Tag Archive for: EquityVersusEquality

Real Life Effects of Equity

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The current attempt to turn our society on its head by establishing equity as the standard for advancement instead of excellence has become quite apparent. The failures are right in front of us.

Two shining examples that glare at us daily are visible members of our federal government. The first is our transportation secretary. We all knew he had no qualifications to run this department. His only notable experience is being mayor of a city whose population is less than double the number of transportation department employees (103,353 residents versus 55,000 employees). How could this not be seen as a train wreck (no pun intended) waiting to happen?

This is a person who wants to be taken seriously, yet regularly behaves in a non-serious manner. Just the fact that he was caught being driven to work and then getting off at a certain point and riding his bike (notably with a helmet) the remainder of the way tells you how his mind works.

Then there was the incident of his disappearing for two months. He is not the only cabinet member to disappear for an extended period as Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services Secretary, has been known to disappear for periods of time during health-related issues of national importance. He is another cabinet member who has zero experience in an area of significant importance. He was chosen because of his family heritage as opposed to any ability to perform the tasks at hand.

It is inexcusable that our transportation secretary decided to take two months for paternity leave during a major shipping crisis when hundreds of freighters were sitting off the coast unable to be unloaded. The fact that he did not announce to the nation he was taking this leave shows he was trying to hide it. He is not one of the 55,000 employees in the department where duties can be shifted to someone else. He chose to be a member of the president’s cabinet and just walked away from his position.

The latest episode displays his feebleness. The catastrophe in East Palestine cried out for leadership. There were federal employees on the scene, but no one was running the show. He made the flabbergasting comment that there are a thousand train derailments a year, alluding to the fact this East Palestine disaster is just a common occurrence. The fact that train derailments have been cut in half in the last 20 years counters his childish comment.

The other aspect of the situation displaying his lack of seriousness is his being part of an administration crowing about one of their “biggest” accomplishments — $1.2 trillion approved for infrastructure. It is quite apparent that trains for shipping goods and materials are an essential part of our infrastructure. He should have been out telling us of their plans to cut train derailments in half again in the next ten years. We would know of the plans to improve our infrastructure for trains, boats, planes, and maybe even cars if we had a serious department head.

Few if any plans have been announced for updates to our transportation infrastructure updated because we have an unserious person performing his position in an unserious manner who would have been relieved of his duties if he did not have his position because of equity. In fact, that seems to be the only topic he talks about – equity.

Then there is the other glaring example of the failure of equity. The current White House Press Secretary was, is, and will continue to be a national embarrassment. She has not displayed any ability to perform this important job. Communicating the policies of this Administration on behalf of the President is an essential responsibility. Contrast her with John Kirby, who has taken on additional responsibilities because of her manifest weaknesses, and his performance only magnifies her inability to perform her tasks. Because of ‘equity’ she cannot be fired.

These are just part of the damage this Administration has done because of its equity agenda. Just recently they repeated something done in a very public manner many times before. They announced the position of Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve will be chosen based on diversity. They are so proud of their path that they must crow about it. They unfortunately are unmindful that the candidate’s credibility is damaged before the individual has a chance to validate any rationale for the selection. If they were only quiet and went through the selection process with the same result, their candidate would not be branded as chosen only to fill a list of characteristics instead of being the most qualified.

They recently lurched into their “equity’ bag to nominate Julie Su to be Labor Secretary. She fled the state of California having supervised $40 billion of fraudulent unemployment payments. Does anyone believe she would not be standing if it were not for ‘equity’?

These shining examples of promoting people because of a woke checklist instead of their experience and skills may be important to some people. The rest of us view the choices as a failure. We want people in charge due to their skills and personal qualities as opposed to superficial characteristics in an attempt to assuage some perceived wrongs of the past.

When are we going to get back to honoring what we built this country on – hard work, brains, and talent?


This article was published in Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

The Ultimate Cancel Culture and Equality

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

A review of Mao’s Great Famine:  The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, by Frank Dikotter (Bloomberg Publishing, Hardback Edition, 2010; Paperback Edition, 2017, 420 pages).

It is seen as gauche, hateful, and unenlightened on college campuses and like-minded places to quote Winston Churchill because he was an imperialist and colonialist. Okay, so go ahead and cancel me.

Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all others. He could’ve added that capitalism is the worst economic system except for all others.

My personal library has plenty of books that detail the abuses that have occurred under both systems. Many of them expound on the failings of the United States, including slavery, genocide against Native Americans, and experiments with mercantilism and imperialism.

Judging by the mindset on college campuses and the entrenched beliefs that many college graduates carry with them after graduation, college libraries and curricula consist of only this genre.

Plenty of other books in my library have an opposite theme. They detail the benefits of both systems, the positives of the United States, and the unequivocal, inherent evils of communism and other forms of totalitarianism and collectivism. Mao’s Great Famine joins these books.

The book is a masterpiece of research into archival documents of the Chinese Communist Party and correspondence between high-level party apparatchiks.

If I were a billionaire, I’d gift a large supply of the book to universities to make them free for the taking to students, with the condition that they be displayed in the school’s food court, next to the cornucopia of foods of just about every cuisine, where the problem is too many calories at relatively little cost or the polar opposite of the problem under Mao. The abundance of food is so widespread in the U.S. that using the word “fat” is considered body shaming and thus banned because the majority of Americans are . . . well, they’re overweight.

If students were to read the horrors described in the book, campus safe zones and student counseling centers would soon be overflowing with sobbing fragile students.

Dying of starvation is a terrible way to die. Even more terrible during Mao’s famine was the horror of parents watching their children die of starvation before they did, and their emaciated corpses left in fields and roadsides, along with the corpses of neighbors, because no one had the energy to bury them.

Equally horrible was the rendering of bodies to make fertilizer. This came after farmers had torn down their own homes to spread any organic material contained therein on fields as fertilizer.  This desperate and futile effort left them exposed to the elements without shelter.

The book claims that more property was destroyed during the Great Leap Forward than by all the bombing campaigns of the Second World War. “Up to 40 percent of all housing was turned into rubble, as homes were pulled down to create fertilizer, to build canteens, to relocate villagers, to straighten roads, to make room for a better future or simply to punish their occupants.”

One becomes numb reading the horror stories in the book, and one wants to spit on Mao’s large mausoleum in Tiananmen Square upon learning what led to the starvation of tens of millions.

The primary cause was Mao establishing the ultimate in cancel culture. Anyone who brought him bad information about his Great Leap Forward was called a reactionary, a rightist, a conservative rightist, or a capitalist, and was canceled from the Party or worse. Some party officials saved themselves by groveling and admitting their disloyalty in public shaming sessions. Almost all of them learned to keep the truth from Mao, to produce reports full of bogus statistics, and to demand the same loyalty and lies from their subordinates.

In that sense, Mao was parroting the leadership methods of Stalin, who, decades earlier, had starved tens of millions of kulaks while punishing party members who told him the truth. Also like Stalin, Mao, and his cadres eventually resorted to reeducation camps, forced-labor camps, and torture.

Women, children, the elderly, and the infirm were particularly vulnerable, as survival of the fittest became the norm.

In total, an estimated 45 million people died from starvation or related causes under the Great Leap Forward. The communist goal of perfect equality of results was achieved in the grave, where everyone ended up equal.

The Great Leap Forward was Mao’s egomaniacal fantasy of surpassing in short order the West in agricultural production, steel production, and industrial development. Farms were collectivized, the collectives were given impossible agricultural production goals, and villages were required to build small furnaces to make steel, typically by melting household items and farm implements, which in turn lowered agricultural output from what it had been prior to the Great Leap Forward.

At the same time, millions of people were conscripted to work with little food, shelter, or rest in building huge dams and other irrigation projects, primarily using shovels. Ignoring the advice of engineers, many of the projects were built incorrectly and in the wrong location, resulting in silting, salination, and massive leaks. Combined with poor workmanship and materials, this led to scores of projects being abandoned.

As people were dying in the hinterlands, Mao and his top cadres were living a life of privilege in Beijing—not the comparatively benign kind of privilege bemoaned by class and race warriors in America today, but the privilege that comes from having the absolute power of life and death over the masses. In a monument to themselves and the Party, and to snooker the outside world into believing that the Chinese version of communism was a success, historic buildings were torn down to expand Tiananmen Square and turn the vicinity into a Potemkin-like showcase.

