California Medical Association Clarifies Intent of Meeting With Connerly
California Medical Association officials will meet with University of California Regent and Proposition 54 author Ward Connerly to explain why health care data should be protected, not to draft another initiative, CMA officials said Wednesday, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Corcoran, San Jose Mercury News, 10/9). Proposition 54 was defeated on Tuesday. The measure, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, would have prevented California government agencies and schools from collecting racial and ethnic data but would have allowed 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, 10/8). Connerly did not seek input from the medical community before initially drafting the ballot measure, which health care professionals said posed "a danger to public health," the Mercury News reports. "There's certain data that's essential for health care, and it's not just collected by health care people," CMA representative Peter Warren said (San Jose Mercury News, 10/9).
The Sacramento Bee on Thursday examined the "disciplined, unified campaign to crush the 'Son of 209,' Proposition 54." Many of the opponents to the initiative also opposed Proposition 209, which banned the use of racial and ethnic preferences in public hiring and university admissions when it was approved in 1996. However, before the election on Prop. 209, the coalition of opponents "dissolved" over irreconcilable differences. During the anti-Proposition 54 campaign, opponents rallied around "a simple message: that failing to collect racial and ethnic data is bad for your health" (Magagnini, Sacramento Bee, 10/9). The following broadcast programs also reported on the defeat of Proposition 54:
- KPBS' "KPBS News": The segment includes comments from ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties spokesperson Dale Kelly Bankhead (Lewis, "KPBS News," KPBS, 10/8). The full transcript of the segment is available online. The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KQED's "California Report": In an interview on the program, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) expressed support for the defeat of Proposition 54 (Musiker, "California Report," KQED, 10/8). The full program is available online in RealPlayer.
Summaries of an opinion piece and editorials addressing Proposition 54 are provided below.
- The defeat of Proposition 54 could "lead to positive changes" in California and have national implications, including comprehensive employment data and expanded trade opportunities, Mary Ann Mitchell, chair of the National Black Business Council's board of directors, and John Gamboa, executive director of the Greenlining Institute, write in an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle (Mitchell/Gamboa, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
- Instead of trying to revise his "alarmingly misguided proposition," Connerly "would be wise to abandon his quest to prematurely declare a 'colorblind' society by outlawing our ability to see reality," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/9).
- Black and Hispanic voters "heavily" opposed Proposition 54 after "overwrought" public doubts were raised about its impact on health care, but that does not mean California is "politically polarized by race," a Wall Street Journal editorial states (Wall Street Journal, 10/9).
- Proposition 54 was "overshadowed by the gubernatorial showdown and resoundingly defeated," but "no bad idea ever really dies amid California's electioneering by impulse," a New York Times editorial states, noting that a revised initiative is already in the works. The editorial concludes, "The comfort is that this will be firmly fought down by the new moderate people's choice, Governor-elect Schwarzenegger, right?" (New York Times, 10/9).