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Is LA’s Online “Budget Challenge” for Real?

Op-ed by Pete Peterson, Executive Director, Common Sense California, in Fox & Hounds Daily.

In another sign that California’s city governments are finding new and creative ways to engage their residents on excruciating budget decisions, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been attempting to drum up participation in the city’s, Los Angeles Budget Challenge website. Utilizing the “Budget Challenge” software developed by Next Ten, the website is a facile survey-based platform that asks budget cut and revenue questions while it tracks the actual fiscal impact of your choices.

As Mayor Villaraigosa recently encouraged, “I believe community participation in the city’s budget process is essential." But is the “community” really participating in this process? After going through the site myself, there are definite “Good”, “Bad”, and “Ugly” aspects to the initiative.

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