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)

5.  We are going broke and need a spending cap on state budgets and annual increases

6.  We need a property tax cap so state-mandated expenses don’t get “pushed down” into local taxes

7.  We need a constitutionally-defined immediate succession plan for when the governor dies, resigns or is incapacitated

8.  Ethics reform is crucial but the Legislature doesn’t have the stomach to police itself

9.  Some people want to explore term limits as a way to end political careerism and reinvigorate a citizen legislature

10.  This past summer the Legislature was thrown into turmoil by politicans switching party for personal advantage

These reasons are more than sufficient to hold a People’s Constitutional Convention as soon as practical.  We could vote in November 2010 to hold one; delegates would be chosen in the next general election (2011); and the convention would begin April 2012.  Otherwise we must wait until 2017 to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention in 2019.  That’s a total interval of more than 80 years between conventions.  The historical stewards of the state constitution envisioned a more regular examination of our foundational document–once each generation on the advice of Thomas Jefferson.  We are now four generations down the road.  Stop being afraid.  Let the people meet, let them speak, let them propose their changes, then take it once again to the general election as a final circuit breaker.  The whole process will take 2-3 years and there will be plenty of preparation as well as public scrutiny and a final public veto power. 

Everyone:  Stop being afraid.  Support a 2012 People’s Convention.