With Prop 16, the Slave Reparations Task Force, and Much Else, the California Legislature Has Gone Off The Deep End

With Prop 16 at least, the voters will have a chance to weigh in soon.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Is California's deep-blue legislature out of control?

It sure seems that way to me. Recently, Gov. Newsom approved a clearly unconstitutional bill mandating racial and LGBTQ quotas for boards of directors of private companies. That's pretty brazen.

He also signed legislation creating a task force to examine the possibility of slave reparations—even though California was never a slave state.

Probably the most consequential legislation to pass in the last few months is the effort to repeal these words from the state constitution: "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."

Put there in 1996 by Proposition 209, those words were a response to over-the-top race-preferential admissions policies at the University of California and similar preferences for woman-owned and minority-owned businesses in public contracting.

The Left has been gunning for Prop 209 ever since. The legislature in particular has tried twice before. But maybe the third time is a charm.

Prop 209, however, can't be repealed without the consent of voters. So all the legislature could do was call for a referendum. Called Prop 16, it's on the ballot for this election. I'll be voting no.

Prop 16 is not an effort to help the disadvantaged. Under current law, the University of California is free to give a leg up in admissions to students from low-income families. And it's been doing so for decades (partly in response to Prop 209).

In part as a result of these efforts to help the disadvantaged, but mostly just in the ordinary courses of things, the entering admitted class at the University of California this year is about 41% under-represented minority (Latino or African American).

So why is Prop 16 thought to be necessary? Instead of helping the disadvantaged, the point of Prop 16 seems to be to allow the UC to again give preferential treatment based purely on race or ethnicity. Its effect will thus be to benefit students from high-income families.

Most polls have Prop 16 losing. But the pro-16 campaign has raised over $12 million, so this could easily change. Most of the pro-16 money comes huge donations. The wife of an Oakland real estate developer has given $3.5 million and lent the campaign an additional $2 million. The wife of the Netflix CEO has donated $1 million.

Then there are the extremely ill-advised corporate donations. Pacific Gas & Electric—which just emerged from bankruptcy a few months ago—has given the pro-16 side $250,000. You'd think they'd be focused on avoiding brown outs and fires. But apparently being viewed as "woke" is more important for a public utility these days. Similarly, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan has given over $1 million—rather than spend its funds on dealing with COVID19 pandemic.

It's almost as if the corporations that can least afford to get distracted from their core mission decided they would lead the charge for Prop 16.

By contrast, the NO side has raised only about $1 million. Its largest single donation so far was for $50,000 from Students For Fair Admissions—the valiant little group fighting anti-Asian discrimination at Harvard University.

Overwhelmingly, the NO side donations are for $200, $100 or less—chump change by the standards of the pro-16 side. Many of the NO side donors are Chinese immigrants who don't have a lot. But they are willing to sacrifice to ensure that the system will be fair to their children and grandchildren. And it's not just money. It is truly inspiring to see hard many of our volunteers have been working to stop Prop 16.

If you would like to contribute to the NO side campaign, here is the link. Large, small, or somewhere in between, your donation will have the potential to make a difference here. Thank you for whatever you can do!

NEXT: The Case Against Biden: Joe Biden's Politics of Panic

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  1. I think the people need to suffer from the outcomes of their voting.

    You get what you deserve.

    1. Thanks, asshole. I never voted for these Democrats. Why do I deserve to suffer?

  2. You would think the Chinese and Japanese have the most justification for reparations in CA.
    The Chinese for their indentured servantry and the Japanese for their internment and confiscation of their property.

    1. “The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion (equivalent to $3,460,000,000 in 2019) in reparations to 82,219 Japanese Americans who had been interned.”

      1. Likewise, we should disburse cash to the blacks still alive who were held slaves.

        I’m on board with that.

        1. The last known slave (a woman born in 1865) died around 1930, so… yeah. That.

      2. A) it was paid to the actual individuals that were interned or to the direct 2nd generation descendants. The reparations were not paid because they were Japanese americans, The reparations were paid because they were interned

        B) payment of reparations because a person is black (or african american is based on race, not because of they were interned. Such a payment will run afoul of the 14th amendment

    2. It’s worse than that. California’s Alien Land Law of 1913 prevented Asians (but not Blacks or Hispanics) from owning property. It remained in force until 1952.

  3. Professor Heriot deserves accolades for being willing to go into harm’s way on this.

    Antafa grew out of BAMN, a national confederation of campus radicals that was formed 25 years ago for the express purpose of opposing Prop 209 and similar efforts elsewhere (e.g. Michigan). BAMN stands for The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.”

    1. Shuette v Bamn Sotomayer dissent, joined by Ginsburg ,

      It is unconstitutional for the State of Michigan to adopt a state constitutional amendment to require compliance with the 14th amendment of the US Constitution.

