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Shirley N. Weber

Affirmative Action Bill Passes CA Assembly Even As Opposition Mounts

Asian-Americans come out strongly against ACA 5 after Assembly vote

By Evan Symon, June 11, 2020 3:52 pm

‘Giving special or preferential treatment to someone based on their race is racism itself, or on their sex is sexism. I do not want to live in a state where the color of my skin or my race or my sex or my national origin determines my qualifications for a position, a job or entering to a college. I came here to this country to get away from ideologies like that.’  ~Assemblyman Steven Choi


On Wednesday, the Assembly passed passed Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, making it more likely that the question of affirmative action will go before California voters for the first time in six years.

A battle for affirmative action

ACA 5, spurred by recent calls for change following the George Floyd protests, was passed by a 60 to 14 majority. The bill, which would reverse Proposition 209 and allow for race and gender factoring in to public university admissions and state employment once again, now heads to the Senate.

Prop. 209, passed by voters in 1996, prohibited the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting.

The debate on Wednesday highlighted the major splits between voting demographics. While white and Hispanic Assembly members gave mixed views in the debate, a rift was evident between African-Americans in support of affirmative action, and Asian-Americans strongly opposed to affirmative action. The divide was also slightly muddled when it came to party lines, with some Asian-American Democrats choosing to abstain from voting rather than vote for it with other Democrats.

Impassioned testimony was heard from both sides during the hearing in the Assembly.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“The ongoing pandemic, as well as recent tragedies of police violence, is forcing Californians to acknowledge the deep-seated inequality and far-reaching institutional failures that show that your race and gender still matter,” noted Assemblywoman and ACA 5 author Shirley Weber (D-San Diego). “I’m so grateful I didn’t have to convince you that racism is real because George Floyd did that. So that was one conversation I didn’t have to have on this issue. Removing Proposition 209 will not solve all of the problems, but it’s one of the many tools that we have to have in California, to say California is the land of great opportunity.”

Others noted that African-Americans and Hispanics had a greatly reduced presence in state universities after Prop 209 was passed in 1996, with the University of California itself showing large drop-offs of many minority students coming in.

“Systematic racism didn’t stop because of Proposition 209,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “And so what we’ve seen over these generations is the missed opportunity of so many kids in our communities who haven’t had the benefit that we all had.”

Opposition against ACA 5

James Gallagher
Assemblyman James Gallagher. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Those arguing against ACA 5 noted that many public schools had ineffective teachers kept in place by union rules, with many of the poorer performing schools subsequently hurting their chances of getting into colleges. Assembly members such as Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) pushed for solving the problem early on rather than resort to programs like affirmative action.

“You can talk about admissions and using, bringing back affirmative action, but what are we doing to ensure that Black and brown students graduate and get that education?” explained Assemblyman Gallagher. “That’s a conversation that we need to be having. We need to go even deeper.”

Asian-Americans come out strongly against ACA 5

Many Asian-American Assembly members, as well as those representing districts with a significant Asian-American population, pointed out that a large and growing percent of constituents were opposed to ACA 5 and affirmative action due to university admissions lowering the number of Asian-Americans being accepted, the same exact reaction that caused affirmative action to fail on the last ballot measure in 2014.

Assemblyman Steven S. Choi (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“Giving special or preferential treatment to someone based on their race is racism itself, or on their sex is sexism,” remarked Assemblyman Steven Choi (R-Irvine). “I do not want to live in a state where the color of my skin or my race or my sex or my national origin determines my qualifications for a position, a job or entering to a college. I came here to this country to get away from ideologies like that.”

Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) also noted that a majority of calls to his office voiced opposition to ACA 5. Despite voting for ACA 5, Low had received over 3,000 emails and phone calls against ACA 5, with only 9 in total supporting it. Assemblyman Low voted for the bill because he himself is in support of social justice and equality.

Assemblyman Evan Low (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“How do you go to a Black Lives Matter rally and say, ‘Yes, I am with you,’ but then all of a sudden say, ‘Oh, well, not here, not on that part,” said Low.

Assemblyman Low has since been threatened by a recall from constituents over his support.

“You look at the final vote tally and you think it’s a blow out in favor of affirmative action,” said Daniel Yang, a business executive in San Jose who has opposed affirmative action measures in California since the late 90’s. “But a lot of those [Assemblymembers] voted against their constituents’ wishes. A lot of them have districts with nearly even polling. So it may look lop-sided, but like previous attempts have shown, Californians are still very much against this.”

