What is the L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting pilot?
The Los Angeles Reforms for Equity and Public Acknowledgement of Institutional Racism (L.A. REPAIR) Participatory Budgeting pilot program is an $8.5 million fund to be allocated among nine L.A. City neighborhoods. These neighborhoods, called “REPAIR Zones,” will decide how these dollars should be spent in a democratic process called participatory budgeting. The L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting pilot is run by the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (L.A. Civil Rights) in partnership with the Participatory Budgeting Project (www.participatorybudgeting.org).
What is participatory budgeting?
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. The participatory budgeting process allows everyone who resides within a community to propose funding ideas, vote on proposals, and oversee the implementation of the idea selected. Participatory budgeting has been used in New York City, Chicago, and 7,000 other cities worldwide. Participatory budgeting gives YOU the power to decide how public dollars are spent in your community. Learn more about participatory budgeting at participatorybudgeting.org.
How were the REPAIR Zones selected?
The nine REPAIR Zones in the participatory budgeting pilot program are: (1) Arleta - Pacoima; (2) Mission Hills - Panorama City - North Hills; (3) Westlake; (4) West Adams - Baldwin Village - Leimert Park; (5) Skid Row; (6) Boyle Heights; (7) South Los Angeles; (8) Southeast LA (South LA east of the 110 Fwy); and (9) Wilmington + Harbor Gateway.
Communities were selected based on a number of factors to determine the most underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles that have been the most impacted by structural and historic racism. These factors include employment and poverty data, home access to Internet, COVID-19 case rates, the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, the CalEnviroScreen environmental index, and historically “redlined” neighborhoods. In each zone, at least 87% of residents identify as people of color and at least 16% of residents are living below the poverty line.
It’s important to note that the L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting program is only a pilot program in its 2022-2023 launch. The selection of the nine REPAIR Zones does not mean that other neighborhoods are not also negatively impacted or are not deserving of participation. The L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting pilot program will be a “proof of concept” for how participatory budgeting can serve Los Angeles.
How is L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting funded?
L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting is a pilot program funded by the city's 2021-'22 annual budget. The budget is proposed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council each year. L.A. REPAIR came from the city's general funds, it was not taken from another department. General funds (technically called "Unappropriated Balance") are funds that are not already allocated to a department, office or city service. Historically, City leaders have spent this unrestricted money in a variety of ways - usually adding to an existing department or service, such as paying for extra tree trimming or personnel. In creating the 2021-'22 budget, City leaders wanted the people to decide how to spend $8.5 million in LA's first-ever participatory budgeting program. The $8.5 million in L.A. REPAIR that otherwise would have been spent in a top-down manner by City Hall is being allocated through a democratic, people-powered, bottom-up process called participatory budgeting.
How is funding divided up among the nine REPAIR Zones?
Funding allocation is determined by the population of each REPAIR Zone, with a baseline of around $775,000 for all zones. For zones with populations above 150,000, the remaining funds were divided proportionally to population size.
What kind of things can participatory budgeting fund?
It’s up to you! Every community will determine the best use of these public dollars. As long as the idea is legal and would benefit the community it's intended to serve, it can be submitted as a potential proposal. Ideas or projects led by community-based organizations or projects are often preferred over projects that are City-led fund city services, so that the money can go directly into the community.
How do I get involved?
You can get involved in a number of ways:
- Join the Steering Committee
- Join an Advisory Committee
- Submit ideas
- Vote for your favorite project to get funded!
To stay involved and receive updates from L.A. Civil Rights on the L.A. REPAIR Process, click here.
How do I know if I live in a REPAIR Zone?
Click here to find the L.A. REPAIR Map. Type in your home address or the street intersection closest to your residence at the top of the map. This will tell you which REPAIR Zone you live in, if you live in one of the nine REPAIR Zones.
Map not working? You can also visit https://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org. Type in your home address or residence and press Enter. Look for "Community Planning Area" under "Planning/Construction." The following Community Plan Areas are L.A. REPAIR Zones: Arleta - Pacoima; Mission Hills - Panorama City - North Hills; Westlake; West Adams - Baldwin Village - Leimert Park; Boyle Heights; South Los Angeles; Southeast LA (South LA east of the 110 Fwy); and Wilmington + Harbor Gateway.
The Skid Row REPAIR Zone is not listed as its own Community Planning Area, but is a part of the Central City Planning Area. If you believe you live in the Skid Row REPAIR Zone please let us know by emailing us at civilandhumanrights.lacity.org or calling (213) 978-1845.
Why is the city doing a participatory budgeting pilot?
Participatory budgeting has been implemented in over 7,000 cities worldwide, and is shown to build stronger communities, improve trust in government, and deepen democracy.
The L.A. REPAIR Participatory Budgeting pilot believes that community members are best equipped to decide how public dollars are spent in their neighborhood. This process is designed to give underserved and historically marginalized communities dollars AND decision-making power.
Remember, this is just a pilot project - and the first time the City of L.A. is implementing a participatory budgeting process. We don’t expect this to solve all problems overnight, but to show that community-driven solutions and direct democracy are important tools to achieve equity and justice for all.
Who do I contact to learn more?
Visit: at civilandhumanrights.lacity.org
Call: (213) 978-1845