Life in New York is difficult. Why should voters make it worse by approving three corrosive — and potentially dangerous — changes to the City Charter on the Nov. 8 ballot?
They should not.
The measures, a parting gift from a mayor who made almost everything in his city worse, would amend the charter — effectively New York City’s constitution — to embrace “racial justice and equity” as a “stated value” of municipal governance.
So what’s wrong with “equity,” who’s against it — and why?
New Yorkers have heard this song before, in 2019, when a “racial justice and equity” argument supported the state penal-code “reforms” now driving the city’s crime wave. Does anybody think a second chorus would be a good idea?
Indeed, embracing “racial equity” as a municipal “stated value” could sink any realistic hope of rolling those “reforms” back. Beyond that, voter approval would undermine New York’s civil-service system, create discord in city offices and further hobble public education by further eroding objective scholastic testing.
At the same time — and maybe this is the real point — approval would mean a bonanza for the city’s activist lawyers, lobbyists and race-mongering advantage-seekers.
A “racial justice and equity” commission Bill de Blasio established as his dubious mayoralty was ending advanced the proposals; at the very least, they represent endnotes to a legacy of decay and decline.
Unsurprisingly, more of the same is baked into the proposals. (The first proposal on the ballot is a separate, statewide one.)
- Question 2 seeks approval of a “statement of values” for the city. This declaration is throat-clearing, intended to set up the next proposal — which is where the trouble starts.
- Question 3 requires the creation of a municipal agency specifically dedicated to achieving “racial equity” — in context, equality of outcomes — across all aspects of public life. It mandates unsound policy in pursuit of impossible goals — a recipe for bitterness and strife.
- Question 4 would prohibit calculating the value of income-transfer benefits — including cash grants, food stamps and rent subsidies — in an individual’s income when determining eligibility for additional benefits. This would deepen social dependency in the name of “equity” and inflate poverty statistics, both long-term progressive objectives.
So there’s the package. The proposals are interlocking, each meant to bolster the others, creating a platform for multi-layered mischief.
Again, New York has a history of this sort of thing. Allegations of race-based disparities in arrest, conviction and incarceration rates animated the 2019 penal-law changes — even though there was virtually no proof innocent or undeserving people were going to prison.
Thus is the word “equity” a polemical device, meant to deflect criticism when evidence of actual unfairness doesn’t exist. And in Question 3, it is used to support the notion that a proper role for government is to promote — if not compel — equal social outcomes. As opposed to opportunities.
In practical terms, Question 3 is an assault on the civil-service merit system — and, indeed, on merit-based government right across the board.
Each city agency would have its own “equity” sub-bureau; detailed goal-setting would be required — as would regular reporting of progress as defined by “equity” bureaucrats themselves.
The objective, again, is to use the force of law to erase race-based statistical “disparities.” No doubt some foolish people believe this is possible.
But it is not. Not in a dynamic, socially churning city of 8.4 million people. And even if it were, government-enforced race-based outcomes would stand on its head a foundational American principle: equality before the law.
Yes, that goal has been elusive too — devilishly so — but it has been driving social progress for two-plus centuries. Who really thinks a formal embrace of spoils-system politicking, inevitably driven by race, ethnicity, personal privilege and greed, is a good idea?
To be sure, the civil-service merit system is embedded in the state Constitution — but to the activists that sort of thing is just a challenge, not an impediment.
The activists also view racialized public education and municipal procurement as positives — never mind decades of experience to the contrary. And then there were the 2019 “equity”-driven penal-law changes.
Really, who wants more of that?
There is, to paraphrase New York’s greatest modern mayor, no racialized way to pick up the refuse — that is, to run a functional government and to ensure a safe city.
Fiorello La Guardia made the wheels turn. Bill de Blasio caused them to fall off. Adopting the latter’s “equity” nostrums as a template for the future makes no sense at all.
So vote “No.”
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