Press

Task Force urges ‘no’ vote on Prop 54; California Election is Tomorrow, October 7

Date: 
October 06, 2003

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

A message to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force California members:

The California special election is tomorrow, October 7. The Task Force strongly urges a "no" vote on Proposition 54.

Task Force staff has been working on get-out-the-vote efforts in California and along with volunteer leaders from AGENDA (Action for Grassroots Empowerment and Neighborhood Development Alternatives), and other community-based and immigrant rights organizations such as the Silverlake Hollywood Echo Park Metropolitan Alliance (SHEPMA) and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA), we have succeeded in reaching more than 10,000 registered voters. The Task Force has identified Ward Connerley's Proposition 54 as dangerous and racist because:

- PROP 54 would make it impossible for the state to collect data that is critical to fund programs for people of color, such as healthcare and education;
- PROP 54 would make it impossible to track patterns of discrimination in housing, health, and education; and,
- PROP 54 would make it impossible to track which races are more susceptible to certain diseases and therefore implement successful outreach to those communities. For example, if PROP 54 passes, we would not be able to track the kind of information that tells us that African American women develop heart disease at a higher rate than other women. Funding that supports outreach programs that target these women would be jeopardized.

[see the September 10, 2003 Task Force media release for more specific information]

Below is a report from the L.A. County Human Relations Commission outlining the impact Proposition 54 would have on Los Angeles County. Similar impact will be felt in counties throughout California.

HOW WOULD PROP 54 IMPACT L.A. COUNTY?
A report from the L.A. County Human Relations Commission

Proposition 54, the Classification of Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin (CRECNO) Initiative, would prohibit state and local governments from collecting, using, or analyzing data on race, ethnicity, or national origin, with certain limited exemptions. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors instructed departments to work closely with the County's Human Relations Commission to inform the public of Prop 54's impacts on LA County government.

The following is a summary of what county departments have reported on any impacts of Proposition 54 on the department.

Not all LA County Departments would be affected in the same ways.

Some county departments would not be impacted at all by Prop 54, and some departments might find that Prop 54 makes their job easier by reducing the data they need to collect. However, many departments would have a more difficult time providing effective service to county residents.

There are questions about how the Proposition would be implemented.

Several aspects of Proposition 54 are not clear at this point, and county officials are left with many questions about how departments would be affected. Several departments have indicated confusion as to the implementation of Prop 54. For example, the Department of Health is concerned that some physicians, in an effort to comply with Proposition 54, may exclude data that are in fact exempt when completing reports sent to the Department of Health Services. This would result in under-reporting of certain diseases, and could therefore reduce funding dedicated to their prevention and treatment.

Prop 54 would directly cost LA County an estimated $6 to $8.3 million dollars.

Direct costs due to the modifications of computer systems and forms and the requisite training are estimated by County departments to be approximately $5,981,449 to $8,267,353, with 28 out of 38 departments reporting. Indirect costs, addressed below, are more difficult to estimate. Also, departments estimated that 35,608 county employees would need to receive some form of retraining.

LA County would have more difficulty building a diverse workforce.

The Office of Affirmative Action Compliance would have a more difficult time ensuring a diverse workforce without data on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Employment discrimination investigations depend on data that would no longer be available to prove or disprove allegations.

Several LA County Departments would not have the information to appropriately allocate resources, making them less effective and less efficient.

Several departments are concerned that without data regarding the needs of particular racial or ethnic groups, programs and services lack the specificity required to impact those groups needing the resources the most.

For example:

The Department of Children and Family Services indicates that if they were unable to use data on race/ethnicity/national origin for resource allocation within the Department, there would likely be an inequitable allocation of resources, resulting in lower quality services for vulnerable families and children within the county.

The Department of Mental Health notes that, without information about certain groups needs, prevention, education, and outreach services would have to be offered to the entire community, resulting in 1) an unnecessary high cost, 2) a wasted effort on communities that might not need outreach, prevention, and education services, and 3) the potential need to curtail other services, given limited financial and human resources.

The Department of Health Services cited that without racial and ethnic data, health disparities would be difficult to identify through its LA Health Survey, which has found significant differences in breastfeeding, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, childhood asthma, alcohol consumption and abuse, tobacco smoking, HIV testing, and health insurance coverage for children.

A complete copy of the Report can be obtained by calling 213-974-7611, or by going to the LA County Human Relations Commission Web site:
http://www.lahumanrelations.org

This fact sheet is available online at
http://humanrelations.co.la.ca.us/Our_publications/index.htm

The entire report is available online at:
http://humanrelations.co.la.ca.us/Our_publications/pdf/prop54.pdf

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.