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San Francisco's Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to discuss proposals for race-based payout for injustices committed against past generations by past generations.
Despite having previously stressed that San Francisco — a city where slavery was never legal in a state where slavery was never legal — could not afford to meet the activists' demands, the Democratic supervisors ultimately approved the SF African American Reparations Advisory Committee's initial draft.
The draft, which calls for a $5 million lump-sum payment, total debt forgiveness, and other perks, may satisfy those keen to become millionaires overnight in a city that ranks 2 out of 100 on Neighborhood Scout's crime index, but it managed to draw the ire of the SF NAACP.
TheBlaze previously reported that the proposed $5 million sum, debt forgiveness, and guaranteed incomes ($97,000 as of last year and to be kept in synch with area median income annually for 250 years) are together meant to make amends “for the decades of harms" black residents reportedly experienced.
Although the proposal concedes that slavery was never legal in San Francisco or in the state of California, it holds that “the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.”
The lump sum is, therefore, not intended “to remedy enslavement, but to address the public policies explicitly created to subjugate Black people in San Francisco.”
The panel’s approval draft proposal states that eligible applicants must be at least 18 years old and have identified as black or African-American on public documents for at least 10 years.
Additionally, they must satisfy two out of eight other criteria, such as being born or having migrated to the city between 1940 and 1996 with proof of residency for at least 13 years, being a personal or direct descendant of someone “incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs,” or being a personal or direct descendant of someone enslaved before 1865.
While the SF Board of Supervisors has given the draft proposals its blessing, the reparations panel will not make its final recommendations until June. City supervisors will vote on it on or after September 19, reported the SFist.
A step in the wrong direction
The SFist reported that the SF NAACP is opposed to the $5 million payout per black resident.
Vice President Kamala Harris' former pastor and SF NAACP President Amos Brown issued a statement Tuesday, calling on the "Board of Supervisors to reject a one-time $5 million reparation payment to Blacks."
Instead of the proposed one-off payment to individuals indirectly linked to persons who may have suffered oppression, Brown urged the city "to redirect its focus on providing five key elements as part of reparations: education, jobs, housing, healthcare and a cultural center for Blacks in San Francisco."
In addition to a segregated cultural center, Brown demanded "preferential treatment" for blacks with regards to housing "to keep our people in this city" and remedial programs to aid black children, whom he suggested "don't perform as well as their peers."
'Illegal and immoral'
The NAACP was not alone in its rejection of the payout scheme.
Former San Francisco mayoral candidate Richie Greenberg suggested the "payout has been exposed as arbitrary and without justification. The entire plan lacks credibility by all stretches of the imagination."
Greenberg claimed that "the Reparations Plan likely violates at least 5 State and Federal laws," including Section 31 of the California Constitution's Declaration of Rights; Article 34 of the California Constitution; Title IV of the federal Civil Rights Act; and the 14th Amendment.
Kara Frederick, director of the Tech Policy Center at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News' "Outnumbered" that the payout amounted to "an illegal and immoral wealth transfer. ... It's not about compassion, it's not about humans flourishing, it's not about lifting people up at all, it's about power. It's about the left saying 'We'll give you free stuff if you vote for us, so vote for us.' And who's going to foot the bill? We all know who's going to foot the bill — it's the taxpayer."
Conservative talk show host and former California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder has long criticized the initiative, having stated in January, "For slavery #reparations, San Francisco also wants to give black descendants 'supplemental income' for the next 250 years. Why 250 years? America did not become a country until the Constitution was ratified in 1789. Slavery was abolished in 1865. That’s 76 years, not 250. So ..."
On Tuesday, Elder sardonically tweeted, "Let me get this straight. A black college educated San Franciscan, with money in the Silicon Valley Bank, gets full reimbursement though his deposit exceeds FDIC’s $250K limit, receives $5mil in reparations AND gets student debt loan forgiveness. Is this a great country or what?!"
An unaffordable and arbitrary figure
TheBlaze previously reported that the all-black 15-member reparations committee tasked nearly two years ago with calculating how much the pandemic-devastated city should dole out to residents didn't ultimately bother with mathematical formulas or actual calculations when arriving at the seven-figure sum.
Instead of comprehensive calculations, the panelists charged with proposing how to spend other people's money embarked on a "journey" in pursuit of monetary symbolism.
John Dennis, chairman of the San Francisco Republican Party, told the Washington Post, "This is just a bunch of like-minded people who got in the room and came up with a number."
"You’ll notice in that report, there was no justification for the number, no analysis provided. This was an opportunity to do some serious work and they blew it," Dennis added.
Although supportive of reparations calculated on the basis of feelings, the city's Democratic supervisors have underscored that San Francisco will have trouble finding cash to fund them.
Supervisor Joel Engardio (D) told the San Francisco Chronicle in January that the direct payments "may not be feasible under current budget restraints."
Another city Democrat, supervisor Hillary Ronen, said, "I wish we had this kind of money in San Francisco’s general fund, but if we want to maintain the services that exist today, we do not."
In order to afford the race-based payments, supervisor Dean Preston (D) suggested that San Francisco could slash the police budget to free up money to "fund some of the committee's recommendations."
The city's Democrat Mayor London Breed said in December that San Francisco's two-year deficit would be in the ballpark of $728 million, noting that it "won't be easy" managing it and maintaining "core priorities like economic recovery, public safety, homelessness, and mental health."
It's presently unclear whether city supervisors might similarly slash funding to these core priorities extra to police funding in order to fund $5 million paydays to citizens on the basis of their race.
San Francisco takes up Black reparations proposal, includes $5 million per personyoutu.be
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.