Conditions were made worse by the fatal flaw of communism (and socialism): the replacement of the profit motive and market forces with central planning and pricing. Grain rotted in silos because trucks weren’t available to transport it; trucks weren’t available because truck parts weren’t available or were shoddy; too much of unneeded items were produced and not enough of needed items were produced, because central plans were way off and because prices were set at the wrong level; pilfering and loafing were endemic, due to everyone theoretically owning everything but no one actually owning anything; and mines and factories were dangerous hellholes where workers were worked to death or died in droves from chemical exposure or industrial accidents.

The book ends with party officials beginning to blame Mao for the tragedies of the Great Leap Forward. Author Frank Dikotter says that in order to continue to hide the truth and to keep history from seeing him as a monster, Mao would go on to unleash the Cultural Revolution and its young cadres on the people he saw as counterrevolutionaries. Another award-winning book by Dikotter details the horrors of that revolution: The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976.

The parallel between this and the whitewashing on American college campuses is striking.  Those who see themselves as “progressive”—one of the most misleading terms in history—attack and silence anyone with the temerity to factually point out where progressives have done great harm, such as their leadership of the eugenics movement, their embrace of President Woodrow Wilson’s arrest of reporters and others under sedition and espionage acts, their stereotyping of Eastern and Southern Europeans as inferior, their support of the 1924 Immigration Act to restrict the immigration of those inferiors, their adoption of social-welfare policies and programs that created dependency and made fathers unnecessary in the raising of children, and, most recently, their worsening of race relations with diversity and inclusion initiatives that are actually the opposite of what they are purported to be.

Oh, and don’t forget their portrayal of Churchill as being worse than Mao.

The Folly of Equity

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Equity” has replaced “equality” as the latest buzzword in America’s never-ending game of Victimology, which in turn has replaced the board game of Monopoly in popularity.

As Vice President Kamala Harris has said, “Equitable treatment means we all end up in the same place.”  In other words, equity means equal outcomes, not equality under the law or equality of opportunity.

When I first saw a photo of Harris, I thought she looked Italian, given her swarthy complexion, dark hair and prominent nose. But, looks aside, her Jamaican father and East Indian mother were nothing like my Italian parents and grandparents, at least in terms of accomplishments and social standing.

Her dad was a tenured professor at Stanford, and her mom had a PhD in endocrinology and nutrition. My dad was a non-union tile setter, and my mom, a clerk. My dad’s dad was an immigrant coal miner in southern Illinois before moving to St. Louis to work in low-wage jobs. My mom, who was orphaned as an infant, was raised by her immigrant aunt and uncle in a tiny four-flat on a waiter’s pay. They never owned a car.

My ancestors didn’t play Victimology. I never heard them express racial or class resentment towards upper-income White Anglo-Saxon Protestants who dominated the professions and the top levels of government and industry. Nor did they ever complain about the ugly stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination faced by Italians and other Southern Europeans for the first half of the twentieth century. Fortunately, my grandparents made it to America before the Immigration Act of 1924 closed the immigration gates to people like them—people who were seen as inferior and non-white.

I took the example of my forebears with me to my first formal job, where I started working at the age of fifteen as the only non-black on an otherwise all-black staff of porters, janitors, cooks, and waiters at an exclusive country club, where membership was closed to blacks, Jews and Italians. On my first day, my boss, a black man named Jewell, told me to clean the disgustingly filthy employee restroom in the dark, dingy basement of the clubhouse. For extra money on my off-hours, I would wash and wax the big Pontiacs and Buicks of the black waiters, all of whom had learned their trade, manners, and impeccable dress and grooming as waiters on Pullman trains. They were at the top of the employee pecking order, and Henry, the head waiter, was on top of them.

That experience probably led me to being at the leading edge of equal rights, equal opportunity, and affirmative action over my corporate career, culminating in the diversity movement, which was born in 1990 from the landmark Harvard Business Review article by R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr, “From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity.” My work in this regard included the conducting of racial sensitivity training to address unconscious biases.

