San Francisco ponders participatory budgeting
Can process designed to engage community result in smarter spending?
This story appeared in the fall print edition and was part of the Building a Better Budget package of stories.
When Mayor Ed Lee ventured across San Francisco’s 11 districts this spring talking with residents about what to cut and what to save from the budget, he won praise for opening what some called a new era in fiscal discourse: giving people a more direct say about where their money is spent. But what if, rather than the mayor in the driver’s seat, it was the community itself that presented, weighed and voted on district budgets?