Pratt Center

November 5, 2018

An uncommon opportunity for New Yorkers to support community-based planning at the polls

Tomorrow, New Yorkers head to the polls for the important work of voting, not just for their local elected officials, but also on a set of ballot initiatives that would revise the City’s Charter, the document which serves as the City’s “constitution.” The “back side of the ballot” contains three proposals resulting from a public process that took place over the last year, led by the 2018 Charter Revision Commission. We believe each of the measures represents an important opportunity to strengthen the power of local communities to plan for and realize their futures, and we urge voters who care about strengthening community-based planning to vote yes in favor of all three.

Ballot measure #1 would expand the public funds matching program for political campaigns, helping to equalize the odds for all candidates and make elections more independent of large private donor influence.

Ballot measure #2 would create a Civic Engagement Commission that oversees a citywide Participatory Budgeting program, expands language interpretation at poll sites, and helps to deliver increased resources and technical assistance to Community Boards if ballot measure #3 passes. 

Ballot measure #3 would stimulate the inclusion of new voices onto Community Boards by establishing term limits for members and requiring consideration of the diversity of Board make-up. There is an expectation that each Board's performance would be secured during the transition to these changes, by balancing the accumulated expertise of Board members, staggering the transition process, and allowing exceptional members to continue their service.

The three measures alone will not address all that is needed to support proactive planning, and achieve greater representation and capacity for Community Boards. There is much more work to be done to support the efforts of community organizing and planning – and in the upcoming year, there is a rare opportunity to continue this work with the 2019 Charter Revision Commission, convened by the New York City Council. It is charged with taking an even harder look at the causes of inequality in the planning and budgeting processes and working with the public to devise solutions that address their structural causes. Pratt Center is committed to working with our community-based partners and the Commission to further advance these conversations.

Read more about Pratt Center's work with the 2018 Charter Revision Commission.


Other Resources:

Voter Guide - NYC Board of Elections [Link

Flip Your Ballot Campaign - 2018 Charter Revision Commission Information [Link]

Participatory Budgeting & the Charter - Participatory Budgeting Project [Link]

2019 Charter Revision Commission [Link]