Now, self-righteous Americans who haven’t done a damn thing but virtue signal about race or play Victimology have typecast ethnics like me as white, privileged and racist, thus revealing their profound ignorance of the full racial/ethnic history of their country. At the same time, they espouse the Marxist notion of equal outcomes, which proved to be a fantasy under communism and is total folly in a liberal, capitalist democracy, where citizens continually change places on the socioeconomic ladder, as demonstrated by Kamala Harris and her parents.

The levelers have a lot of work to do. This commentary ends with the list below of 107 selected racial/ethnic groups in the US ranked by their median household income, which ranges from $126,705 for East Indians to $45,903 for Burmese. (Income doesn’t include the considerable amount of transfer payments and tax credits that go to lower-income Americans.)  

There are many more unique ethno-cultural groups in the US than those on the list.  How do the levelers propose making the rankings more equitable?  Do they even track all of these groups and know how many are corporate executives, members of boards of directors, members of Congress, students in the Ivy League, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals?  Do diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives include all of these groups or exclude many of them? Which ones are included and excluded?

The levelers won’t answer such questions because they know that the game of Victimology is rigged.

Rank   Ethnicity

1           East Indian
2           Taiwanese
3           Australian
4           Filipino
5           South African
6           Basque
7           Indonesian
8           Latvian
9           Macedonian
10         Pakistani
11          Iranian
12         Lebanese
13         Austrian
14         Russian
15         Lithuanian
16         Chinese
17         Japanese
18         Turkish
19         Swiss
20        Slovene
21         Italian
22         Greek
23         Israeli
24         Romanian
25         Ukrainian
26         Serbian
27         Croatian
28         Bulgarian
29         Slovak
30         Swedish
31          Czech
32          Norwegian
33          Scottish
34          Polish
35          Danish
36          Portuguese
37          Belgian
38          English
39          Welsh
40          Hungarian
41           Finnish
42           Armenian
43           Korean
44           Canadian
45           Irish
46           French Canadian
47           Argentine
48           German
49           Chilean
50           Syrian
51           Hmong
52           Scotch-Irish
53           Guamanian
54           Bolivian
55           Vietnamese
56           Albanian
57           Cambodian
58           Spanish
59           French
60           Panamanian
61            Dutch
62           Ghanaian
63           Nigerian
64           Cajun
65           Bangladeshi
66           Guyanese
67           Samoan
68           Egyptian
69           Palestinian
70           Ecuadorian
71            Colombian
72           Peruvian
73           Thai
74           Laotian
75           Polynesian
76           Barbadian
77           Brazilian
78           Nepalese
79           Costa Rican
80           Belizean
81            Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac
82           Nicaraguan
83           Micronesian
84           Native Hawaiian
85           Trinidadian and Tobagonian
86           Jamaican
87           Uruguayan
88           Jordanian
89           West Indian
90           Salvadoran
91           American
92           Haitian
93           Pennsylvania Dutch
94           Cuban
95           Mexican
96           Cape Verdean
97           Venezuelan
98           Ethiopian
99           Puerto Rican
100         Moroccan
101         Appalachian
102         Guatemalan
103         Iraqi
104         Honduran
105         Dominican
106         Afghan
107         Burmese

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

Harris’ Call for ‘Equity’ After Hurricane Wasn’t a Gaffe, But Natural Conclusion of Leftist Ideology

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fresh off an embarrassing gaffe in South Korea, in which Vice President Kamala Harris praised the United States’ strong alliance with North Korea, she is at it again—albeit without gaffes but with a striking comment emblematic of our country’s divide over racial issues.

At a Sept. 30 event organized by actress Priyanka Chopra, during which she interviewed Harris, Chopra posed an incredibly loaded and convoluted question concerning the United States’ climate objectives and the hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on parts of our nation.

“(When) we consider the global implications of emissions … the poorest countries are affected the most. They contributed the least (to the climate crisis) and are affected the most,” Chopra said. “So, how should voters in the U.S. feel about the administration’s long-term goals when it comes to being an international influencer on this topic?”

After some time unpacking the first long part of Chopra’s question, Harris responded: “On the disparities … it is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making … And so, we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity. Understanding not everyone starts out in the same place. And, if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities.”

