Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 22, 2009

LA Mayor Supports Constituional Convention to Fix California
Council President and Controller Also Favor Convening First Constitutional Convention Since 1879

Contact:
Steven Ochoa, 323-222-2217, sochoa@wcvi.org

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 22, 2009) – At a Southern California Town Hall held at USC this past Saturday (July 18) Los Angeles Mayor endorsed the movement for Constitutional Convention in California.

“The problems that we have in Sacramento are more structural and are greater than many people believe,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I wanted to be here to endorse this effort...to support this conversation.”

Echoed by LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, “There isn’t a legislator who doesn’t get calls everyday saying, ‘go forward, go forward,’ we need fundamental reforms in California…I believe that not only can we do this, but we will ... [reform California] and newly elected LA City Controller Wendy Greul ,“…this Constitutional Convention that is being proposed is an opportunity for us to get back on track...to get real people involved,” the LA City leadership triumvirate has added powerful southern California voices to what had been primarily a northern California movement.

Indeed, in May the City Council of Los Angeles passed a resolution endorsing the Constitutional Convention movement (see http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-0002-s100_reso_5-22-09.pdf).

Also speaking at the Town Hall was Assembly Budget Chair Kevin de Leon, who expressed similar feelings about the need to reform the state, although stopped short of endorsing the Constitutional Convention.“We do need structural reforms in the State of CA,” said de Leon. “We have a wonderful opportunity to channel this into a proactive positive way to bring about the necessary systemic changes that are important to our governance system in the State of CA.”

Over 170 people attended the Southern California Constitutional Convention Town Hall at the University of Southern California (USC) to listen to elected officials and policy experts discuss California’s dire governmental situation and how a Constitutional Convention may be needed to fix the state.

The event, put on by public interest groups, such as the William C. Velasquez Institute, the Bay Area Council, and the Courage Campaign, pulled together one of the most diverse audiences ever to discuss the subject, and drew attendees from all over Southern California, from Ventura and the Inland Empire to as far south as San Diego.

“With this event, we sought to be as inclusive as possible so that communities from all cross sections of California could participate in this debate,” said WCVI President Antonio Gonzalez.“The future of California is at stake, and Southern California needs to be heard since we comprise the lion’s share of the state’s population, conversations and leadership need to come from here if we are to have a truly inclusive and representative process.”

Steven Ochoa, WCVI Vice President is in charge of follow up activities that will include “Con-Con” luncheons in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties as well as the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley regions of LA County. “We are also enhancing our internet resources with information and organizing strategies that anyone can download and use,” said Ochoa.

Advocates of the Constitutional Convention announced that in September ballot initiatives would be filed that would allow California voters to convoke a delegated Constitutional Convention.

Town Hall organizers identified key issues in the so called “Con Con” include defining the scope of issues to be discussed as well as defining how Convention delegates are selected. Said Gonzalez, “we should focus on governance issues in the Constitutional Convention process. We also support adopting a delegate selection formula that maximizes inclusion of all sectors and stakeholders of California while excluding those who have fundamental conflicts of interest.”

Reports from Saturday’s Town Hall and other “Con Con” meetings across the state indicate that Californians want to address the budget and revenue logjam in Sacramento, as well as run-away initiatives, and problems with the way state legislators are elected.

For more “Con Con” information contact Steven Ochoa at 323-222-2217 or sochoa@wcvi.org.

The Southern California Constitutional Convention Town Hall Sponsors were: William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), Bay Area Council, Courage Campaign, Asian American Action Fund, the City Project, Common Cause, Latino Voters League, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), the New America Foundation, the United Chambers of Commerce San Fernando Valley & Region, the USC Bedrosian Center, and the USC Unruh Institute.

For More Information, Visit:

 About WCVI

The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985. The purpose of WCVI is to: conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; To provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; To inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; To inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.

 

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