DE PERE, WI — I’d like to clear the air about California Proposition 209. Nothing that I’ve read in the papers or heard on the news lately seems to explain exactly what Prop 209 is, and therefore, I think the public is being wrongfully swayed to disagree with the California voters.
According to my original copy of the voter information pamphlet published by each California county, the official title of the proposition is “Prohibition against discrimination or preferential treatment by state and other public entities.” The pamphlet goes on to explain the proposition in a single sentence: “Generally prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting.”
My only complaint is that this measure is restricted to the state and public entities. Many of us are spending a lot of time debating the issues surrounding this proposition. How will its September 1 enforcement date affect the rest of the nation? How will it affect us in Wisconsin? I only wish to highlight what I feel are the two key words in its text: “prohibit discrimination”. Isn’t this what we’ve been trying to accomplish for decades in America? Prohibit discrimination. How can anyone vote against that?
(this letter appeared in the Green Bay Press-Gazette peopleâ€™s forum, Sat 30-Aug-1997)