That’s right, the vice president of the United States stated that disaster relief should be distributed based on “equity,” not necessarily need—and that low-income communities and communities of color should receive aid first, evidently regardless of the urgency of their situation. The White House the same day released a “fact sheet” listing the administration’s response to Hurricane Ian, and President Joe Biden on Monday visited Puerto Rico, hit hard by Hurricane Fiona.

But let’s deconstruct Harris’ comment, since the left is in damage-control mode trying to offset criticism and online posts chastising Harris and to brand Republicans as liars and somehow make them out to be the offenders in this situation. Harris said unequivocally that low-income and minority areas are disproportionately affected by “extreme conditions” and that we must allocate resources based on “equity.”

She said: “I know we are all thinking about the families in Florida, in Puerto Rico with Fiona — and what we need to do to help them, in terms of an immediate response and aid, but also what we need to do to restore communities and build communities back up in a way that they can be resilient, not to mention adapt to these extreme weather conditions.”

Clearly, “these extreme weather conditions” in the context of this sentence refers to the hurricanes that recently hit Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as those that will occur in the future. Consequently, when Harris remarked, “We have to address (these extreme conditions) in a way that is about giving resources based on equity,” she was saying that “we have to address (disaster relief),” both in terms of immediate aid and in post-catastrophe aid, “in a way that is about giving resources based on equity.”

So, let’s put a stop to any debate and, instead of defending Harris simply because you support the Biden administration, let’s call out a dishonorable comment when we hear it. This argument for “equity” in the context of disaster-related resources is not a recent development among those on the far left. The argument for equitable distribution of resources is prevalent in several aspects of progressives’ ideology. For example, I’m sure you’ve heard the calls for more “diversity” in the workplace and on company boards, or in leadership in Congress, on the Supreme Court and throughout the judiciary, generally. And let’s not forget “affirmative action” in colleges and universities, too.

The merit-over-race debate has been discussed ad nauseum. Clearly, society benefits more when the most qualified individuals occupy influential positions. To establish a fairer, more egalitarian nation, we do not need to tokenize women and individuals of various colors or sexual orientations. We need to level the playing field when it comes to achieving success, not hand out fast passes. As they say: equality of opportunity, not outcome.

Death knows no color. In times of disaster, everyone—no matter their race—is entitled to aid. The logical conclusion of Harris’ charade is that soldiers will airdrop supplies to minority and low-income communities that are otherwise stable, while wealthy, white community members may be left to drown or starve. I think we’ve seen this play out before.

Unquestionably, prejudice and racism have afflicted our nation for many decades. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, we were able to address it—and each year we improve at this effort. The shift toward solving the problem did not result from giving people handouts or preferential treatment, but rather from providing minorities with access to education and resources so they could be well-rounded, educated individuals capable of becoming leaders and assuming specialized occupations.

We do not need to deprive certain people of help in times of need, or of the opportunity for advancement. We need to play by rules that are fair for everyone, no matter their background.


This article was published by the Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Kamala Harris Remains True to Doctrine of Unequal Treatment [Where Are You Mark Kelly?]

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: This article is a strong reminder that Republicans need to press their Democrat opponents on the issue of the fair and equal application of the laws of the land. As the Biden Administration constructs a racial spoils system, where is Mark Kelly? Does he support it or oppose it? While his silence is deafening, it is clear his voting record speaks quite loudly. You can’t support Biden 94% of the time, and not be a left-wing bigot regarding white people. Senator Kelly, do you support the distribution of emergency hurricane relief based on skin color?  Yes or No, Senator?  Are you with Martin Luther King or Ibram Kendi?


How is it that equity, a doctrine that tells government and the private sector to treat Americans differently because of their race, is becoming so pervasive in the Land of the Free?

One reason is the deliberate obfuscation of its meaning. Fortunately, every once in a while Kamala Harris comes along to remind us of what it truly is.

Displaying her inerrant tin ear and bad timing, the Veep chose this time the devastation that Hurricane Ian has caused to say that aid would be distributed according to race. Florida officials had to rush forward to deny that this was the case, lest already horrific conditions are made worse by confusion.

Harris left little room for misunderstanding, saying on Friday, “It is our lowest-income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making. And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place.”

She added, “And if we want people to be in an equal place, sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work.”

