Initiative 1000 (I-1000) is misleading voters in order to gather enough signatures to repeal Washington State Civil Rights Initiative (I-200) . The people and organizations behind I-1000 are the same ones behind the failed I-1644 . Outspent by 3 to 1, I-200 won nearly 59% of votes 20 years ago. It won in 38 of the state’s 39 counties except King County and in all parts of that county except Seattle. I-200 prohibits public institutions from discriminating or granting preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. I-200 does not end outreach programs, it does not end affirmative action based on helping people who are lower income or economically disadvantaged. It clearly states on I-200 ballot “Initiative 200 does not end all affirmative action programs.” And Washington State Attorney General Office’s opinion on I-200 confirmed it. Initiative 1000 (I-1000) intends to repeal I-200, and brings back preferential treatment.
The early version of I-1000 petition form resembled wordings of failed I-1644. The ballot title reads “Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns affirmative action and preferential treatment .” Obviously, they could not get enough people to sign the petition. After all, who would agree to bring back preferential treatment given that majority of people in Washington State rejected the idea more than 20 years ago.
Realized that they could not get people on board, they changed their wordings in below revised petition form. The ballot title now reads:”Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns remedying discrimination and affirmative action .” The measure remains the same. Only now, they want to mislead voters into believing that they are signing for the noble cause of anti-discrimination! I-200 is for anti-discrimination. I-1000 is for discrimination!
When good intended voters signed the petition, they signed away their civil rights protected by the Washington State Civil Rights Act, and those signature collectors get paid $1 for each signature they collect. That works out to be $300,000 for signatures alone if they reach their goal of collecting 300,000 signatures. Who are the deep pocket sponsors behind I-1000? Labor unions, special interest groups.
As people often say that the devil is in the details, let’s peel into the fine prints of I-1000. Initiative 1000’s Concise Description states: “This measure would allow the state to remedy discrimination for certain groups and to implement affirmative action, without the use of quotas or preferential treatment (as defined), in public education, employment, and contracting.”
- Since several court decisions have made clear that quotas are illegal. State law RCW 43.43.015 also clearly bans quota. I-1000 simply confirms that the state is prohibited from using quotas, and makes no change in existing law in term of banning quotas. They tried this deceptive tactic back in 1997 by introducing SB 6689 without success. When the intention of SB 6689 was questioned, then NO! 200 Campaign treasurer Edsonya Charles responded, “confusion does not hurt us.” Clearly, they are trying to confuse voters again!
- I-1000 narrowly redefines preferential treatment to allow preferential treatment, which means in the name of not allowing preferential treatment, those behind I-1000 are sponsoring an initiative to repeal a law that says no preferential treatment, and allow preferential treatment. The people pushing I-1000 are so dishonest! I-1000 Part II, 11(d) states: “Preferential treatment” means the act of using race, sex, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, and honorably discharged veteran or military status as the sole qualifying factor to select a lesser qualified candidate over a more qualified candidate for a public education, public employment, or public contracting opportunity. Sole qualifying factor or not, preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, national origin, etc. should be banned as stated in I-200. Take UW for example, prior to the passage of I-200, according to UW’s own website, “For thirty years UW admissions decisions have taken race and ethnicity into account“, and resulted the famous Smith vs. UW lawsuit. Katuria Smith grew up in poverty, with an alcoholic father and step-father, and struggled through high school. When she applied for UW’s law school with an impressive application, because she was not a member of a preferred race, Smith’s application was denied. Nat Hentoff at The Washington Post wrote “I asked them what would have happened if she had not revealed her race on her application. If, considering her first name, she had been taken for black, would she – given her academic record and character – have been admitted? The dean said she would have been.” If preferential treatment is once again allowed at UW, there will be many hard working students like Katuria Smith been rejected because of their races.
- I-1000 petition form intentionally misleads voters into thinking initiative 1000 would create a Governor’s commission to remedy work place discrimination when it really does is to allow discrimination at state agencies. The Ballot Measure Summary says “The measure would establish a Governor’s commission on diversity, equity, and inclusion” . However, the initiative’s text and its fine print on page 2 of the petition form say “The commission is responsible for planning, directing, monitoring, and enforcing each state agency’s compliance with this act (i.e. the discriminatory I-1000) .” We have eye witnesses reported that they were told by I-1000 signature collectors that I-1000 is about setting up a governor’s commission to remedy work place discrimination. They were told that if they are discriminated at by their employers, they can call the governors’ commission and the commission will investigate and remedy. The truth is that for those who signed the petition, I-1000 not only does not protect them against work place discrimination, but also takes away their kids’ fair chance of getting into state colleges, just like in Katuria Smith’s case. We are all individuals. We should all be judged as individual. People should not be treated differently according to what identity they have.
I-1000 is an Initiative to the Legislature. In other words, if they are able to collect enough signature by misleading voters and hiding their true intention, it will be put before the Washington Legislature next session. Lawmakers could pass it and overturn the voter-approved I-200, as is, with a simple majority. I-200 is about our fundamental civil rights. It is about the principle that ALL Americans deserve protection from race or sex discrimination. I-200 prohibits only those programs that use race or gender to select a less qualified applicant over a more deserving applicant for public job, contract or admission to a state college or university. Voters approved I-200 20 years ago, and it is our duty to protect it. Stop I-1000!