District 33 Participatory Budget Ballot: Here’s How To Help The Heights

Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Judy Stanton reminds BHB readers that this is the week to vote for four Brooklyn Heights projects that are part of the Participatory Budget Ballot for District 33.

Those projects that would enhance Brooklyn Heights, according to Stanton, are:
* PS8′s new Middle School (MS 8) needs funds to purchase laptops and smartboards.
* Cadman Plaza Park needs fitness equipment.
* Cadman Plaza Park needs a renovated bathroom in the park’s comfort station.
* Atlantic Avenue’s Gateway (under the BQE overpass) needs better lighting for pedestrians.

She writes:

Dear BHA Friends:
City Councilman Steve Levin, who represents District 33 (which includes Brooklyn Heights), is contributing $1 million toward selected capital projects in his District. This is Councilman Levin’s first year of involvement in Participatory Budgeting, which allows residents to decide how to spend a portion of the city’s capital budget.

Interested residents of our district have spent the past several months vetting a total of 16 projects. Click for a description of the projects on the ballot. You, the voters, will decide which of these projects will share the $1M.

Polls are open from 10 AM to 5 PM (through) Sunday, April 7. Click for locations and hours of voting places in Brooklyn Heights. All are within walking distance. Voters must be residents of the District and 16 years of age, or older. You may vote for up to 5 projects and cannot vote for the same project more than once. Take an ID with you to prove your residency.

If you have any questions, please call the BHA office at 718-858-9193. Thank you!

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  • Andrew Porter

    I walked down to The Moxie Spot and voted there on Monday. Refurbishing the bathrooms in Cadman Plaza Park was one thing I voted for.

  • heights res

    Disgusted that some PS8 middle school parents are trying to scam the voting by getting HS students (anyone of voting age) in the other schools to vote for ps8 proposal and stuff the ballot box in their favor. Majority do not even live in this council zone.
    Nice lesson for the young ones…….

  • Ben

    are you typing in from the future? because voting at MS8/Westinghouse is tomorrow.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Your message doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone waste their time encouraging someone who isn’t eligible to vote? And if they are eligible (because they’re of age and live in the district), what’s the problem encouraging them to vote?

  • heights res

    Scoff and be condescending all you want. Doesn’t mean the “haves” won’t try to cheat if they think they can get away with it…..

  • Ben

    are you saying they are cheating or you are predicting they will cheat. because voting hasn’t opened yet at westinghouse so when you say you’re disgusted, you mean you expect to be disgusted?

  • heights res

    Since snarky parsing of language doesn’t promote intelligent discourse, I will just say this: the story going around is that some parents are promoting this type of cheating as a way to ensure the outcome they desire. Just sayin’……

  • participatorybudgetoptimist

    Hey, that’s unfair. No one involved in this process or the voting will be encouraging fraud. This is the very first I’ve heard this story!

    I think the PS8 project is a great one, for a lot of reasons, and competes well on its merits. But I am also excited in general about this process, not because it advantages the haves, but because I think it does the opposite: I think the behind-closed-doors process advantages the well-connected much more than participatory budgeting.

    On the potential for fraud, everyone who votes has to show ID to prove they live in the District, and there’s an online and hard copy resource to make sure the addresses are in District. I think there’s also a spreadsheet that gets filled out to ensure people don’t vote twice. And lastly, I think there will be a representative from Levin’s office at the MS8 polling place, if that assuages any fears.

    Please don’t pass around unfounded rumors that might discourage people from voting. This is an exciting opportunity for all D33 residents to come out and have their voices heard.

  • Cranberry Beret

    You’re posting heresay on a blog (“the story going around”) and yet you accuse someone else of discouraging intelligent discourse (because they called you out through so-called snarky language-parsing)? Give me a break.

    BTW, you still never answered my original question of what exactly they’re supposedly doing that’s wrong. What specifically is “this type of cheating”? Voting twice? Voting out of district? According to the other poster, there are controls to prevent that. I’m not trying to be snarky, I just don’t get what cheating you think is going on.

  • participatorybudgetoptimist

    Wow; I’m sort of stunned by this entirely unsubstantiated rumor. I think it’s exciting that Levin is allowing 16+ year olds who live in his district to vote; I’m also fascinated by your assumption that 16 year old students at Westinghouse who are residents of this District will necessarily vote for the PS8 proposal. I hope they will — I think it’s a good proposal on the merits — but I have confidence in their abilities to make up their own minds about what they think is in the best interest of the District .

  • David on Middagh

    At the Moxie Spot, at least, IDs are checked by a multi-tasking counterperson who would have to just know whether an address was in the district or not, since there is no time to look anything up while serving customers.

    Everyone please note that for this community vote, “of voting age” means 16 and over.

  • David on Middagh

    I’ve already voted, but does anyone know what exactly the MS8 laptops and “smartboards” are for? I don’t even know what a smartboard is.

    Are the laptops one per classroom, or for the administration, or for students to carry around? (When I was thirteen, my middle school had one computer for all the students to use, and I learned my skills in college. Would this be a good and necessary use of several hundred thousand dollars?)

  • Lori

    That’s right; don’t evaluate all projects for their value – vote for the ones that will profit Brooklyn Heights!

  • participatorybudgetoptimist

    It’s one “laptop cart” — about 30 computers — per grade (so 3 carts total); at capacity, I understand there will be 3 classes per grade. The idea is that one full class of students in a grade could work on a project that required computers during a class period.

    I’m not an expert on SMART Boards; what I know is that they can connect to the internet, so a classroom could easily explore, in a large screen format, different materials — newspaper articles about a current events topic, for instance, studying perspective and writing styles about the event. In a language immersion class, it could allow easy group-wide access different online resources. I think there’s also interactivity, but don’t know exactly how that works. More and more schools (serving all age kids) have them, and they seem to be part of the package when any new school is built. There is a website from the vendor, I think, if you want to know more.

  • David on Middagh

    Thanks for your response, PBO. I’ve read this page on the SMART boards http://sstevenson.wordpress.com/smart-board-technology-coming-to-mtp/

    but am still wrestling with the feeling that this is mostly—mostly—Tech For The Sake Of Tech. But I’m an old fogy.