On Tuesday, November 9,
1999, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced an alleged end to racial
quotas and preferences in the State of Florida! Details of Gov. Bush's plan
are sketchy, and it is becoming clear that he really will not be able to end Florida's use
of racial and gender quotas. There are serious doubts about whether Bush really ever
intended to end racial and gender quotas; it appears Jeb Bush really only wanted to gain
political points among Americans who oppose quotas.
Ward Connerly recently insisted that he will continue his fight to get the Florida Civil
Rights Initiative (FCRI) on the ballot -- in spite of Jeb Bush's weak "One
Florida" plan. Connerly indicates he has well-justified reservations about the
sincerity and effectiveness of Gov. Jeb Bush's "One Florida" in ending racial
quotas and preferences in Florida.
***See Especially: U.S. Civil Rights
Commission attacks racial equality! Commission launches nationwide attack on
race-blind justice. (Posted 4/13/00)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1999
CONTACT: JUSTIN SAYFIE or LUCIA ROSS (850)
GOVERNOR BUSH ANNOUNCES
HIS ONE FLORIDA INITIATIVE
"An Innovative Plan to
Increase Opportunity and Diversity while Ending Racial Preferences and Set-Asides in State
Contracting and University Admissions"
TALLAHASSEE - -Providing strong leadership to
unite all Floridians behind a plan of opportunity, diversity and fairness, Governor Jeb
Bush today announced his One Florida Initiative.
"With my One Florida Initiative, we can increase opportunity and diversity in the
state's universities and in state contracting without using policies that discriminate or
that pit one racial group against another," Governor Bush said. "Behind a common
vision that unites us, we can ensure that the promise of Florida's future will be shared
by all of Florida's residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, neighborhood, or
The education component of the One Florida
Initiative includes the following elements:
* Eliminate race and ethnicity as a factor in
* The "Talented 20" Program will
guarantee state university admission to the top 20 percent of students in every Florida
high school senior class. Even with the elimination of race and ethnicity as a factor in
admissions, the "Talented 20" Program will result in a net increase in minority
enrollment in the state university system.
* An increase in need-based financial aid by 43
percent, a $20 million increase.
* Proposed funding to make the Preliminary
Scholastic Achievement Test available to all Florida tenth-graders so that Florida's
eleventh-graders will be better prepared to take the Scholastic Achievement Test.
* Increased availability of Advanced Placement
courses in low performing schools.
* A new partnership with the College Board to
improve college preparation for students at low performing high schools.
* The creation of the Equity in Educational
Opportunity Task Force to make recommendations on eliminating inequities in our K-12
educational system. Sen. Daryl Jones, of Miami, will serve as the Chairman of the Task
The state-contracting component of Governor
Bush's One Florida Initiative includes the following:
* The elimination of racial set-asides and racial
price preferences. The time has come to eliminate these legally suspect practices that
never fully achieved their goals. These programs are constitutionally suspect and account
for a miniscule amount of money for minority businesses each year.
* Reform of the procurement process to encourage
the pursuit of diversity by making the state's procurement agents more accountable for
their purchasing decisions. Procurement officers will report directly to the Governor and
their positions will be reclassified from career service to select exempt status.
* Reduction of the red tape in the minority
certification process to encourage more minority businesses to become certified.
* Enhancement of minority business development
through financial and technical assistance programs that target the legitimate development
needs of emerging minority businesses, minority construction firms and minority
"My initiative ends racial preferences, racial set-asides and race-based university
admissions, not affirmative action properly understood," Governor Bush said.
"The One Florida Initiative transcends traditional notions of affirmative action and
increases opportunities for Floridians of all racial backgrounds in ways that unite us,
not divide us."
Joining Governor Bush for today's announcement were the Chancellor of the State University
System Adam Herbert, Speaker of the House John Thrasher, College Board President Gaston
Caperton and D.J. Miller, president of D.J. Miller and Associates, the state's
Governor Bush also signed an agreement and two executive orders with Caperton. The
agreement with the College Board will assist in identifying, motivating and better
preparing students in low performing schools. Executive Order 99-281 reaffirms the
Bush/Brogan administration's commitment to non-discrimination in state hiring,
contracting, education, and directed the Governor's agency heads not to use optional race
and gender set-asides and preferences in their agencies.
