Connerly Says He Will Rewrite Proposition 54 Medical Exemption If Measure Is Defeated
Ward Connerly, author of Proposition 54, said that if the ballot initiative is defeated on Tuesday, he will work with some of its current opponents to rewrite "flawed" and confusing language regarding the measure's medical research exemption, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/7). 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, 10/6). Connerly said that even though he intended for Proposition 54 to exclude any medical data, opponents have interpreted it differently. "When people are in doubt with something as important as their health, they will vote no," Connerly said, adding that there are a "number of people in the 'no' camp who say they really do subscribe to the ideal, but they are genuinely conflicted by the medical issue." California Medical Association CEO Dr. Jack Lewin, who debated Connerly on the initiative last Tuesday, has agreed to meet with Connerly to discuss provisions to "protect health care" that could be added to a revised measure, the Chronicle reports. However, Lewin added that resolving those issues would be difficult because health care professionals "need some of the data sources that are collected by other entities" about the general population, including data collected by the Department of Finance that the California Cancer Registry uses to calculate the state's incidence of cancer. Connerly indicated that he would not try to place the initiative on the ballot again for two or three years if it is defeated (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/7).
California newspapers' Proposition 54 endorsements are summarized below.
- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat recommends "without hesitation" that voters vote no on Proposition 54 (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 10/7).
- The San Francisco Chronicle recommends that voters oppose Proposition 54 because public health officials "have made a compelling case that demographic information is essential to fighting diseases and other health problems" (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/7).
- The San Jose Mercury News recommends that residents vote no on Proposition 54 (San Jose Mercury News, 10/7).
- The Fresno Bee recommends voting against Proposition 54 (Fresno Bee, 10/1).
Summaries of opinion pieces addressing Proposition 54 are provided below.
- Proposition 54 would "compromise the quality of our health care" because it would not allow the collection of information that reveals how diseases affect certain racial and ethnic groups more than others, Joyce Greenspan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League for Orange County/Long Beach, writes in an Orange County Register opinion piece (Greenspan, Orange County Register, 10/5).
- "Sound public policy is driven by solid data," but Proposition 54 would forbid the collection of data about race that could be helpful for public health, education and law enforcement, columnist Robert Joiner writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Joiner, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/6).
The following broadcast programs reported on Proposition 54:
- KCRW's "Which Way, L.A.?": Los AngelesDaily News reporter Rick Orlov discusses the initiative (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?," KCRW, 10/6). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Talk of the City": KPCC's John Rabe discusses the initiative (Felde, "Talk of the City," KPCC, 10/6). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- MPR's "Marketplace": The segment includes comments from Pacific Legal Foundation Principal Attorney Sharon Browne, Connerly and Daniel Weinstein, managing partner of Wetherly Capital Group and trustee of the California State University (Devall, "Marketplace," MPR, 10/6). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- MPR's "Marketplace": Commentator Sophie Pedder describes how operating without racial or ethnic population data is "not only possible ... it's the way things are done" in France (Pedder, "Marketplace," MPR, 10/6). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.