California Voters Have Right to Know Where Candidates Stand on Prop 54

Media 08.14,03

WASHINGTON, D.C. –In letters sent today to each candidate in the California gubernatorial recall election, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, called on Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cruz Bustamante, Arianna Huffington, and the other candidates to tell the voters his or her position on Proposition 54. Proposition 54 is the California ballot measure that would ban the state government from collecting data on race, ethnicity, color or national origin, except for some medical research or to meet court decrees and federal requirements.

“Proposition 54 is a dangerous, deceptive and irresponsible initiative that is bad for health care, bad for public safety, and bad for education in the state of California,” said LCCR Executive Director Wade Henderson. “Voters, who will be asked to vote on this proposal on the October 7 ballot, have a right to know where each candidate stands,” said Henderson.

“Candidates who are seeking the governorship of California, the nation’s most populous state, have a responsibility to the voters to state clearly whether they support or oppose a proposal that threatens civil rights policy and enforcement,” said Henderson. “California is also one of the most diverse states in our nation and any individual seeking to become governor of the state must be capable of showing leadership on issues of importance to the diverse citizens within the state.”

Proposition 54 is opposed by a broad coalition of health, business, civil rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, religious, and labor organizations, representing a broad cross-section of the citizens of California. The measure would hamper the state’s ability to address disparities by race or ethnicity in healthcare and disease patterns, educational resources and academic achievement, and hate crimes and discrimination.