“This is false,” tweeted immediately the rapid response director for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign, Christina Pushaw, referring to the idea that race would play a role on how aid was handed out. “[Harris’] rhetoric is causing undue panic and must be clarified. FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”

Florida’s senior senator, Rick Scott, also took to social media to clear the air. “This is wrong and dangerous. Aid is distributed based on need, period. FL is strong and ready to undertake the long journey of rebuilding. We are in this together, and won’t let politicians like @KamalaHarris use race to divide us as we work to recover our lives and communities. Even Elon Musk felt the need to call out the injustice included,” tweeted Scott.

As indeed, the founder of Tesla had indeed had his own comment: aid, he said, “should be according to greatest need, not race or anything else.”

The Biden administration has, however, made race-conscious benefits the hallmark of its term, even though it is unconstitutional. Last week was not by no means the first time that Harris drew a sharp distinction between equity and the American ideal of equality. “There is a big difference between equality and equity,” she wrote fewer than two years ago.

It is indeed a core belief of Critical Race Theory that, because racial disparities exist, aid and benefits should be race-based and not limited to means-tested criteria. The foundational writings of CRT are filled with the promotion of racial-conscious policies that fall under the umbrella label of “equity.”

“This belief in color-blindness and equal protection,” writes Kimberle Crenshaw in a 1988 essay, “… makes no sense at all in a society in which identifiable groups have been treated differently historically and which the effects of this difference in treatment continued to the present.”

Neil Gotanda goes right to the heart of the CRT argument when he writes in 1991, “Color-blindness strikes down Jim Crow segregation but offers no vision for attacking less overt forms of racial subordination. The color-blind idea of the future society has been exhausted.”

One problem for CRT enthusiasts such as Harris is that American society has decidedly moved away from having government or private enterprises dole out benefits or rights based on race. Race-conscious policies are dismally unpopular, with racial preferences in university admissions polling at best 26% versus 74% against and other similar policies largely rejected.

The other problem is that policies based on race are clearly immoral and violate the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

And yet, businesses, schools, and professional associations are falling all over themselves to compel their employees and members to conform to these ugly and unpopular views, by for example forcing them to sign Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statements, or face disciplinary measures, or worse.

Americans are fighting back. Last week, Jonathan Haidt, a liberal who is a professor at New York University, announced he would resign from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the only professional organization he belongs to, because it has instituted a requirement that everyone presenting research explain how their work advances “equity, inclusion, and anti-racism goals.”

Haidt wrote that he found he found the demand problematic in an academic institution supposedly devoted to seeking truth. He quoted a well-known passage from a book by Ibram Kendi, who earns a great deal of money from training Americans on equity activities: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Haidt wrote, “I explained why I thought the claim was incorrect from a social science perspective because there are obviously many other remedies. And I explained why I thought the claim was incorrect morally because it requires us to treat people as members of groups, not as individuals, and then to treat people well or badly based on their group membership. That’s exactly the opposite of what most of us who grew up in the late 20th-century thought was a settled moral fact.”

It takes courage for Americans to buck the tide of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), but they shouldn’t be alone. Until the federal government is in different hands, the 50 states should be passing bills that make it clear that discrimination is illegal, as is compelling a belief in such discrimination and prosecuting violators.

Until then, we can rely on Harris to remind us occasionally what exactly equity entails, and why it must be opposed.


This article was published by the Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Equity in Tucson through Marijuana Licenses

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Maybe someone has to be on drugs to understand the connection.

Some sort of mental impairment must be keeping me from understanding a news story about social equity and marijuana dispensary licenses in Tucson and the rest of Arizona. I don’t consume drugs and have about one drink a week, so it’s probably due to a low IQ.

The story is pasted at the end of this commentary.

It’s not the fault of the reporter that the story is difficult to understand. He did a good job of covering the convoluted subject. It’s the fault of voters who approved Proposition 207 in 2020.

The proposition legalized the adult use of recreational marijuana. That’s not the problem. The problem is that it also mandated that social equity licenses be issued to “people from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

As a sidebar, many inequities have been committed under the guise of “equity.” Likewise, a lot of unfairness and injustice has been committed in the name of “fairness” and “justice.”

