For Immediate Release
January 14, 2021
SAN DIEGO, CA – January 14, 2021- On January 13, 2021, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria gave his first State of the City address and laid out an ambitious vision for the city with regard to pandemic relief, economic rebound, city management, public safety and environmental governance. While we welcome Mayor Gloria’s sincere commitment to helping San Diego’s disadvantaged individuals by aiming to alleviate the city’s homelessness and infrastructural issues, Californians for Equal Rights (CFER) pinpoints the Mayor’s plan as misguided and divisive. Rather than uniting San Diego’s diverse communities amidst a public crisis that affects all San Diegans, Mayor Gloria prescribed a policy framework steeped in identity politics. His “San Diego for All of Us” roadmap is a misdirected conglomeration of divisive tribalism and race-based priorities.
Basing city policies with an overarching emphasis on racial equity would compromise San Diego’s competitiveness, grossly waste taxpayers’ money on “pork barrel” projects, and potentially violate California’s constitutional guarantee of equal treatment for all. In his “Back to Work SD” plan, Mayor Gloria maps out an equity-centered framework in which a new Office of Race and Equity will be empowered to allocate public funds for social programs. Particularly, the plan prioritizes “historically underserved communities and especially Black and Hispanic residents” in social benefits, workforce development, public health provisions, digital access and even clean energy initiatives. One of these programs called the “San Diego Green New Deal” will affect 3,000 companies and nearly 40,000 jobs. Mayor Gloria re-segregates these groups using the term “front-line communities” and repeatedly argues for preferences along racial lines.
“Identity politics is not the way forward for San Diego,” said CFER vice president Gail Heriot. “We hope Mayor Gloria will always keep in mind the both the state and federal constitutions in developing the city’s policies.”
“To solve San Diego’s structural challenges in lieu of a $150-million budget deficit and the ongoing public health crisis requires stakeholder collaboration and meaningful private-public partnerships. Preferential treatment, as rejected by the majority of California voters last November, should not be part of the solution. Sadly, Mayor Gloria misdiagnoses the city’s longstanding socioeconomic problems as rooted in racism and wrongly prescribes the solution as racial equity,” said Frank Xu, President of CFER, who also serve as Co-Founder of San Diego Asian Americans for Equality and formerly as an alternate board member of County of San Diego Health Advisory Board.
Going forward, CFER will closely monitor the implementation of Mayor Gloria’s “Back to Work SD” plan and the work of San Diego’s new Office of Race and Equity to ensure that the office and the city strictly observe the state constitutional principle of equal treatment, which states that “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” As such, public policies must recognize the multifaceted nature of disadvantages, diverse needs of all San Diegans and past policy failures.
About Californians for Equal Rights (CFER): CFER is a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and advance the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment. www.Cferfoundation.org.