Archive for February, 2010

February 9, 2010: Why a People’s Convention?

9 February 2010 | 208 Comments » | pablo

1.  It’s been 70-odd years since we’ve had one (last one 1938); prior to that NYS citizens held one about every 40 years

2.  Taxation without representation (unless your elected official is in or totally supportive of the leadership he/she can’t get bills out of committee)

3.  Taxation without representation (partisan gerrymandering stymies competition and favors incumbents)

4.  Taxation without representation (the people do not have the right of initiative, that is, bringing proposed laws or constitutional amendments to general election) Continue Reading

February 4: Constitutional Convention Overdue?

6 February 2010 | 182 Comments » | pablo

The constitution of New York State isn’t a musty old parchment preserved for eternity behind reflective glass.  It’s a living document, encoded with DNA that permits and even invites its evolution. Its framers and stewards for over two centuries envisioned the periodic need to amend or re-write the constitution based on changes in society and the people’s sovereign right to redress perceived misgovernment.  Consequently, New Yorkers have seen more than 100 amendments and five distinct constitutions, the first one drafted at convention by John Jay in 1777.  Intervals between new state constitutions were 44 years (1821), 25 years (1846), 48 years (1894) and 44 years (1938).  If New Yorkers were to hold a citizens’ convention and adopt a new constitution in 2012 (the earliest possible timeframe) that would be an interval of 74 years between constitutions—or nearly twice our state’s historic average.  Thus the human tides of history itself suggest that a convention may be long overdue.  Ironically, even those people who fear constitutional change, today enjoy its benefits.