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California Call for a Limited Constitutional Convention (2010)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
Administration of Government
|Not on ballot|
The Bay Area Council, a group of business executives, was a primary sponsor of the proposed ballot initiative and Voters Allowed to Petition For A Constitutional Conventions, a companion ballot proposition. They had supported efforts to hold a California constitutional convention for some time through educational efforts such as a February 2009 summit/gathering on this subject in Sacramento.
The Bay Area Council's effort to support getting this measure on the ballot was dubbed Repair California. Common Cause, the Courage Campaign and the Lincoln Club of Orange County also supported the effort.
In mid-February 2010, supporters of the measure first indicated that their effort was in danger of not being able to collect the signatures it would need to qualify for the November ballot because they had not so far been able to attract the needed funds to conduct a large-scale paid signature-gathering effort, and they ultimately said the project was dead.
Text of measure
Calls a Limited Convention to Propose Changes to State Constitution. Initiative Statute.
Calls convention to propose changes to state Constitution related to government, state spending and budgeting, elections and lobbying. Provides that proposed changes to constitution or laws become effective only after approved by voters in statewide election. Forbids changes to taxes or fees, marriage, abortion, gambling, affirmative action, freedom of the press or religion, immigration rights, and the death penalty. Establishes rules for selecting convention delegates to reflect a diverse range of citizens. Requires selection of delegates and conduct of convention to be open and public.
Estimated fiscal impact
One-time increase of state government spending up to $95 million to administer a constitutional convention. Potentially major changes in state and local governments if voters approve the convention’s recommendations, including higher or lower revenues or greater or less spending on particular public programs.
- Thomas Elias. He said the measure is "backed by Google and other high-tech giants that finance the Bay Area Council business lobby" and urges that people refrain from signing the petition to put it on the ballot. He also said, "Why is this a bad idea? For one thing, despite sponsors' pious claims that their measure would limit action by that convention to fixing the state's budget and ballot initiative processes, cutting the influence of special interests on elections and government, bettering relations between state and local governments and making government more efficient, there's room here for enormous mischief."
- Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said his group opposes the effort because it might result in a repeal of Proposition 13.
A poll conducted by EMC Research for Repair California in mid-September 2009 found that 69% of approximately 1,000 polled voters said they would vote "yes" on the question of whether California voters should be able to call a convention. 71% also said they would then vote "yes" on calling a constitutional convention.
Path to the ballot
In order to qualify the measure for the ballot, Repair California would have had to collect 433,971 valid signatures in 150 days on each of the two convention-related amendments they were supporting. John Grubb, a spokesperson for the Bay Area Council said that supporters of the two propositions had been planning to qualify them for the ballot without using paid circulators.
Petition drive companies
Repair California in early February 2010 said that their effort to collect the required signatures for this measure and for Right to Petition for Conventions, its companion measure, had run into a petition blocking effort. They accused five petition drive management companies in the state of being behind an effort to stop them from being able to collect signatures. The activities they said they have learned of include "shouting down their volunteers, destroying valid signatures and intentionally submitting fake signatures."
Repair California had sent cease-and-desist letters to several firms it believed were engaging in these activities, including:
Fred Kimball of Kimball Petition Management said that he opposed the initiatives and indicated to a newspaper that he had warned "the independent supervisors who manage signature-gatherers that he will blacklist them if they work for the constitutional-convention measures."
Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies said, "This is the first time I have heard of the petition firms taking a position on an initiative in this way. These firms typically won't circulate two competing measures, which makes sense, but they rarely turn down business."
- California Voters Allowed to Place Constitutional Convention Question on Ballot via Petition (2010)
- California constitutional convention
- California signature requirements
- Text of October 28, 2009 letter requesting a ballot title
- Repair California (dead link), website advocating a constitutional convention
- KMJ Now, "California Constitution Not Ready for Ballot Yet," accessed September 24, 2009 (dead link)
- Los Angeles Times, "California constitutional convention push fizzles," February 13, 2010
- Modesto Bee, "Dan Walters: California faces moment of decision," July 5, 2009
- Sacramento News & Review, "California Renovation," June 18, 2009
- Ventura County Star, "Constitutional convention effort near collapse," February 10, 2010
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Redding Record-Searchlight, "Just say no to signature gatherers," November 3, 2009
- Wall Street Journal, "Fixing Seasons of California Discontent," February 9, 2010
- Reuters, "Californians Would Vote to Authorize and Call Constitutional Convention, New Statewide Poll of 1000 Voters Finds," September 16, 2009
- Modesto Bee, "Games abound as initiatives gather names," February 10, 2010
- Contra Costa Times, "Constitutional Convention advocates cry foul," February 5, 2010
- The Economist, "Sign here," February 4, 2010
- Progress Report, "Special Interests Threaten More Than Signature Gatherers," February 15, 2010