A California constitutional convention?

A California constitutional convention?


Hey, I've just heard about a group representing California business people known as the Bay Area Council. These guys have just called for a "limited" constitutional convention in California.

By "limited", they mean it would be empowered to get into and to propose ballot measures only for matters related to governance, electoral reform and budget reform (so no civil liberties would be on the table, nor would education or health care, for example).

From the LA Times: The big constitutional convention question: Who's going to fix California?:

RANDOM SELECTION … might sound the strangest but actually may hold the most promise. It has been used in Canada and elsewhere. A scientific sampling of Californians would be randomly selected from the statewide voter list, like a jury pool.

The Bay Area Council, a group of business leaders, has proposed randomly selecting 400 Californians to create a body of average citizens who could bring their common sense and pragmatism to the problems at hand. Those delegates would be paid to participate for eight months, starting with an intensive two-month education process in which they would hear from many experts about the problems and potential solutions for California.

Random selection likely would be the best method for ensuring a truly representative body and for shielding delegates against special-interest influence. And a group made up of "people just like us" brings a sense of grass-roots legitimacy to the process.

Interestingly, a statewide poll commissioned by the New America Foundation in November 2006 found strong support (73%) for a randomly selected deliberative body, and that the public has a lot more trust in such a "citizen body" than in a government-appointed panel or even a panel of independent experts.


One Comment


Ooo, I love serving on juries and would relish the opportunity to sign up for this (if the whole point weren't that it be a random group, that is).

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