish neighborhood goals. One key point emphasized by each neighborhood leader was recognizing the assets of a neighborhood, and then leveraging those assets to improve the community.

 

DDD Business Breakfast

Friday morning began with a breakfast for business leaders hosted by the Downtown Development District.  Charlie Faulkner was the principal presenter, and spoke about working with neighborhood associations, and how the Birmingham CPP is a useful tool for business expansion, neighborhood stabilization, charitable giving, and workforce development.  He stressed that businesses should see a CPP as a facilitator of business growth, not an inhibitor. Mayor Kincaid and Councilor Abbott offered the analogy that the business community, neighborhoods and government are a three-legged stool, and if they do not work together, the stool will not stand.

 

Meeting with Jon Johnson’s Office

While Councilmember Johnson was unable to attend this meeting in person, his Chief of Staff, Kara Johnson, engaged in a robust discussion with Mayor Kincaid, Councilor Abbot and Ms. Dorsey.  Ms. Johnson expressed some of the frustrations of sorting through the various groups and individuals who claim to be representatives of, or stakeholders in, a specific neighborhood, and promoting collaboration within the Council District.  The visitors discussed how their CPPs resolved these issues, built trust between citizens and government and created a stronger climate for attracting business development.

 

Gentilly Community Reception

On Friday afternoon, the guests went on a tour of New Orleans, then arrived at the Juju Bag Café in Gentilly for a reception, sponsored by Beacon of Hope and co-presented with Gentilly Civic Improvement Association (GCIA). The guests did not put on a formal presentation, instead engaging in small group conversations with New Orleans residents about the practical aspects of citizen participation.

 

Central City Town Hall Meeting

The CPP Experience culminated on Saturday morning with a Town Hall Meeting at the Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center in Central City. This meeting featured a panel discussion summarizing the guests’ perspectives on citizen participation and how the Birmingham CPP works.  As they had in several other settings, the guests also emphasized the value of their CPP as tool for developing future city leadership.  Based on their short time in the city, they gave their recommendations for achieving a system of strong, formalized citizen participation in New Orleans. Finally, they answered questions from New Orleans residents about effective community leadership and citizen engagement.

 

Conclusions

It is a rare thing for relative strangers to sit down together and have a dialogue about the important values of democracy, open governance, and community growth.  During the Birmingham visit, our guests engaged with close to 150 New Orleans residents in four Council districts around the city on exactly these topics, and the trip would have been important if only for these conversations. Perhaps the most rewarding outcome of the visit, though, was the fresh perspective on our own city provided by the visitors. Not only were they able to speak experientially about citizen participation, they provided an unbiased perspective on the possibilities of a citizen participation program in New Orleans.  By anticipating things such as the issue of neighborhood boundaries, the importance of training and capacity-building in neighborhoods, and the need to connect the Communities of Interest to the neighborhoods as strongly as possible, the guests prepped us for the somewhat daunting task that lies before our city. Talk of allocating funds to neighborhoods to initiate capital projects in Birmingham put an entirely new option on the table. Ultimately, the many examples of collaborative decision-making in both cities reminded us that an effective, formalized system citizen participation can and will be realized in our city, and showed clearly the promise of a better future that is offered by a CPP.

In achieving this, the city of New Orleans must remember the three-legged stool metaphor our guests introduced. The neighborhoods, the business community and the city government all play essential roles in the process to design and implement a citizen participation program for New Orleans. We need the strength of all three to build such a program and to support the growth of our city.

Support the NOLA CPP with Global Giving

Dear NOLA CPP Supporter,

We have been given a wonderful opportunity, and we just a need a little help from you to take advantage of it!

The NOLA Citizen Participation Project of Committee for a Better New Orleans has been selected to participate in Global Giving’s April Open Challenge.  Global Giving is a website that facilitates fundraising for nonprofits all over the world.  If the NOLA CPP page does well in the Challenge, CBNO will earn a permanent spot on the page.  This means we will be able to bring global attention to New Orleans’ issues and collect donations from funders worldwide.  All we have to do is raise $4000 from 50 unique donors in one month.

The challenge starts NOW and runs through April 30.  We need your help!  Please make a contribution to this project.  We are recommending donations of $40, but any amount helps!  And all funds collected from this campaign will go directly to support the work of completing the NOLA CPP.

To make your contribution, please follow these simple steps:

1)  go to www.globalgiving.org/projects/new-orleans-citizen-participation-project

2)  select the amount you would like to donate or enter your own amount

3)  click on the large orange “DONATE” button and then follow the directions to pay with a credit card, PayPal or check

4)  forward this email and tell all your friends to donate too!

CBNO and the NOLA CPP would not exist without dedicated community members like you.  Whatever form your support takes, from making donations to attending meetings and events, we truly appreciate your continued interest and engagement with NOLA CPP.  Thank you!

The NOLA CPP Team

Action Team Meeting – April 4 – 6pm

The next NOLA CPP Action Team Meeting will be held on Monday, April 4 at 6:00pm.  We will wrap up the Birmingham CPP leaders’ visit to New Orleans, provide an update of the City’s NPP Process, and discuss other important issues to the NOLA CPP. Here are the details.

NOLA CPP Action Team Meeting

Monday, April 4th

6:00-7:30pm

CBNO office – 4902 Canal Street, Suite 300

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