SPARC speaker rejects affirmative action policies

Photo Elliott Burr/Town CrierWard Connerly makes a point at last week's SPARC meeting in Los Altos Hills.

Promoting diversity over qualification is degrading California and the country, according to Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Coalition and former University of California regent.

“We’re more obsessed with diversity than competence,” said Connerly, who spoke at the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition (SPARC) meeting Jan. 19 at Fremont Hills Country Club in Los Altos Hills. “We all pay a tax when we’re more concerned about diversity than merit. … And you wonder why California can’t balance its budget.”

Connerly, an African American political activist who opposes racial and gender preferences, suggested that discriminating on the basis of immutable traits such as gender, color and ethnicity to forward a group creates a separate class of people who are treated differently.

He said policies like affirmative action – an effort to balance race, gender and ethnicity inequities in universities and businesses – promote social stratifications. Work ethic, he said, should drive success, not discriminatory policies.

Proponents of affirmative action argue that certain populations’ qualifications exist, but they lack the economic means to attain higher education.

“If you wonder when the time to pull the plug on affirmative action is, the time is now,” Connerly said. “There have been more preferences installed in the last two years than the last 10 years.”

Connerly also touched on illegal immigration and the need to tighten national borders. California, he said, is overrun with residents who are part of an “underground economy.”

“Look at our hospitals, look at our schools, our prisons, our employers, look at our taxes,” he said of undocumented workers. “These people are part of an underground economy. … People who work but pay no taxes … increase the burden on the rest of us.”

If California doesn’t do something about illegal immigration, the state is “going to drown,” Connerly said.

“I hope and pray (newly elected California Governor) Jerry Brown can get a hold on this,” he said.

Contact Elliott Burr at [email protected]

SPARC is a local organization that aims to energize the Republican base in support of GOP goals. For more information, visit

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