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California State Capitol on March 11, 2022. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Reparations Task Force Members Blast Media For Focusing On $800 Billion Estimate

Task force also calls monetary figure ‘least important’ part of reparations

By Evan Symon, April 14, 2023 2:30 am

Members of the California Reparations Task Force criticized the media this week for focusing on the $800 billion proposed estimate of reparations, calling the monetary figure the “least important” part of the proposal.

Since the Task Force was first put together in late 2020, following Gov. Gavin Newsom signing AB 3121 by then-assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), they have considered and recommended reparations, monetary or otherwise, for African-Americans living in California, for discriminatory practices and slavery of the past, despite that California was never a slave state. While initially encompassing all people of African descent, the group of those qualified to receive reparations was significantly narrowed in March 2022 when the task force voted to limit the possible reparations to those who are an African American descendant of an enslaved person or free Black person living in the US prior to the end of the 19th century.

In June 2022 the Task Force released its first report, giving a recommendation of reparations, in the form of home buying assistance, free college tuition, and business grants. However, one of the many criticisms against the report recommendations was that no estimated monetary figure was attached. In early December, an estimate of $569 billion was provided by the state, leading to disbelief and the threat of lawsuits if the number holds. Later that month, compensation compensation and eligibility requirements were discussed.

With the $569 billion figure overwhelmingly dismissed, the Task Force has looked for a possible figure in the past several months. Another estimate released this week by economists and policy officials for a total of $800 billion dollars, or roughly 2 and a half times the current state budget, met a similar reaction of disbelief, and pressured the Task Force even further to take a stand. The roughly $400,000 per African American in California figure overwhelmed the Task Force last month, refusing to give an official recommended amount.

The high estimated amounts have significantly hurt support for reparations in the state, with optimism from many members in2021 turning to pessimism for many this year. According to Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), it is now an ‘uphill fight’ to get the Legislature to pass any reparations, with former reparations supporters noting that the ask is way too much for the state to reasonably agree to.

$800 billion called ‘Least Important’ part of reparations

The focus on the $800 billion and subsequent loss of support led Task Force members to blast the media for focusing on the high dollar amount of the reparations, instead of other areas of the reparations proposal. Recognizing the historical harm that has been done and other, non-monetary things that can be done is one area.

“We want to make sure that this is presented out in a way that does not reinforce the preoccupation with a dollar figure, which is the least important piece of this,” Task Force member and clinical psychologist Cheryl Grills said. “It’s important, but it’s the least important in terms of being able to get to a point in our country’s history and in California’s history where we recognize that the harm cuts across multiple areas and domains and that the repair needs to align with that. It’s really unfortunate. I’m actually sad to see that our news media is not able to nuance better. It’s almost like, “What’s going to be sensational” as opposed to what’s important.”

However, Grills comments have been challenged, with many pointing out that funding and where the money would come from for reparations is absolutely important, and that her comments would only hurt the chances for reparations to be approved or even considered by lawmakers.

“Grills’ comments were absolutely ignorant,” legal adviser Richard Weaver told the Globe Wednesday. “So, right now, you have a proposal that would eat up the entire state budget for just under three years. Not only that, the ask for reparations comes when California is in a major budget deficit. And here she is saying ‘don’t pay attention to the money.'”

“Yes, the unfair treatment of African Americans in the past is important. No question. And it can be debated if California needs to do anything further about that, But telling people to not look at the $800 billion estimated cost is idiotic. Of course people are concerned about the cost. The media isn’t reporting on it to sensationalize it. They’re doing it because it’s the news. With an $800 billion estimate, they really don’t have to add much to it. The number speaks for itself.”

“The Task Force really needs to give a realistic estimate, and then show how that money can be cycled into communities, local economies, and tax bases and show how it can be a real benefit for this to have any real chance. But instead of explaining the money, they’re saying “ignore it”. You’re only hurting your cause.”

The Task Force’s recommendations are due to the Legislature on July 1st.

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Evan Symon
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13 thoughts on “Reparations Task Force Members Blast Media For Focusing On $800 Billion Estimate

  1. And wait until Governor Newsom gets on the national campaign trail and actually has to defend reparations during the economic downturn.

  2. This circus is the gift that keeps on giving. I love it when Democrats and their propaganda lap dogs in the press have a lovers quarrel. Exposes just how disingenuous and thin-skinned they both are. Nothing is going to come from this. Hairdo already denied their request for an extension and it’s clear he was only hoping to use this as a means to further his own political aspirations. Instead, it has become just one more thing that the rest of the country is laughing at us about.

    1. I know. The idiot “reparations committee” whines that the media is focusing on the $800 BILLION dollar amount when that is the “least important” part. Hilarious. Yeah, why would anyone focus on such a massive dollar amount? DUH? Good way to publicize to the nation just exactly how delusional you are when you could have flown under the radar, at least a little while longer, by keeping your mouth shut. Hollow laughter here, though, because the committee and their supporters have already done plenty of damage building future resentment from the unmet expectations of “potential recipients” with their nonsense. Possibly on purpose to further stir up their precious pot of identity politics anger and hatred in order to cause more trouble and drama, but that might be giving them too much credit.

  3. Joe Fried wrote an excellent article in American Thinker on reparations that hits it out of the park. It’s titled: “If Reparations Are Owed the Democratic Party Should Pay Them”. It can be found at http://www.americanthinker.com, click ” archives” for articles February 2023, and scroll down to February 9 and you will find it. MUST READING!

    1. Thanks John. I just read it. I agree, Joe Fried makes an excellent argument and this is an excellent piece.
      Suitable for framing. 🙂

  4. Keep in mind their estimate is probably less than 1% of their real goal.

    Shining the light on their evil is offensive to evil doers. Keep offending them until their choke on their own rage.

  5. The 800 Billion can be spread out over period of time and given in increments, That’s not a problem. Sheryl girls is correct the money is not of concern. They can pass this bill in a responsible way where it doesn’t further hurt CA deficit. Good Job CA task force. It’s about time somebody is trying to repair all America has done and continues to do to the descendants of the people who built the foundation of this country and it’s economy. Bravo.

    1. Since 1965 over $27 trillion dollars from the war on poverty has been put into Black Communities. That is more than enough reparations. This was never a slave state. If you want reparations get them from the Democratic Party. You know, the party of slavery, racism, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, segregation, voter suppression, George Wallace, and yes Joe Biden.

  6. Why not just make the payout 800 trillion!!! I mean, if we’re going to go to fantasyland let’s go all the way!!

    1. You are so right. Ignore all the problems this state has that were created by Democrats and just hand out more free money!

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