As you ride the bus or freeway to work tomorrow, ask yourself: Can the person seated next to you, or driving past you, be trusted with the job of redesigning California's basic political and budgetary rules? Are "average Californians" ready to don the white powdered wigs to become the Founding Mothers and Fathers of a new California?
With efforts to call a constitutional convention picking up steam, a proposal for "citizen delegates" has generated considerable interest. Rather than holding elections or having state officials appoint the delegates, about 400 delegates would be randomly selected to produce a scientifically representative sample of all Californians. No political insiders or partisan apparatchiks need apply, just Golden Staters motivated by a sincere desire to help their state.
That's the theory, but could it actually work? Even if the citizen delegates were high-minded and lacking in partisan and personal agendas, are average people capable of the kind of in-depth understanding of complex issues necessary for redesigning California's basic institutions?
In short, I believe the answer is yes. Read my oped in the Sacramento Bee to find out more by clicking here.