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Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

Should the California State Constitution Be Re-Written?

By IVY WEISS Contributing Reporter How often have you said, “If I made the laws ?” There is a movement in California that could give the citizenry a chance at doing just that. The United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley held a Constitutional Convention Summit, on April 17 in Burbank that addressed the topic of the California State Constitution and its relevance today. The idea of revisiting the State Constitution arose as a response to the State’s current budget deficit and the dissatisfaction that people are feeling. There is a group of people that believes perhaps it is time to start over. The summit was an opportunity for people from all over the State to meet and discuss the validity of our Constitution as it stands. Jim Wunderland, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, began the program by focusing on some of the problems we are facing that go beyond the fiscal situation. California has fallen from one of the top three best states for education to one of the bottom three. Our transportation system has also had a significant fall in ranking, going form first place to being the home of the two most congested cities in the United States, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We have a water shortage problem and our prisons are so over crowded that a federal judge is poised to release thousands of California’s inmates as a result of the state not doing its job effectively. Business in the state suffers due to the bad impression of California throughout the country. Wunderland stated that a big change is needed and as our constitution has already been amended over 500 times, perhaps it is time to look at the document as a whole and revise it. He believes the constitution should be about the functioning of the government, not human rights. Michael Cohen, a Deputy Legislative Analyst discussed the ineffectiveness of the budget process, and its inability to cover necessary costs. California has ” failed to save for rainy days,” he stated, and now difficult and complex choices must be made that offer difficult and complex remedies. A panel comprised of State Senator George Runner, former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, policy analyst Adam Summers and Joel Fox of the Small Business Action Committee discussed the situation that California is now in, and entertained questions form the attendees. The topics covered included term limits, how delegates to the Constitutional Convention should be selected, redistricting, the initiative process and other issues that the state faces today.

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