On Oct. 9, The News misled the public in an editorial endorsing a state constitutional convention.
The News implied that the convention would be a "grass-roots convention of the people."
But The News failed to mention that delegates would be elected on a state senatorialbasis. The election would be comparable to political campaigns for state office.
It is estimated that a minimal expenditure for the election would be $150,000. How many grass-roots people would be able to afford such an expense? Who would be able to run? The same people who currently run for state office would be the only ones who would have the necessary time and finances.
The atrocity would be that they would receive their regular legislative salaries and committee stipends, plus a delegate salary of more than $57,000. They also would receive monies to hire a staff to work during the convention.
The News also failed toreport that the convention would cost between $50 million and $75 million. Yet at the same time, there are children who are being taught in broom closets in New York State.
Finally, The News portrayed the convention as the only solution to the problems of the state. But the fact is that the constitution can be amended by a process that is already in place and doesn't cost anything.
This procedure has led to 93 constitutional amendmentsbetween 1938 and 1967 alone. Since that time, 22 of the amendments proposed during the 1967 convention have been passed.
It is a careful process thatallows crucial issues due consideration, while ensuring that changes to the constitution are forwarded by accountable members of state government.
The checks and balances present in the current system of legislative amendment in New York State serve as a buffer zone between the rights of citizens and the agendas of special-interest groups.
The public should overwhelmingly vote no on the constitutional convention.
Donald G. Benker President, Kenmore