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AP: Protests Against Wall Street Spread Across US

October 4, 2011
Chris Hawley

NEW YORK - Protests against Wall Street entered their 18th day Tuesday as demonstrators across the country show their anger over the wobbly economy and what they see as corporate greed by marching on Federal Reserve banks and camping out in parks from Los Angeles to Portland, Maine.

LERNER: Chicago’s $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy

April 20, 2010
Josh Lerner, Megan Wade Antieau

On Chicago's far north side, citizens are taking democracy into their own hands. Through the first "participatory budgeting" experiment in the United States, residents of Chicago's 49th Ward have spent the past year deciding how to spend $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars. Over 1,600 community members stepped up to decide on improvements for their neighborhoods, showing how participatory budgeting can pave the way for a new kind of grassroots democracy, in Chicago and beyond.

Chicago may seem an unlikely site for participatory democracy, given the city's famous patronage system and lack of transparency in public finances. Faced with this system, community groups end up competing for budgetary scraps—an exhausting struggle. But frustration with backroom dealing is in part what makes Chicago and the United States ready for new ways of managing public money.

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Josh Lerner is co-director of The Participatory Budgeting Project, a resource organization that has advised Alderman Joe Moore throughout the 49th Ward’s participatory budgeting process.

Megan Wade Antieau, a writer and ward resident, has served as a community representative in the 49th Ward Participatory Budget, working with other residents to transform community input into budget proposals.

Original article here...

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