February 26, 2009

California Constitutional Convention Redux

THE BAY Area Council held its first California Constitutional Convention Summit on February 24th in the state capitol at the upscale Sheraton Grand Hotel. And while there are a lot of positives that came from the meeting, one thing is clear - if the idea of a peoples' Constitutional Convention is to actually happen, the Council needs to figure out a way to not only spread the word and increase the number of its supporters but it needs to work on the diversity of those supporters as well.

While Tuesday's kick-off meeting in Sacramento was attended by around 300 leaders who paid $89 to get in, the crowd was mostly white (5 people of color), older and mostly male from Northern California.

Additional summits are planned for Southern California in the near future. Let's hope the good work of the Council can be made more effective by attracting a more diverse crowd.

If you are interested in reading a couple of documents from the convention, there are two great presentations posted on the summit site - one is the presentation on recent polling that was done for the Council. It shows that 82% of the people think our state is on the wrong track. Additionally, it presents information on what people think about the state's economy, its leadership and the idea of a Constitutional Convention.

The other document (Process Presentation) offers a possible road map for actually holding a Constitutional Convention. The Power Point slides offer the results of a great deal of research on the topic. Did you know, for example, that the one and only convention this state ever had was over 125 years ago - while some states actually vote on holding a convention every ten years?

Good stuff - and more is promised in the next few days.
If you want to see how the press covered the summit, here is a partial listing of media stories including Jim Wunderman's Opinion Editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Citizens push for overhaul of California government
Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2009

Effort seeks to scrap two-thirds vote rule
San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 2009

Reformers debate rewriting California Constitution
Associated Press, February 25, 2009

State reformers meet to transform discontent into change
The Oakland Tribune, February 25, 2009

Council expanding push for constitutional convention
Los Angeles Business, February 25, 2009

Is California ready for a constitutional convention?
Press Democrat, February 25, 2009

Drive to overhaul state constitution builds
Ventura County Star, February 25, 2009

Push for State Constitutional Convention
KQED: The California Report, February 25, 2009

Budget Impasse Spurs Move to Amend California Law
The Wall Street Journal
, February 24, 2009

Activists Push for a CA Constitutional Convention
KCBS, February 24, 2009

Does California Want A Constitutional Convention?
Capital Public Radio,
February 24, 2009

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