With the San Francisco reparations committee admitting that their recommendation of a one time payment of $5 million per black resident has no mathematical basis, the Globe spoke with local San Francisco resident Richie Greenberg for in-depth analysis. Greenberg founded the successful movement to recall former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and now is a vocal critic of the recently-proposed San Francisco Reparations Plan.
What is the San Francisco Reparations Committee? “A committee that develops recommendations for repairing harm in our Black communities,” the website says. “The Plan will highlight ways that City policies have harmed Black lives.”
“This is an unlawful, unrealistic asinine plan,” Greenberg told the Globe.
Greenberg explained that the San Francisco Reparations Advisory Committee is “hosted” by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. He drilled down deeply into the committee and the plan and says the “plan exposes the worst of San Francisco’s activists and is unconscionably detrimental to our city. It therefore must be rejected.”
Greenberg also said the plan is racist and segregationist. “Whoever wrote this [plan], whoever came up with these ideas – didn’t they have any legal advisors?” Greenberg said. “Apparently there is no one on this team who knows election law or constitutional law.”
Greenberg said the San Francisco reparations plan violates California Proposition 209, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees “equal protection of the laws“, and California Article 34 which requires voter approval before developing, constructing, or acquiring in any manner public housing (low-rent housing project) in a community. “In fact, the Plan committee laments this legal dilemma in its opening paragraphs, reiterated throughout its 60-pages, then pivots to a call to action: ‘Let’s focus on organizing a repeal of Prop 209 in California,'” Greenberg said.
Proposition 209 (1996), passed by California voters 55% to 45%, added to the California Constitution that the state cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting.
Greenberg also took a close look at the members of the reparations committee. “Who are these people chosen for the committee? They call these ‘seats’ as if they are a jury,” he said. “These 15 people who were given immense power, are completely unqualified.”
“You would think that top city leaders from every industry would have been chosen – lawyers who know constitutional law, health administrators, economic advisors, sociologists, civic engineers, and the like,” he added.
Richie Greenberg created a website – Rejecttheplan.com – to address the legal issues of the San Francisco plan:
“The Plan has been largely misunderstood; readers, reporters and national media alike have been led to believe The Plan is about seeking to right a wrong due to slavery prior to 1863, but digging into the pages, we see very clearly it strays far beyond that. Bottom line: A 15-member committee spent a year and a half using taxpayers’ money to produce a delusional, insulting, racist, unlawful proposal – which fundamentally advocates for a segregation of the Black community into an insanely costly, unworkable and extraordinarily privileged class, to be paid for by San Francisco’s non-Black residents and businesses.”
In addition to being unlawful, Greenberg says the plan is incomplete:
“Reading through these 60-pages, readers are struck by an obvious omission: a complete lack of detailing who would be liable to pay reparations. The Plan spells out which Black San Franciscans would be eligible to receive reparations, largely based on years being resident in the city and several categories of victimhood. Yet, as for paying out those monies, there is no indication whether individual residents would be responsible (forced) to fork over funds, or just a portion of residents, or businesses, or government agencies. Have The Plan’s authors formulated the answer to this very important detail yet? Outraged San Franciscans want to know.”
Perhaps most important, Greenberg says the plan is racist and mimics apartheid:
“At the crux of criticism is The Plan’s desire to levy a reparations tax (though by law, only voters may approve or reject a proposed tax); its blueprint to establish neo-Apartheid segregation in San Francisco, an “Us vs. Them” policy encompassing a massive separation of the Black minority community (approximately 5% of the city’s population) into a preferred, prioritized class of residents through funding of Black-owned banks, a Black health care system, a Black-run education system with Black cultural-centric curriculum, Black-priority home ownership, Black community spaces, even Black mental health therapists to counter alleged current “White Supremacy” curriculum; it also seeks cancelation of Black consumers’ credit card debt and loans, along with exemptions for property tax and business taxes for Black recipients.”
Greenberg says the plan was a colossal waste of taxpayers money. “It is an incredibly unserious, incomplete, unlawful, shockingly racist, impossible to fulfill and astonishingly exploitive plan, already igniting racial tension, thrusting propaganda and false hopes of huge money payouts to a gullible and vulnerable Black segment of San Francisco’s population.”