Attorney Capri Maddox (Courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles Civil Rights Department of the City of LA hosted a Proposer Fair on March 23 at Fire Station 54 on Crenshaw Blvd to offer residents and stakeholders in the West Adams-Baldwin Village-Leimert Park communities an opportunity to vote on which non-profit service proposals the City should fund for their zone. The Department hosted the fair to encourage voters to learn about the proposals before making selections on the ballot.

“Today is a voting day for Participatory Budgeting. This is real money for real people to make a real difference,” exclaimed Attorney Capri Maddox, executive director and general manager. “I couldn’t be more grateful to Mayor Karen Bass and the City Council that we can have community input on how dollars can be spent to help the people who help the people,” she said.

The Los Angeles Reforms for Equity and Public Acknowledgement of Institutional Racism or L.A. REPAIR, is the city’s first Participatory Budgeting pilot program and will give nine communities impacted by high rates of poverty, COVID-19, pollution, and other factors the decision-making power to allocate more than $8.5 million in city funds.

Participatory Budgeting is designed to increase the volume, quality, and longevity of residents’ engagement in city governance, improve trust and accountability in budgeting decisions, direct available resources where most urgently needed, connect funding to community-based organizations, and improve the chances of successful and sustained outcomes.

“This is all about community engagement,” explained Councilmember Heather Hutt. “This is a year’s worth of, ‘What do you want to see happen in our city? So, LA REPAIR has invited the community to give feedback about what they want to see happening in their neighborhoods. Folks are coming in to vote and they’re going to make some real decisions on how our budget is spent. I’m so glad the Los Angeles Sentinel is here to record the history occurring right now,” she said.

Councilwoman Heather Hutt (Courtesy photo)

The list of community-based proposers who shared their ideas include 24th Street Theatre, Avalon LA, Jenesse Center, National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA), Partnership for Growth Los Angeles, Pulse Arts, STEAM to the Future, Teapot Gardens, and Turning Point.

“We’re very excited about the Mayor and City Council releasing these dollars to give real people real power over real money,” shared Erma Bernard-Gibson, commissioner on the City of Los Angeles on Status of Women.

“And $775,000 going to each area means so much to community-based organizations that are doing so much for so many with so little.”

Other communities currently vying for L.A. REPAIR funding includes Arleta-Pacoima, Harbor Gateway-Wilmington-Harbor City, Skid Row, South LA., and Westlake.

Service proposals with the most votes will be presented to the Mayor and City Council to fund and implement in the community next year. Anyone over the age of 15 living, working, studying, or is the parent or guardian of a student in the REPAIR Zone is eligible to vote with no documentation required. Voters are asked on their ballots to confirm eligibility and attest to only voting once.

“Just south of here in East Los Angeles, we set aside $1 million for Charles Drew University to have mobile medical clinics and $350,000 for Watts Empowerment Center. We already have those dollars on the streets right now,” concluded Maddox.

L.A. REPAIR Zones (Courtesy photo)

All community members who voted were awarded food vouchers for shopping at nearby Crenshaw Farmers’ Market.


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(Sentinel News Service)