    2. Antafa grew out of BAMN,

      You can’t spell it, so it’s not surprising that you don’t know the facts about it. You are a serial prevaricator, so it’s not surprising that you would prevaricate about it.

  4. Well, IIRC, California has a balanced budget amendment. Knock yourselves out.

  5. It must be tough living in a jurisdiction where ideological lunatics constantly hijack the agenda. At least Democrats in California legitimately represent the majority of the electorate.

    1. Do they? Really?

      1. How else are they winning so many elections in CA?

        Surely you’re not suggesting that are cheating in the elections.

        1. It’s the syndrome where a minority can be a majorty of the majority. Example: A state where 60% of voters are Democrats, and 60% of Democrats are ideological leftists. Only 36% of the voters are ideological leftists, but they control the party and the party controls the government.

          To be fair, social/religious conservatives have pulled off the same thing in some states.

          It’s a built-in danger in two party systems with strong party discipline. One thing that’s saved us until now is that in the US party discipline isn’t all that strong.

          1. I hadn’t considered that before. Good point.

          2. That’s why I said that “Democrats” represented a majority of the electorate, not the “ideological lunatics”.

  6. “It’s almost as if the corporations that can least afford to get distracted from their core mission decided they would lead the charge for Prop 16.”

    No, its more like corporations have realized that in the shit-show that passes for California politics, they can placate both customers and regulators by pandering to the loudest voices.

  7. To boosters of corporate oligarchy—long accustomed to subservient state governments—a state politics which shows signs of being responsive to ordinary people is cause for alarm. That, at least, would be a charitable interpretation of Heriot’s remarks. She ought to own up to that, to distract her critics from taking a closer look, and noting how much of what she says implies bigotry.

    1. If you read what Prof Heriot wrote above you’d know that the corporate oligarchy is using its armchest to boost affirmative discrimination.

      And CA goverment has not been responsive to voters since, throughout much of the time PRop 209 has been in place, UC schools have been violating it, and the CA govt has done nothing.

      And normal people—not academics or corporate diversity trainers—generally find racially preferential treatment appalling. Our institutions are crumbling

    2. “a state politics which shows signs of being responsive to ordinary people is cause for alarm”

      State politics based upon appeasing violent thugs — like I said, BAMN was the original Antafa. They win debates by throwing chairs and silence their opponents by placing them in fear of their physical safety.

      Reality is that if you offend, say, the Methodists, your office may get a bag full of basically civil letters of complaint. But if you offend Antafa, your office will be trashed if not burnt flat. And you aren’t stupid.

      It’s like if you have to drive a truck through a field, you deliberately destroy the Robin’s nest so as to avoid the hornet’s nest. Now in an ideal world, you’d spray that hornet’s nest so that it isn’t a threat to public safety and that’s the problem here — hornets like BAMN, Antifa, & BLM have been allowed to build nests so big that they are no longer controllable

  8. I foresee several dozen board members suddenly “discovering” that they are actually bisexual.

    1. It’s weird. You literally can chose between a black guy or a gay guy.

      1. “You literally can chose between a black guy or a gay guy.”

        I think that is the intent — this is an outright attack on the heterosexual white male.

      2. Joe: “Yo, Steve, we’re gonna have to fire you from the board”
        Steve: “Dude, why?”
        Joe: “Well, we’re not diverse enough. We’re just 3 straight white dudes. We need a Black dude or a gay guy. So…you’re fired. Unless…”
        Steve: “Unless?”
        Joe: “Unless you can say you’re LGBTQ”
        Steve: “But, I’m happily married to my wife!”
        Joe: “That’s OK. You can just say you’re Bi”
        Steve: “But I don’t want to sleep with a dude”
        Joe: “That’s OK. You don’t actually have to sleep with a guy to be Bisexual. You can just say you find them sexually attractive”
        Steve: “‘But…I really don’t think I do”
        Joe: “We can work with that. We’ll say you’re Questioning. You “might” be Bi. You don’t think you are. But you could be”
        Steve: “So, all I got to do to keep my job is say I’m 100% devoted to my wife, but I might have thought once about a guy, but I’m not really sure about that”
        Joe: ‘Yep”
        Steve: “Sounds good. See you at the Klan meeting tonight. Go diversity”

    2. Male lesbians — “Butch” lesbians.

      I much prefer wearing work jeans and an oversized sweatshirt, Pre-Charlie Parker’ Maskachusetts, I wore my hair short, and instead of having to put on mascara facial hair, I have the real thing.

      And like them, I like women who wear dresses.

    3. If you’re a guy who likes classic Broadway show tunes, they will count you as LGBTQ. Or so I hear . . .

  9. Will Asians as a group ever notice the Dems discriminating against them and their families and stop voting for and supporting Dems? I wonder.

    I look forward to telling all my first and second generation immigrant friends and co-workers that they owe reparations.

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