County officials throw support behind state Constitutional Convention plan

Bay Area Council leader says state government has become 'an international laughing stock'

The head of a regional business group said Thursday that a constitutional convention is the best way to reform California's government so that it can better address the key issues faced by the state.

Jim Wunderman, the president and chief executive of the Bay Area Council, said at a hearing in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors chambers that changes must be made because California's government has become "an international laughing stock."

Wunderman said gridlock in Sacramento has kept state leaders from tackling issues including budget problems, a poor educational system, traffic congestion, overcrowded prisons and a water system that he said is "on the brink of collapse."

Joining Wunderman, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty said the system must be changed "for our children" so that they don't face crippling budget deficits.

Haggerty said cutbacks in state funding have forced county officials to make $1 billion in budget cuts since 2000, which has drastically reduced the county's capacity to provide services to residents.

Supervisor Nate Miley said the result is that "our residents grapple with drastic cuts in services that impact their quality of life."

Repair California, a group also headed by Wunderman that is leading the push for the convention, has created a timeline that calls for submitting language for two statewide initiatives to the attorney general's office on Sept. 25. One would give the people the right to call a constitutional convention and the other would call the convention and set the process, according to the group's Web site.

Organizers would then gather 2 million signatures for the measures and submit those on April 16, 2010. The measures would go on the ballot in November 2010.

If they pass, a constitutional convention would be held in 2011. The reforms proposed by the convention would then go before state voters in November 2012.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Sep 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

About time. But, of course, we have to see the ballot measure to see how delegates will be selected.

If any constitutional convention is called I estimate about one year to come up with something then we'll have to vote. I can only imagine what the special interests will do to push their agenda...

Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 19, 2009 at 12:03 am

If you think you've seen gridlock, just wait until a constitutional convention is held. Every special intertest group/politician will lobby for a seat in the delegation. It will be better than the best comedy you've seen in a theater...

I would submit the present political gridlock is caused by political gerrymandering that has taken place in this state for many, many years. Look how the politicians have chopped up our little valley into several "Districts" for political purposes that practically assures incumbent re-election...

My side of town(known as "and a portion of Pleasanton" for political purposes)has a different state representative than my "neighbors" on the opposite side of town, yet, the same representative as Castro Valley and portions of cities south of us. Makes no sense...

In my opinion, any "new constitution" should include a penalty provision, such as no compensation, that would be applied to our state representatives if a budget is not completed and passed by a given date...

Why do we need a "year around" legislature. If we had a six month session, maybe there wouldn't be so many moronic laws passed...

Just my simple opinion...............

Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 19, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Here is my solution. why don't we just eliminate the state assembly and legislature and put everything up to the vote of the people. Our leaders are crooks and outright incompetent.

Like this comment
Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 20, 2009 at 1:44 am

Hey Pete,

Isn't that what we're doing now with all the propositions...

As you said, they seem to be incompetent and we seem to make the decisions for them...

California's a sad state and the laughing stock of the nation...

It scares me when I hear, "As California goes, so goes the nation"...

Like this comment
Posted by Joyce
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

This does nothing the prevent a legislature of idiots...that's caused by stupid, gullibble voters in too many districts around the state. This is VERY DANGEROUS !!! I want to move out of state before this convention. ANY OFFICIAL that promotes this is pushing for an easier way to GET THEIR HANDS ON OUR MONEY. Don't pretend it has anything to do with our children. ALL the SPECIAL INTERESTS are going to be SCARING and LYING to stupid voters right up to the day of the convention. IT's ALL about getting MORE TAX dollars from each taxpayer !! The current 2/3 is the ONLY thing, the ONLY thing KEEPING the GREEDY, VERY GREEDY legislators hands off MORE of our dollars. THEY GET enough, they are just too selfish, greedy, stupid and squander those current $$ on special groups, more staff for themselves, even MORE (if that's possible) PAYOFF to their special PUBLIC UNIONS. I say PUBLIC UNIONS & benefits are out of line as it is. But they will be the ones to get on TV and LIE in ads..getting votes of the stupid people AND THE PUBLIC ELECTEDS who WANT MORE, MORE, MORE. Don't fall for this open door. JUST DEMAND MORE FAIR, MORE INTELLIGENT LEGISLATORS make the right choices. We're NOT in the fix because of $$, we're in this fix because of stupid legislators...which we will STILL HAVE...with an open door to steal even more of our earnings !!! Don't allow it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Couples: "When Good People Have Affairs" by Mira Kirshenbaum
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,126 views

One of Pleasanton's "characters" passes on
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 864 views