Advertisement

Ban on Gathering Racial Data on 2004 Ballot

July 16, 2002|MIGUEL BUSTILLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An initiative to bar California's state and local governments from collecting most types of race-based data officially qualified for the ballot Monday, but it came too late to go before voters in November and will appear instead on the March 2004 ballot.

Known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, the effort to outlaw government collection of all but a few types of race-based information has become a divisive political issue. It is being led by University of California Regent Ward Connerly, who spearheaded the state's passage of Proposition 209, the 1996 measure that outlawed affirmative action in state hiring and school admissions.

Connerly and other supporters say stopping the government from collecting race data about its citizens is an important step in establishing a colorblind society.

But opponents, which include the American Civil Liberties Union and some public health advocates, say the Connerly measure represents a dangerous effort to whitewash reality by preventing government from collecting information that sometimes highlights injustice and helps combat disease.

The measure would still allow collection of some racial data for medical and law enforcement purposes, such as the descriptions of suspected criminals, so supporters consider those claims unfounded.

Proponents first submitted signatures in April. But the results of the full count came too late for the issue to appear before voters this fall, which would have made it a factor in the gubernatorial election. Because it missed the June 27 deadline, it will appear on the next scheduled statewide election, the March 2004 presidential primary.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|