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Yes, Convention By Appointment

October 12, 2009

I e-mailed Repair California regarding their current thinking on the delegate selection process for the potential constitutional convention, telling them that I believe that jury-style selection would be the only way to make the convention a true representation of the will of Californians. In their response, they confirmed that they were planning on using an appointment system for delegate selection:

Yes, as of now it is very likely that delegates will be determined by a county selection model.  This has been, arguably, the hardest decision we’ve had to make in the campaign thus far, but please don’t feel too discouraged at the choice.  County board of supervisors don’t run on party platforms, making them more accessible to people on all sides of the political spectrum.  The delegates, and the county selection committee members (voted upon by the supervisors) who select them, must meet rigorous standards to exclude them from the special interests and unyielding political ties that has had such a negative effect on our current system.  This model also allows for more proportional representation from all areas of the state, ensuring that rural voices are not drowned out by urban ones–or possibly vice versa.

What “proportional representation” has to mean here is the unfortunate favoring of rural issues over urban issues. Jury-style selection could be guided so that rural constituencies were properly represented but the plain truth is that 30 million Californians live in urban areas (according a rough estimation using Wikipedia) making urban Californians more than three times more numerous than rural Californians. Urban factions should have much more clout than rural ones. That’s what democracy is.

That said, I would still support a constitutional convention in this form. The great thing about it is that the final product goes back to the voters. If this plan gets co-opted, it can always be rejected in 2012.

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