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Lobbyists seldom get much sympathy from taxpayers, but that could soon change. According to a report by Taryn Luna of the Sacramento Bee, the Asian Pacific Islander, Black, Jewish, Latino, LGBT and Women’s caucuses in the California legislature “are asking lobbying firms to provide them with demographic data – including race, ethnicity, gender and openly gay or lesbian orientation – on their employees.” Supporters bill it as part of the “worthy cause” of making California’s workforce representative of its residents and a “courageous” effort to expand the conversation about “cultural diversity.” It’s actually an example of ignorance and intrusion.
In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 209—also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative—by a margin of 54 to 46 percent. This measure ended racial, ethnic, and gender preferences in state-college admissions, state employment, and state contracting. The six caucuses are apparently unaware of this state law, which bureaucrats and politicians have fought from the beginning. California has always been culturally diverse, but “diversity” is now code for the politically correct orthodoxy that all institutions must reflect the ethnic breakdown of the populace. Diversity dogma empowers politicians and bureaucrats to claim that there are “too many” members of certain ethnic groups at UC Berkeley, for example. This ignores personal differences, effort and choice, and because of those variables, politically correct proportional is nowhere evident.
The quota surge disturbed lobbyists such as Jim Cassie, who looks for good communicators, regardless of ethnic considerations. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson wonders: “Is the government forcing companies to hire people they otherwise wouldn’t want to, to make sure they are seen with favor from lawmakers?” In her view, the caucuses gambit is “absolutely designed to exert pressure on hiring practices. I don’t think that this is the Legislature’s role.” Levinson is right about that. This is government intrusion based on ignorance and politically correct dogma. That’s why, as lobbyist Jim Cassie told the Bee, “This is something that goes straight to the trash can along with the Reader’s Digest sweepstakes.”