And another thing...

Mayor Nutter greets participants at the budget-input session at the home of Helen-Hellon Divers in Southwest Philadelphia.

Ben highlights the central problems with the Nutter administration's public engagement efforts in his post below (that there's no time for public feedback to be incorporated, and anyway, not enough of the public is being engaged), but here's one more: Last year's effort to solicit public feedback on the city's budget doubled as an effort to educate the public about the city budget. Citizens who attended the city/Penn/WHYY workshops could come away with a better idea of the city's operations and finances. That's a positive outcome, separate and apart from the city's incorporation of citizen feedback. It helps build a citizenry more capable of making informed decisions, which yields a better government, which yields better policy, which yields a better city. The mayor simply asking a few citizens about their priorities has no such benefit.

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