Sunday, January 22, 2006

Turning to the People to fix Politics

Dan Weintraub in today's Bee calls attention to two timed-out California legislators that have been doing what I expect legislators to do - working to fix problems for the people. The two are Keith Richman , a Republican and Joseph Canciamilla. , a Democrat.

While their efforts have usually attracted praise from outsiders, the pesky pair have been at best tolerated by legislative leaders and at times scorned. At this point, Richman says, "They really can't think any more lowly of us."

As a last effort they are exploring a referendum to create a "citizen's assembly".

The two lawmakers are pushing a constitutional amendment that would create a "citizens assembly," chosen at random like a local grand jury, to work for a year on reforms to the way the state elects its legislators and statewide officials. The product of the assembly's work eventually would go on the ballot and, if passed by the voters, could fundamentally change politics in California.

It could propose changes in laws, amendments to the constitution and even more sweeping constitutional revisions, which normally require the convening of a constitutional revision commission. The only restriction would be that the changes focus on the electoral process.

I have never heard anything about these two or their proposals but it says a lot about our State Government that no matter how serious the crisis, it doesn't change. I will be watching for more news and I wish Richman and Canciamilla success.
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