Executive Order 99-280 creates the Equity in Educational Opportunity Task Force.
"I firmly believe that with the One Florida Initiative, we can prevent our state from
being divided along racial lines," Governor Bush said. "It is my hope that the
One Florida Initiative can replace conflict with consensus in providing opportunity with
diversity and fairness in our state."
For more information on Governor Bush's One Florida Initiative, visit the Governor's
Website at www.flgov.com.
Coverage of Bush's Announcement
[This Associated Press story was carried by both the
Washington Post and by FoxNews. Both the Post and Fox started their stories with
very misleading and inaccurate headlines: "Fla. Governor Bans Affirmative
Action". What Gov. Bush announced was an end of racial quotas, preferences and
set-asides, not an end of affirmative action. Furthermore, this historic news story
was buried by the Washington Post on page 30. Editor]
Press Story (as it appeared in the Washington Post 11/10/99)
Headline: Fla. Governor
Bans Affirmative Action (Wash Post link dead)
Subhead: Order Ends Racial Preferences in Admissions, Contracts
Associated Press Story (as it appeared in FoxNews 11/09/99)
Headline: Florida governor bans affirmative action, says he has found another
way (FoxNews link dead)
(same for both stories):
"TALLAHASSEE, Nov. 9Gov. Jeb Bush (R) signed an executive order today wiping
out race and ethnicity as factors in Florida university admissions and barring racial
set-asides and quotas in state contracting decisions.
"Bush's plan guarantees state university admission to the top 20 percent of the
state's high school seniors, adds $20 million to the state's financial aid budget and
makes it easier for minority businesses to be certified to work across the state. Some of
the proposals must be approved by the Legislature.
"We can increase opportunity and diversity in the state's universities and in state
contracting without using policies that discriminate or that pit one racial group against
another," Bush said at a news conference.
"Bush's actions come as California businessman Ward Connerly pushes a petition drive
to eliminate the state's affirmative action programs. ... Connerly spokesman Kevin Nguyen
said the group will review Bush's plan before deciding whether to call off the petition
drive. "The governor deserves high marks for his efforts to provide outreach programs
to allow kids to compete on their own individual merit," Nguyen said.
(Associated Press via Washington Post 11/10/99, Page A30)
anti-bias plan (11/09/99)
"Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday announced sweeping changes to state affirmative action
policies, vowing to end race-based preference programs while launching ambitious outreach
efforts to increase minority participation at universities and in state contracting. A
year before Florida voters could face a ballot question asking them to eliminate
preferences, the popular Republican governor moved to establish a middle ground that would
banish preferences but encourage what he called "race consciousness."
"This is not the end of affirmative action," Bush said. "This transcends
affirmative action." With a giant backdrop behind him illuminating a silhouette of a
state map filled with multicolored faces and the words "One Florida Initiative,"
Bush said embracing diversity is crucial to the state's economic future. On higher
education, he wants to guarantee university admissions to the top 20 percent of every high
school class in Florida. In contracting, he wants to urge state procurement officers to
find qualified minority businesses. He signed an executive order that bans preferences and
discrimination but promotes diversity in all agencies under the governor's control. He
proposed other changes through legislation, agency restructuring and gumption.
Bush insisted that his wide-ranging proposal was not meant to blunt plans by
California businessman Ward Connerly to place an initiative banning affirmative action on
next year's ballot. But it already seemed to have an effect by Tuesday evening: Connerly's
spokesman offered mild praise. Kevin Nguyen said Bush deserved "high marks" for
encouraging "individual merit" in his educational programs. "We note that
the governor and his staff came to the same conclusion that race preferences are
unconstitutional. We credit the governor for taking the state of Florida significantly
toward a more colorblind society." Bush has called Connerly's proposal divisive, but
he also said Tuesday that the state's existing preference policies are
"constitutionally suspect" and that they have failed to create equal
opportunity. He cited court rejections of the policies in some cases along with
"minuscule" numbers of minority businesses that shared in the $12.6-billion the
state spent on procurement last year. The governor said educational and economic success
for minorities lies not in government-mandated preferences but in early intervention.
