California Reparations Task Force Says Black People Should Be Given Priority in Renting and Buying
Claudia Aoraha, Daily Mail, May 15, 2023
California’s reparations task force has said that black people should be given priority in the renting and buying market – and demanded that a state agency should have the veto power over real estate decisions to ‘lessen racial segregation.’
The task force was created to study the economic effects of slavery and discrimination in the state back in September 2020, making California the first state to embark on studying the possibility of reparations for black Americans — even though slavery was banned in California even before it joined the union.
The group formally approved its final recommendations to the California Legislature last weekend – some of which have been seen as controversial.
One such suggestion would give the control of local land use decisions to a state agency – that would approve plans based on whether they maintain or decrease segregation.
Their finalized recommendation read: ‘Residential zoning ordinances have been used for decades in California to prevent African Americans from moving into neighborhoods, thereby maintaining residential segregation.
‘To address local zoning laws that reinforce and recreate this systemic housing segregation, the Task Force recommends that the Legislature require identified cities and counties to submit all residential land use ordinances for review and approval by a state agency, with the agency rejecting (or requiring modification of) the ordinance if the agency finds that the proposed ordinance will maintain or exacerbate levels of residential racial segregation.’
If that recommendation doesn’t satisfy the issue, the task force said that instead they could: ‘Create an administrative appeal board to review challenges to developmental permitting decisions or zoning laws and reversing the denial of a development permit if the underlying zoning requirement is deemed to maintain or reinforce residential racial segregation.’
As well as this, the task force said that black residents who have been targets of ‘racially restrictive covenants’ that displaced them from living in gentrified neighborhoods ought to be given the ‘right to return.’
Areas like Huntington Beach may be locations where black Californians have priority in the housing market if the recommendations of the task force are brought forward.
They wrote: ‘The Task Force recommends the Legislature enact measures to support a right to return for those displaced by agency action, restrictive covenants, and racial terror that drove African Americans from their homes.
‘The right to return should give the victims of these purges and their descendants preference in renting or owning property in the area of redevelopment.’
Not only should they be allowed the ‘right to return’ to these neighborhoods they were allegedly segregated and restricted from living in, but black Californians should be given ‘preference’ because of their previous exclusion.
The task force approved its final recommendations last week for reparations payments of a minimum of $360,000 for black Californians, though the payments may go up to $1.2million.
Newsom previously said he felt there were better ways of addressing systemic inequality than cash handouts. The entire package would cost around $800 billion.
Alongside the changes they want made in relation to housing, they have also demanded the state legalize racial discrimination in favor of black people.
Buried deep in the committee’s report are a series of quiet recommendations, including the proposed repeal of Proposition 209.
Prop 209 is a a 1996 voter-approved law that banned ‘preferential treatment’ for minority groups applying to state colleges and government jobs, leaving the liberal state as one that did not recognize affirmative action.
The task force wrote in their report that 209 has ‘had far-reaching impact on efforts to remediate entrenched systemic anti-black bias and discrimination.’
‘In recognition of the systemic discrimination faced by the African American community and the barriers to justice and repair imposed by Proposition 209, the task force recommends that the legislature take steps within its authority to seek the repeal [of] Proposition 209,’ the report continues.
The conclusion urges efforts to continue ‘until California’s constitution has been cleansed of this or any other measure rooted in racism.’
This comes after Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that cash payouts to black Californians proposed by his own task force are still on the table.
The task force have also called for the state’s minimum wage to be increased. It is already the nation’s second highest at $15.50, but the task force is calling on lawmakers to raise it to a ‘living wage.’
This recommendation is part of a broader set of proposals meant to address ‘stolen labor’ and ‘hindered opportunity’ that contributed to the state’s alleged systemic racism.
Newsom came under fire for allegedly backing away from his plans for reparations payments to black residents, as reported on Wednesday by Fox News.
But Newsom’s chief communication advisor, Anthony York, told The Sacramento Bee in a statement that he is not backing away from cash payments, but instead wants to wait for the full report before making a decision.
On Tuesday, Newsom declined to endorse any specific recommendations made by the task force, as he argued that dealing with the effects of slavery and discrimination is ‘about much more than cash payments.’
Newsom’s office later clarified his comments in a statement to The Sacramento Bee.
‘The sensationalized framing in pieces published by outlets like Fox News and others is inaccurate. The Governor looks forward to reviewing the final report — and all recommendations — when complete.’
The matter ‘will be resolved’ after Newsom meets with Legislative leaders in the coming months, the spokesperson added.
The same task force also proposed raising California’s wage which they argue is ‘closer to a poverty wage than a living wage’ due to the increased cost of living.
The California Living Wage Act, which would have raised the minimum wage to $18 an hour by January 2025, was cited as a potential model to follow.
‘The task force recommends that the legislature conduct hearings on what an appropriate amount would be for a living wage in California, and raise the minimum wage accordingly,’ the report states.
‘The minimum wage should also be automatically adjusted on a regular basis to adjust for increases to the cost of living (including inflation).’