News Coverage on Convention
Examining how government works: Hearings set concerning a New York "people's convention''Michael Gormley
Examining how government works
Hearings set concerning a New York "people's convention''
By MICHAEL GORMLEY Associated Press
Published 01:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 15, 2009
ALBANY — The first of a series of public hearings are scheduled in an effort to hold a "people's constitutional convention" to rewrite how New York state government operates.
Assembly Republican leader Brian Kolb plans two meetings Wednesday. The first is in Queensbury in Warren County from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second is in Plattsburgh beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Kolb, of Canandaigua, seeks to petition for a constitutional convention run by delegates who aren't politicians or part of special interests to change how the Legislature operates. That could include term limits and other measures that he says can contribute to Albany's notorious pay-to-play reputation where lobbyists have great sway over decisions.
"All across New York, there's a growing feeling among fed-up and frustrated taxpayers that state government has stopped working for them," said Kolb, minority leader in the Democrat-led Assembly.
He and other Republican assembly members will explain what could happen at the convention that could lead to changes in the state constitution.
"The probability of a 'People's Convention' happening is in direct proportion to the grassroots demanding it: the more Albany does not perform, the greater the chances increase," he said.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester said it's important that, if there is a constitutional convention, that it not be used as simply a weapon for people angry with Albany.
"There are real changes that can be made with a constitutional convention," Brodsky said. He said the issue that looms large in 2010, an election year, needs to first have a discussion about what areas need to be addressed.
"The calls, so far, come with angry statements about the 'political class,' " he said. "That's not enough."
A Siena College poll on Monday found 61 percent of New Yorkers felt the state was on the wrong track. The last time more New Yorkers felt the state was on the right track than on the wrong track was January 2008
This news article by Mike Gormley of the Associated Press marked the beginning of a statewide series of news coverage of Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb's push for convening a "People's Constitutional Convention" to reform state government.