“The George Floyd [protests] may bring more sympathy this time around, but those in favor are once again severely underestimating the number of people against it, as many otherwise Democratic voters are dead set against this. They always forget to account for them each time affirmative action comes up, and it looks like they’re doing it again.”

Two weeks before the ballot deadline

California, one of 8 states that have removed affirmative action policies in the last 25 years, now has 2 weeks for final ACA 5 ratification before the June 25th deadline of making the November ballot. Despite quick passage in the Assembly and in previous Assembly committees, ACA 5 now faces the Senate, where many Senators have been receiving an increased number of constituent calls against ACA 5.

A Senate vote is expected to be held soon.

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14 thoughts on “Affirmative Action Bill Passes CA Assembly Even As Opposition Mounts

  1. This woman – I use the term charitably here – this “Dr.” Shirley Weber is nothing but a Black Power, left wing racist, Angela Davis wannabe, without any credentials in either a hard science or the classical humanities, who has promoted herself by braying nonstop whilst waving the race card at every opportunity, thus intimidating and threatening professionally anyone who might otherwise call her out as a self-evident vicious bully. And being a bully, and like all bullies, she sees anybody who might try and mollify her via compromise or acquiescence as weak, encouraging her to bully yet again and to advance her otherwise hair-brained schemes to the ultimate detriment of all.

    And that’s what she is. That’s all she is. And it’s a shame she wasn’t slapped down hard in 1972 or earlier. And she won’t stop her nonsense unless and until somebody in Government or the Polity finally and at last tells this obnoxious and overfed, jumped-up house mammy to shut up, put her doo-rag back on and go back to work making pancakes in the kitchen where she belongs.

    Just a (very disgusted) thought.


    1. You can add Lorena Gonzalez to those who have Weber’s equally unimpressive “credentials,” including her own self-admitted admission to UCLA’s law school courtesy of AA.

  2. Yeah that’s right keep dividing the sheople, because we know that’s how you role, in my opinion this goes against the constitution (you know the part about all men are created equal).If we continue down this road, with certain people getting preferential treatment,we would be more like India, where you are born into a certain class and not allowed to advance, and that’s why California is so screwed up, sadly California needs a electoral college all its own,then the people who live in the conservative parts of the state could have a voice, only the large demo-cratic cities have a voice.

    1. I thought I was the only one thinking that a state electoral college would serve to counterbalance the single issue, feel-good radical notions and posturing of the high density coastal areas.

      We might even get the very necessary third stage of the California Water Project started at last.

      Just a (surprised and pleased) thought.

  3. This was tried before and it perpetuated racism by creating resentment and made so many systems less effective by lowering the bar. If you are more qualified and your overlooked and someone less qualified is promoted because of their skin color how do you ever get to the Reverend Martin Luther King’s dream? These people in charge don’t know their own history. Our recall list is really getting long. https://recallgavin2020.com/wp-content/uploads/OFFICIAL_PETITION_letter11_5line_06102020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3BcMbCk5D395lcV4F6wH

  4. These lazy politicians are pushing California on a path of mediocrity, by compromising on merit. It’s on a track to become a third world country where merit is crushed and color of your skin rules. California has shone in excellence because of the merit it accepted.
    Just talking about it is not enough. Pick up the phone and call these senators. Pick up the phone and call your friends. And when the time comes, go out and vote these lazy politicians out. Had they cared about the disadvantaged community, they would have gone to the root of the problems. But they chose the easy route to stay in office. Thomas Sowell, a great independent thinker reported that 70% of UC Berkeley AA students do not graduate. Because they are mismatched. They are set up for failure. The beneficiary is UC Berkeley and similar institutions who window dress every year by bringing new batch of would be failures.

  5. Affirmative action is dumbing down. This nation needs the best and brightest, no matter what race or gender. If I was given preferential treatment, I wouldn’t feel good about myself and would be offended knowing that I was treated better than somebody more qualified and deserving.

  6. ACA5 is a fetal virus more dangerous than covid 19. It kills our next generation’s future. It pushes all talented and competitive people leaving California , even America. So who are left to make America great again? Smart people learn from history. Since this has been tried and proved to be wrong, why repeat it again? The real competitive family contribute a lot to Cal economy and stability. And now you are telling their kids cannot go UC because of race. They will not tolerate this and will not stay here to be slaved and discriminated. No one will make the education cake again for you to eat free. UC will definitely lose its good reputation in the world….

  7. US will start to lose the power to compete against other countries internationally. And it will start form the California. You hire someone because he/she is more qualified not because of his/her race. How are you going to compete against other companies that only hire qualified employees?

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