Part of the Bay Area News Group

Tweet a new California Constitution

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Monday, July 19th, 2010 at 2:58 pm in reform.

You, too, can write your own state constitution, in 149 characters or less.

A new California reform group, rethinkcali.com, launched today a Virtual Constitutional Convention, where participants will use Twitter and the Web, through a social organizing technology called “crowdsourcing,” to write a new state constitution. (See full news release below.)

They may be on to something here.

Proponents of a ballot measure that would have convened a Constitutional Convention where actual people would sit together in the same room for months on end failed to gather enough signatures to qualify.

But if Californians could draw up a functioning state operations manual via a cell phone app, now, that’s an animal of an entirely different color. No dreary meetings. No policy white papers to read.

The site organizers at the New America Foundation, a liberal-leaning policy think tank, promise prizes, scholarships and “even a few minutes of fame.”

The group says the effort is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based social entrepreneur Anthony Rubenstein, a veteran of California’s ballot initiative process. He founded and led Californians for Clean Energy – Yes on Proposition 87 in 2006, and helped lead the “Coalition of Everyone Against Proposition 10″ in 2008.

Read on for more details about its backers and other details.

Californians to Re-Write State Constitution Using Social Media
The Golden State has launched reThinkCali to Reform its Political System and Will Convene the World’s 1st Virtual Constitutional Convention


LOS ANGELES, CA – California business and public policy leaders have convened world’s first Virtual Constitutional Convention. The online effort, reThinkCali.com, will use Twitter and other social media to re-write the state’s constitution, and “educate and engage everyone in innovating new solutions” to California’s chronic problems.  Using an online organizing technique known as “crowdsourcing”, reThinkCali will offer incentives including prizes, scholarships and “stardom” to reward participants’ contributions.

“California’s governance crisis is at the very root of our state’s economic and fiscal problems, said Lenny Mendonca, Advisory Board Chair of reThinkCali and Chair of the Bay Area Economic Institute. The solutions for those problems will come from innovation and new ideas and reThinkCali is a fun catalyst.”

The effort is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based social entrepreneur Anthony Rubenstein, a veteran of California’s ballot initiative process. He founded and led Californians for Clean Energy – Yes on Proposition 87 in 2006, and helped lead the “Coalition of Everyone Against Proposition 10″ in 2008.  “We’re going to unleash the spirit of invention and out-of-the-box thinking that has made California the global engine of economic and cultural innovation,” said Rubenstein. “By using California’s new media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to throw open the gates, we want to encourage everyone with an idea to fix what ails us to get involved, get heard, and get rewarded.”

reThinkCali will employ online crowdsourcing techniques that use a series of games or “challenges” designed to solicit ideas, allow all participants to rate and comment, and eventually select their favorites. The first challenge, dubbed the reConstitution e-Convention (or reCon e-Con) will allow e-delegates to re-write the California state constitution using Twitter and other social media tools. Participants will be eligible to win prizes and perhaps a bit of fame by creating, posting and even appearing in a user-generated media campaign slated for next January when California’s new Governor and legislators are sworn-in.

reThinkCali is a project of the New America Foundation but is free to join, non-partisan and open to anyone-not just Californians. “The New America Foundation’s California program is dedicated to finding new voices with new solutions for our state. For us, reThinkCali is an innovative way to bring those new voices into the conversation,” said Mark Paul, Senior Scholar and Deputy Director of New America’s California program.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Tom

    Sounds kinda silly, but then again our government-by-ballot-initiative system is pretty silly, too.