Bustamante Diverts $3.8 Million in Campaign Contributions to Effort To Defeat Proposition 54
Gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) announced yesterday at a campaign rally in Fresno that he will divert $3.8 million in campaign contributions to an effort to defeat Proposition 54, the Washington Post reports (Walsh, Washington Post, 9/8). Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, would prevent California government agencies and schools from collecting racial and ethnic data but would allow exemptions in instances involving some medical research data, convicted criminals or crime suspects and occasions in which the federal government requires racial data (California Healthline, 9/4). At the rally yesterday, Bustamante called the initiative "an attack on our public health system" that would hamper public health officials' efforts to collect information about diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The funds include $1.5 million in donations from the Viejas Indian tribe in east San Diego County, $600,000 from San Diego's Sycuan tribe, $500,000 from the Pechanga tribe of Temecula and more than $1 million in donations from labor unions. Under Proposition 34, campaign contributions are capped at $21,200, but the funds were given to Bustamante's old lieutenant governor campaign committee, which is exempt from the limits because it was set up before the law took effect, according to Bustamante (Sweeney, Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/8). Bustamante told the San Jose Mercury News that the issue was "detracting from what I wanted, which was a campaign on policy issues," so he announced that "every dollar" from those contributions would be used to campaign against Proposition 54 (Mintz/Gladstone, San Jose Mercury News, 9/7). The funds will be used for TV commercials featuring Bustamante criticizing Proposition 54, which will be aired beginning Sept. 15 (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 9/7). NPR's "Weekend Edition" reported on the issue yesterday (McChesney, "Weekend Edition," NPR, 9/7). The full segment is available online in Real Player.
Summaries of related news about Proposition 54 appear below.
- Republican gubernatorial candidate and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Saturday in an interview with Spanish-language station KUVS-TV in Sacramento that he opposes Proposition 54, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He added that he believes collecting racial data is necessary for health and education efforts and that eliminating access to such data would "be disastrous" (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/8).
- Ward Connerly, who drafted Proposition 54, said Saturday that Bustamante's $3.8 million contribution to defeat the initiative "probably dooms it," the Los Angeles Times reports. "I'm never throwing in the towel, but I've been around the block. There is no way we can match that," he said. He added that the state GOP has not donated any funds to assist the initiative's proponents. "The microphone has been taken away," Connerly said (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 8/7).
Summaries of recent opinion pieces on Proposition 54 appear below.
- The organizations that benefit from a preference system built by "race-mongers" who think "disparities must be the result of discrimination" are "aghast" that Proposition 54 would prohibit the government from using racial and ethnic data, and they incorrectly claim the initiative will stop medical research, columnist Steve Greenhut writes in the Orange County Register. "Most of us are ready for Prop. 54. At least I hope so," he concludes.
- The argument that Proposition 54 would not allow state officials to collect racial and ethnic information for medical purposes is false and an attempt to "scare people away from supporting the measure," Jennifer Nelson, former press secretary for the Proposition 209 campaign in 1996, writes in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece. However, "getting rid of the boxes on forms that ask you to identify your ethnicity takes away the ability to prove that government agencies are still engaging in racial or ethnic discrimination," she continues. Nelson concludes, "As long as these discriminatory practices exist, we need to collect the data necessary to make our case in court" (Nelson, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8).
Additional Proposition 54 coverage is available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.