His "Talented 20 program" -- similar to a plan his brother, George W.
Bush, helped launch as governor of Texas -- could give 1,200 additional minority students
the chance to attend a state university.
"University system Chancellor Adam Herbert praised the plan, saying it
"acknowledges Florida's past but also connects us to Florida's future." If
minority students go on to become business owners, Bush said they will find a Florida
government that seeks out their services rather than overlooks them.
governor stopped short of the comprehensive changes sought by Connerly in his proposed
amendments to the Florida Constitution that would end race- and gender-based preferences
in all government contracting, hiring and state university admissions. Connerly's
amendments await approval by the Florida Supreme Court while his campaign plans to collect
the more than 435,000 signatures necessary to place the issue on the ballot. As Bush
sought common ground in the emerging affirmative action debate -- and some say tried to
groom Florida's political terrain for his brother's presidential campaign next year --
activists on both sides said they would return to their camps and decide how to proceed.
Connerly, who spent part of Tuesday raising money in New York for his California-based
American Civil Rights Coalition, could not be reached for comment. At the coalition's
headquarters, spokesman Nguyen said that the drive was still on, and that Connerly would
comment this week.
"Part of the problem," Nguyen said, "is we weren't consulted throughout the
Leon Russell, president of the state NAACP and leader of a
pro-affirmative-action amendment drive, said the governor's plans were cause for cautious
optimism. But as long as Connerly is still campaigning, Russell said, so would his group,
FREE. "The key issue for us is to come out with a policy that the governor can buy
into," Russell said." (St. Petersburg Times 11/09/99 by William Yardley)
Governor calls for eliminating
set-aside plans (posted 11/10/99 - dead link)
"Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday called for an end to two decades of race-based admissions
to universities and racial set-asides in state contracts and promised to lead Florida to
unprecedented diversity and opportunity -- but without laws mandating it. Bush endorsed
state university admission for high school seniors who finish in the top one-fifth of the
class, which would reduce the importance of SAT scores that critics say are culturally
"The plan requires approval by the Board of Regents, which will consider it next
week. Bush also issued an executive order prohibiting executive branch agencies under his
control from using racial or gender set-asides. In style and substance, Bush's ``One
Florida Initiative'' is meant to blunt the momentum of the anti-affirmative action drive
of California businessman Ward Connerly, whose Florida Civil Rights Initiative Bush has
called ``divisive.'' ``This is a statement of inclusion, not of division,'' Bush said.
``This is a statement that is progressive and thoughtful and forward-thinking and that's
where we want to stay.'' The first-year Republican governor is staking his considerable
popularity on a lofty notion: a Florida where people are ``sensitized'' to racial
"Before he went public Tuesday at a long news conference, Bush moved cautiously,
spending dozens of hours in talks with black leaders, educators and agency heads in what
he called a ``vetting'' of his new policy.
Reaction to Bush's program was strongly favorable. ``It has some great
concepts in it. I've seen a lot of good intentions, but what I have not seen is the
leadership required to make the difference in implementation. I hope this governor has
what it takes to do that,'' said Sen. Daryl Jones, D-South Dade. ``It's impressive, and I
think the governor is very sincere.'' Jones, who was among dozens of African-American
leaders briefed on the new policy in recent days, was named by Bush to head a new
17-member task force to recommend ways to end inequities between rich and poor public
schools in Florida. ``This is not some political scheme. This is something all of us ought
to embrace as citizens of this great state,'' said the governor's ally, House Speaker John
Thrasher, R-Orange Park.
In Sacramento, Connerly's spokesman gave Bush ``high marks'' for ending
race-based state university admissions policies. But Connerly is not yet prepared to end a
yearlong campaign for a constitutional amendment to end affirmative action in Florida.
