California Healthline Rounds Up Recent Proposition 54 Coverage
California Healthline today rounds up recent media coverage of Proposition 54, which will appear on the Oct. 7 recall ballot. 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, 10/1). Summaries appear below.
- Los Angeles County officials on Thursday discussed a report on Proposition 54 prepared by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission that says if the ballot measure is approved, it will "adversely affect county services from adoptions to mental health" and could cost the county between $6 million and $8 million to retrain about 35,000 employees and to modify computer systems and forms, the Los Angeles Times reports (Briscoe, Los Angeles Times, 10/3).
- There was a rally opposing Proposition 54 at Chico State University on Tuesday, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports. Both the Chico State Academic Senate and the California State University Board of Trustees voted to oppose Proposition 54 (Aylworth, Chico Enterprise-Record, 10/2).
- The Economist looks at the upcoming vote on Proposition 54, which will be "the first test of public feeling about racial preferences" since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in two cases concerning affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan earlier this year (Economist, 10/4).
U.S.News & World Report examines Proposition 54's "strongest" opponents -- California medical organizations -- who say that racial disparities in health are substantial and that racial data is necessary to create programs to get at the root of health problems (Hartigan Shea, U.S.News & World Report, 10/6).
- KPCC's "KPCC News" on Tuesday reported on Proposition 54. The segment includes comments from pollster Sergio Bendixen, Proposition 54 author Ward Connerly, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding and Los Angeles City Council member Bernard Parks (Rabe, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/30). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KQED's "Forum" on Thursday included a panel discussion on Proposition 54. Guests on the program included Andrew Barlow, professor of sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and Diablo Valley College; Douglas Kmeic, professor and chair of constitutional law at Pepperdine University; David Oppenheimer, professor and associate dean at Golden Gate University Law School; and Tony Seton, spokesperson for the Yes on 54 campaign (Krasny, "Forum," KQED, 10/2). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Summaries of recent opinion pieces and an editorial addressing Proposition 54 are provided below.
- Proposition 54 counters "one of the most divisive forces in American society," the "unrelenting, daily racial categorization of people by the government," Connerly writes in an opinion piece in London's Daily Telegraph. He adds that the racial classification system is "arcane and inconsistent" -- especially because government agencies have various numbers of racial categories and different policies on whether the data is necessary or prohibited and even whether people can self-report their race or if it must be determined "by visual inspection" by officials (Connerly, Daily Telegraph, 10/2).
- The racial data that would be prohibited under Proposition 54 is "critical information that assists [health care professionals] in improving the health of our patients," Stephen Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista, writes in a Bakersfield Californian opinion piece. "Distinctive outreach, health education and prevention programs targeted to specific populations with unique health needs have proven to be the most successful way to reach certain communities" and the "wisest way to utilize our limited resources," Schilling states (Schilling, Bakersfield Californian, 10/1).
- "California isn't ready for Proposition 54," a Stockton Record editorial states, adding that the state will only be ready for such an initiative when "discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color or national origin are but a mere ancient memory" (Stockton Record, 10/2).