Saturday, July 4, 2015

And another thing...

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.

And another thing...

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Mayor Nutter greets participants at the budget-input session at the home of Helen-Hellon Divers in Southwest Philadelphia.
Mayor Nutter greets participants at the budget-input session at the home of Helen-Hellon Divers in Southwest Philadelphia. CAROLINE MORRIS / Staff photographer

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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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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