``We wouldn't rule out any options,'' said Connerly's spokesman, Kevin Nguyen. ``We need
to assess which preferences still need to be eliminated.'' Although Connerly has struggled
to raise money to underwrite his initiative and still must collect nearly 400,000 voter
signatures, his crusade has struck a popular chord. A Herald-St. Petersburg Times poll of
600 Floridians shows voters oppose government programs to treat people differently based
on their race by more than a 2-1 margin. Bush, who said he has greatly increased the
number of blacks and women in the executive branch, hopes to set an example for others to
follow." (Miami Herald, posted 11/10/99)
anti-bias plan (11/09/99)
"In calling for an end to racial preferences in university admissions, Gov. Jeb Bush
aimed most of his message Tuesday at the public's distaste for a system that he said pits
"one racial group against another." It's well meaning, he said, but ultimately
self-defeating to send unqualified kids off to college only to see them fail. That's why
Bush's plan is likely to be felt more in Florida's troubled public schools than in its
universities. The reason is as simple as Bush's proposed alternative to race-based
admissions: his guarantee that those who graduate in the top 20 percent of their public
high school class will get a spot in any of eight Florida universities, regardless of
their test scores. Unless the state's K-12 system can produce a pool of top graduates that
reflects Florida ethnic diversity, Bush said, the plan won't do a thing to increase
"Preferences in higher education have been used to mask the failure of our
low-performing schools," said the governor, who was flanked Tuesday by university
system Chancellor Adam Herbert and House Speaker John Thrasher. "The old solutions
are not working." Bush's proposal for the public schools involves a hodgepodge of
partnerships, challenges and financial incentives. All are designed to assist students at
low-performing schools and get them qualified for college. "We can come up with all
the programs we want for college admissions, but if they don't have the base to be
successful, it's not going to amount to much," said state Education Commissioner Tom
Gallagher, whose department would play a major role in implementing Bush's plan.
California voted three years ago to end racial preferences in university
admissions, and some analysts say the change has forced initiatives similar to those
proposed Tuesday. The University of California-Berkeley, one of the nation's top research
schools, started an outreach program to improve poor-performing public schools in
neighboring cities. Methods include after-school and in-school tutoring, teacher training
and Internet-based curriculum enhancements. "I think Gov. (Bush) has the right focus;
you don't solve the higher education problems without looking at K through 12," said
Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform. "When you have kids
entering college and taking remedial courses, you're not solving the problem." (St.
Petersburg Times 11/09/99)
Bush ends affirmative action
(Posted 11/10/99 - dead link)
"Racial preferences in state contracting and college admissions are being scrapped in
Florida. Gov. Jeb Bush, in another attempt to shake up state government and chart a course
that challenges tradition, said the decades-old reliance on quotas and set-asides is no
longer needed to increase minority participation. Bush on Tuesday [11/09/99] signed an
executive order ending all racial preferences immediately in the 15 state agencies
directly under his control, such as departments of Transportation and Children and Family
Services. He is urging each of the Florida Cabinet agencies, such as education, insurance
and agriculture, to follow suit.
"Bush acknowledged he is sweeping away historic state programs born in the long civil
rights struggle, but he promised his plan will achieve even greater diversity. ``I want to
emphasize I do not question the previous need for policies that we're moving beyond
today,'' Bush said. But, he said: ``The old solutions have become increasingly
controversial and divisive."
"What is viewed as an opportunity for one Floridian is too often correctly viewed as
an unfair advantage by another Floridian.'' Rather than quotas and goals, Bush is counting
on a voluntary commitment among the state's top executives and purchasing agents. The
governor, who successfully courted black and Hispanic voters during his 1998 campaign,
said his own commitment to diversity is reflected in his staff and political appointments.
"Blacks, Asians and Hispanics, for example, make up 30 percent of his senior
"Called the 'One Florida Initiative', Bush's approach to racial equity will prohibit
universities from continuing to consider race when deciding which students to admit into
graduate and undergraduate programs.
