My husband and I have carted our kids to every democratic experience we can think of — protest marches, polling places, town halls, city council meetings. We want to demystify the political experience and teach them how to successfully influence it to shape the world into a better place.
I’m embarrassed to admit, however, that I’ve left an alarming gap in their civic education. Not once have I ever exposed my children to the place in democracy where the rubber meets the road: the local budgeting process.
City budgets reflect our commitment, right in our own backyard, to tackle inequity, improve our quality of life, and make crucial decisions about public accountability, like whether our police forces buy body cameras. And, unlike the lobbyist-laden appropriations process at the national and state levels, our local budgeting processes are surprisingly accessible for people like me and you.