Source: LA Wave
It appears that everybody woke up last week — California’s Legislative Black Caucus, Latino Legislative Caucus, Assembly Speaker John Perez and state Sen. Ed Hernandez — and decided to deal with the Asian-American Caucus’ move to stop the enactment of a legislative amendment which would restore affirmative action admissions to state-funded colleges and universities.
The restorative legislation — Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (or SCA 5) — is sponsored by West Covina Sen. Hernandez for the purpose of increasing the minuscule numbers of African-American and Latino students enrolled in community colleges, California state universities and the University of California systems.
SCA 5 had passed the Senate and was on its way to the Assembly two weeks ago when state Sens. Leland Yee of San Francisco, Ted Lieu of Torrance and Carol Liu of La Canada/Flintridge wrote a letter to Perez requesting he table Hernandez’ amendment rather than put it up for vote among the Assembly members. Perez acquiesced and tabled the amendment, much to the delight of the 80/20 PAC, an Asian-American Political Action Committee which, like all PACs, raises money privately and employs lobbyists to influence legislation.
The Black and Latino caucuses blame the failure to enact SCA 5 on 80/20 because of what they regard as the PAC’s relentless “misinformation campaign” about the SCA 5. They accuse the Asian-American letter-signers of having bowed to the will of 80/20, particularly since all of the signers had already voted for the amendment in the Senate, but then called for it to be tabled in the Assembly. Google 80/20 and learn more about this PAC.
In any event, having been blindsided, the nine-member Black and 25-member Latino caucuses met early this week and issued this joint statement as to SCA 5:
“The California Latino Legislative Caucus and California Legislative Black Caucus jointly express our strong support of SCA 5 (Hernandez) despite its return to the house of origin for further consideration. We share a strong commitment to its passage and all measures that ensure equal opportunity for all Californians.
“SCA 5 would enact seriously needed reforms that would roll back the ban on race as a consideration in weighing college admission. This will bring fairness and balance to our educational system.
“We understand the desire of leadership to have further discussions about this important issue and are committed to ensuring the success of the bicameral commission on issues surrounding recruitment, admission and retention. However, we must not ignore the fact that the major reason this measure has been delayed is due to a malicious disinformation campaign being waged by disingenuous ultra-conservative partisans intent on denying equal opportunity for all Californians.
“We will not allow bad information to undermine good public policy. There is no question Proposition 209 has led to a tremendous and precipitous decline in the number of African-Americans, Latinos and other underrepresented communities in higher education. Our caucuses are committed to putting this issue before the voters of California. We will continue to work through the process, but rest assured, we will not stop working until all Californians have equal access to higher education and a brighter future.”
Perez and Hernandez issued a joint statement of their own this week which speaks of the creation of a bicameral commission of academicians, sociologists and such to engage students, faculty, administrators, parents and community leaders in “an ongoing discussion about ways to ensure that our campuses can recruit, admit and retain student bodies that reflect all of California.”
“This is a crucial issue for California and this is a conversation we need to have now,” Perez and Hernandez said. “Our campuses should be given the tools they need to prepare all segments of our society to succeed in the 21st century economy.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg said he is a supporter of SCA 5 and that “I look forward to working with Sen. Hernandez, my Senate colleagues and the Assembly in bringing all communities together for a serious and sober examination of affirmative action.
Hernandez wrote an earlier version of the bill to restore affirmative action college admissions procedures. Three years ago it was labeled SB 185 and it passed both houses of the Legislature, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it; thus killing it.