Others voiced concerns that the 20 percent
cutoff could penalize students who, because of poor early schooling or family troubles,
show potential late in high school. ``I have no problem with the program as the governor's
suggesting it,'' said Samuel Wright, an admissions director at the University of South
Florida. ``But I think it probably would exclude students who ... are late bloomers
"The contracting component of the governor's plan includes improving the state
procurement process and helping develop minority-owned businesses. Bush wants direct
control over purchasing agents, with regular reports from them on their progress in
increasing the amount of business awarded to companies owned by minorities. The governor
said that while he has no intention of imposing target goals, he would reassign any
procurement officer who failed to perform. House Speaker John Thrasher, R-Orange Park,
pledged his support in getting the Legislature to fund the aspects of Bush's plan that
require legislative appropriations, such as increased financial aid." (Tampa
Tribune, posted 11/10/99)
[former link **http://www.tampatrib.com/fr111007.htm]
Ward Connerly promises to continue fighting
for the Florida Civil Rights Initiative;
Connerly questions the sincerity
of Jeb Bush's "One Florida" plan
In this Wall Street Journal article, Ward Connerly exposes the insincerity of Florida Gov.
Jeb Bush's "One Florida" plan. Connerly says it is imperative to continue
the drive to get the Florida Civil Rights Initiative on the ballot in Florida in 2000.
Why I'm Still Fighting
Preferences in Florida (11/18/99 - PAY site)
Connerly: "Since January I have been leading a campaign in Florida to qualify
an initiative for the November 2000 ballot that, like California's Proposition 209, would
end government preferences based on race, sex and ethnicity.
"Last week Mr. Bush announced his alternative, dubbed the One Florida Initiative,
which he declared would bring Floridians together and lead to harmony and unity.
Nice try, but within minutes of Mr. Bush's announcement, several black elected officials
announced that the governor was contributing to the "resegregation" of Florida,
"turning back the clock on progress," and ignoring "400 years of slavery
and Jim Crow laws."
"In recent days, some of Mr. Bush's allies and several Florida newspapers have
suggested that I save face, declare victory and head back to California. I respectfully
reject this advice. Here's why I consider it urgent to continue this battle. The issue of
race, in one form or another, is a drag on the American spirit. Even as Americans marry
and have children across racial and ethnic lines at a rapidly increasing rate, government
agencies continue to classify us according to race. Many of our social conflicts have a
racial dimension, and it's not just black and white. Those conflicts can be any
conceivable configuration -- black/Hispanic, black/Jewish, Latino/Jewish, Armenian/Latino,
Korean/black, American black/immigrant black. You name it, we've got it somewhere in the
"Politicians [of both parties] are playing the race card, often from the bottom of
"The die is cast for the November 2000 campaign. Democrats will demagogue and accuse
Republicans of being "mean-spirited" and "antiminority," and
Republicans will quiver and quake and utter mindless blather about "diversity"
and "inclusion." The day after the election, both parties will return to their
stale agendas. And the beat goes on.
[Affirmative action as constituted in Florida today is] "a regime of policies and
programs that has become convoluted, confusing and frequently corrupt. Mr. Bush's
[One Florida] initiative falls short in several areas.
"For one thing, [Gov. Bush's] executive orders are not set in stone. Just as he is
trying to end explicit preferences with a stroke of the pen, Gov. Bush or some future
governor could restore them with a stroke of the pen. It was executive orders and judicial
decrees that got us into this mess, and they could get us into it again if we the people
fail to let our elected representatives know that we don't want them perverting the
principle of equality ever again.
"The governor avoids dealing with preferences by local governments, saying he doesn't
want to "micromanage" cities and counties. That leaves about 80% of the
preference programs in place. Maybe Mr. Bush can't "micromanage" local
government, but the electorate certainly can -- through the ballot box.
"Floridians support our initiative. A statewide survey earlier this month showed the
initiative held more than a two-to-one margin of support among likely voters. Hispanics
supported it by 50% to 39%, and among blacks, supporters and opponents were in a
statistical dead heat. When asked about "affirmative action," opponents
outnumber supporters by more than four to one.
"Of all the arguments that have been made against the Florida Civil Rights
Initiative, the most disingenuous is that it is "divisive." The issue of race
should not be off limits for debate in a democracy. Those who support racial preferences
should be willing to defend them in healthy debate. And I certainly hope Mr. Bush does not
subscribe to the view that it is inappropriate for the people to exercise a little
self-government when their elected officials demonstrate reluctance to act according to
the people's will." (Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal)
[link to PAY Site: http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB942878713566844059.htm
END of Jeb Bush Ends Quotas and Preferences in