Supervisor Janet Nguyen

Supervisor Janet Nguyen

Supervisor Janet Nguyen (Republican) is running for the open 34th Senate District against Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Jose Solorio, a Democrat; SD34 includes a large chunk of west Anaheim. She published this in the OC Register on Monday, and it bears re-publishing here:

SCA5 Is A Warning for State

By: Janet Nguyen

Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, a divisive piece of legislation that sought to repeal portions of Proposition 209, has been tabled. For the time being, California voters will not be forced to decide whether they want to grant preferential treatment in public education to individuals on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. However, the battle over SCA5 is not over.

In the past, SCA5’s author Sen. Ed Hernandez made similar attempts to reintroduce preferential treatment into public education, first in 2010, with Assembly Bill 2047, and in 2011, with Senate Bill 185. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both bills. Consequently, while SCA5 is temporarily dormant, there is no guarantee that it will not return.

Before it was halted, SCA5 was passed in the California Senate without a single Republican vote because Democrats hold a two-thirds majority of seats. Having this two-thirds majority unintentionally creates a setting where legislation of critical importance to all California residents could be passed without any input from the minority party who may have another point of view. Regardless of your party affiliation, an environment where one party’s opinions are disregarded is not conducive to sound policymaking.

In addition to my concerns over the manner in which SCA5 was passed in the Senate, I was most concerned about the content of the legislation. The amendment aimed to fix a symptom of a larger problem by tampering with admissions criteria. Consequently, if I had been presented with the opportunity to vote on it, I would have firmly voted against it. However, I would have recognized the need for a solution to the problems highlighted by SCA5.

In the case of SCA5, we don’t need legislation; we need a solution for the deficiencies in the K-12 education system that are creating an environment where fewer minorities are applying to college.

Data from the UC Office of the President and the CSU Analytic Studies division show that minority students are being accepted into our UC and CSU systems in higher proportions but the amount of college applications submitted by minorities is still limited. Finding out the reasons why we have limited minority applications should be the focus, not changing the criteria used in college admissions.

As an immigrant whose family came to the United States in search of freedom, my parents reminded my siblings and me that our life would be better if we took advantage of the educational system in this country. In Vietnam, only children with financial means or connections have the opportunity to have an education. Because of this, I have always placed a great value on education. I knew that obtaining a higher education would be the key for me to advance and I want all children to have that opportunity, regardless of their race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

We need to talk about how we can proactively enhance the K-12 education system to make sure that we increase the chances for all children who wish to pursue their dreams of attending higher education.

What we don’t need to do is advocate in favor of legislation, like SCA5, that seeks to divide rather than unite. Unfortunately, the two-thirds majority in the state Senate has made it possible for legislation like SCA5 to be passed without debate.

Some important points emerge from Supervisor Nguyen’s essay. One, the vital importance of preventing the Democrats from holding a two-thirds majority in the Senate (and the Assembly). The state legislature is dominated by left-wingers who barely understand the nature of free enterprise and wealth creation, see the private sector as a milk cow for the welfare state, and ted to view citizens of the state through racial-colored glasses. It’s vital that they not have the unfettered ability to indulge their passion for social engineering by passing intrusive nanny state laws like SCA 5, which would elevate skin color and ethnicity above merit and hard-work when it comes to state college and university admissions.

This issue also has the potential to peal Asian-American voters, who tend to vote Democratic, away from Democratic candidates and into the GOP column. Education achievement is hugely important to Asian-Americans, as an avenue for success and for cultural status reasons. Liberal rhetoric aside, reviving race-based admissions policies through SCA 5 is about taking places away from high-achieving Asian-American students in order to reserve them for Latino and African-American students who may not (for whatever reason) have the same level of academic achievement.

Asian-American voters rightly understand that as politicians creating an unlevel admissions playing field that punishes hard work and high academic achievement. It’s a direct cause-and-effect line between governmental action and personal negative consequence, and its easy for voters to see which party favors such policies, and which party opposes them. Parents who have worked, sacrificed and urged their kids on to excel in school are going to take it personally when liberal Democratic legislators push legislation to make it harder for their kids to get into Berkeley and UCLA.

Even though it has been shelved for the time being, SCA 5 continue to engender division within Democratic ranks.  State Sen. Ted Lieu, a liberal Democrat, pulled back his support for SCA 5 after the broad Asian-American community went ballistic over it. In late March, six Latino Democrat legislators responded by rescinding their endorsements of Lieu. 

It will also reverberate in Orange County contests like SD34 and AD65. Given the above noted blowback against Leiu, Janet Nguyen’s focus puts Solorio in a difficult situation (and I do not know his position on SCA 5). Opposing SCA 5 risks alienating the powerful Latino Caucus, while supporting it risks alienating voters in SD34, where there is now parity between likely Asian-American and Hispanic-American voters since redistricting: 60,000 likely Latino voters and 58,000 likely Asian voters. And given actual voting patterns, there more Asian-Americans than Hispanic-Americans will cast ballots (which matters to the extent that the ethnicity of the candidates influences voter decisions in SD34).

Republican candidate Young Kim has pressed the issue in AD65. Incumbent Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva has responded to the cross-pressuring by temporizing: she’s opposed to SCA 5 with the important qualifier of “at this time” – a signal to pro-affirmative action interests that she needs breathing room until after November.