Majority of Likely Voters Oppose Proposition 54, Los Angeles Times Survey Finds
Likely voters in the Oct. 7 recall election oppose Proposition 54 by a 54% to 31% margin, according to a telephone survey of conducted by the Los Angeles Times between Sept. 25 and Sept. 29 (Trounson, Los Angeles Times, 10/1). Proposition 54, also called the Racial Privacy Initiative, would mandate that state government agencies and schools could not collect racial and ethnic data but would allow exemptions in cases that involve some medical research data, convicted criminals or crime suspects and federal requirements (California Healthline, 9/30). The survey, which included interviews with 815 likely voters, also found that 15% were undecided on Proposition 54. The survey found that opposition to the measure in large part "held true" for respondents regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, age, education level or income, the Times reports. According to the survey, Democrats by a 71% to 13% margin and independents by a 46% to 40% margin oppose Proposition 54; Republicans support the ballot measure by a 48% to 38% margin. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3% (Los Angeles Times, 10/1).
- The Ventura County Star on Wednesday examines the debate over Proposition 54, with comments from officials with the Yes on 54 and No on 54 committees as well as local public health officials and officials from county schools, educational organizations, law enforcement officials and other organizations (Klampe, Ventura County Star, 10/1).
- NPR's "All Things Considered" on Tuesday reported that support for Proposition 54 is "eroding" as the ballot measure becomes "lost in the California recall hubbub." The NPR segment includes comments from Mark Baldassare, director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California; Ward Connerly, the author of the ballot measure; former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop; and breast cancer advocate Wanda Wright (Gonzales, "All Things Considered," NPR, 9/30). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- Connerly and Jack Lewin, CEO of the California Medical Association, on Monday debated the potential impact of Proposition 54 on public health in a forum presented by the Commonwealth Club and the California HealthCare Foundation. A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of the forum on the ballot measure, as well as a transcript and video of the forum in RealPlayer and Windows Media, is available online.
- Voters should defeat Proposition 54 because the ballot measure is "breathtaking in scope and poorly drafted," as well as "a blatant attempt to manipulate California voters by employing the race card -- in reverse," Laurence Benner, a professor of constitutional law and criminal procedure at California Western School of Law in San Diego, writes in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece. He adds, "Most importantly, it sacrifices public accountability by making a virtue out of ignorance" (Benner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/1).
- Proposition 54 is "elegantly simple" and "the next logical step toward a colorblind government and equality under the law for all," Glynn Custred, a professor of anthropology at California State University-Hayward, writes in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece. Although some opponents maintain that the ballot measure would "weaken our ability to document preferential treatment," Custred writes, "Attaining a colorblind government is far more important than dueling over data" (Custred, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/1).
- Opponents of Proposition 54 "have irresponsibly made pubic health the centerpiece of their campaign," but the "legislative analyst of California, countless lawyers and others have underscored the medical exemption," which is written in "plain language" in the text of the ballot measure, Connerly writes in a Fresno Bee opinion piece (Connerly, Fresno Bee, 10/1).
- Voters should defeat Proposition 54 because the ballot measure would "make it unconstitutional to use information to save lives" and "endanger the health of every Californian," John Blossom, director of the California Area Health Education Center, writes in a Fresno Bee opinion piece. He adds that "as long as diseases and illnesses continue to discriminate against different races and ethnicities, none of us can afford to blindfold ourselves" (Blossom, Fresno Bee, 10/1).
- Opponents of Proposition 54 have "labeled the initiative a cynical effort to eliminate current civil rights protections and a threat to public health," Joseph Phillips, an actor and essayist in Los Angeles, says in a commentary on NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show." According to Phillips, opponents of the ballot measure have "embarked on a campaign of misinformation that plays on the fears of minority populations" (Phillips, "Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 9/30). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- "Society is not colorblind," and the passage of Proposition 54 "will not make it so," a San Francisco Chronicle editorial states. The collection of racial and ethnic data for health care purposes is "essential to the well-being of California," the editorial adds (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/1).
- Proposition 54 would "eliminate key information long used to track discrimination in areas such as education, policing, health and employment" and would "not affect the way our society deals with racial relations, either institutionally or personally," a Contra Costa Times editorial states (Contra Costa Times, 10/1).