In any event, think of the convoluted logic behind the equity provision. Using the same logic, licenses for liquor stores should be based on where there are the highest DUI arrests or the highest incidence of spousal abuse stemming from drunkenness. Similarly, fees for food licenses should be waived for restaurateurs opening up fried chicken and pizza restaurants in communities with a high incidence of obesity and heart disease.

Imagine the political mischief caused by licenses being handed out based on the squishy criterion of “people from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.” I don’t have to imagine.

It reminds me of a job I took as a 19-year-old in my hometown of St. Louis in order to earn money for college. I worked for a former shady mayor who had a business helping liquor stores and taverns obtain a liquor license or have their license renewed. My job was to get the majority of property owners within a couple hundred feet of the establishment to sign a form indicating that they had no problem with the granting or the renewing of the license.  In poor neighborhoods, most of the property owners were absentee landlords who lived in the leafy suburbs. This necessitated that I drive to their nice homes to obtain the signatures. The process was so corrupt that I quit after a few weeks and took a job as a laborer in an aluminum plant.

I learned more about how the world works in those two jobs, as well as my two summers as a sewer inspector for the city, then I did in four years of college. I didn’t learn enough, however, to understand the thinking behind the equity provision of Prop. 207.


The following article is referenced in the second paragraph above.

Arizona Daily Star

Despite new dispensary licenses, ‘social equity’ winners could face tough road ahead

Edward Celaya 18 hrs ago

The state’s new “social equity” licenses to operate recreational marijuana dispensaries were awarded Friday to 26 applicants.

The room inside the Arizona Department of Health Services Offices in Phoenix was filled Friday with department dignitaries, media and representatives of applicants seeking one of 26 “social equity” licenses needed to operate a recreational marijuana dispensary in the state.

There was no bingo wheel, no cage spinning full of of ping pong balls or applications. Instead, a computer processed nearly 1,300 application numbers and selected the 26 winners within a few moments. Online, hundreds of candidates for Arizona’s Social Equity Dispensary Program waited anxiously to see who was lucky enough to win one of lucrative 26 issued licenses.

Though the name and number on the application of the winners is now known, who the individuals or companies are behind the applications was not immediately known.

Most of the applicants that were selected were listed as Limited Liability Companies registered in the Phoenix area. Three winning applicants had Pima County addresses on their LLC filings with the Arizona Corporation Commission: Higher Than High I, Joint Junkies I, and Juicy Joint I. (See box for names of those selected)

Social equity licenses were passed as part of Prop. 207 in 2020 which legalized adult-use recreational marijuana usage. According to the statute, they are to be issued to “people from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

However, due to the exclusively recreational nature of the licenses and special zoning exceptions that could run the clock out on licensees’ time to open retail locations, new licensees might be entering the toughest portion yet in what has been an onerous and expensive process.

That could mean some winners are forced to forfeit their licenses (even though they could also transfer, or essentially sell, the license for a potential profit of $10 to $20 million). And some cities, like Tucson, could become unattractive to potential operators.

The first issue for social equity licensees is that the new licenses are only for recreational adult-use and don’t include an accompanying medical dispensary license.

That becomes important to cities, like Tucson and Flagstaff, who decided to proactively put a moratorium on exclusively recreational dispensaries after the passage of Prop. 207.

While Prop. 207 allowed for already established medical dispensaries to apply for dual-licenses and, after a 60-day process, begin selling to recreational customers and medical patients alike, it made no such provision to allow social equity licensees to apply for an accompanying medical license.

Sam Richard, executive director of the Arizona Dispensary Association — one of the main entities responsible for crafting Prop. 207 along with the state health department — explained the reason for the new licenses being exclusively recreational.

“Prop. 207 didn’t amend the Arizona Medical Marijuana act at all, so the reason why the currently established medical licenses can be kind of co-located is because they already existed,” he said. “The only new licenses Prop. 207 created were adult-use, recreational licenses.”

Both Richard and Jon Udell, the director of politics for the Arizona branch of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, noted that there are potential legislative fixes for this seeming discrepancy.

But Udell pointed out that a bill that included language to help fix the problem had been dead for some time.

“Right now there just isn’t really a realistic path forward,” for any comprehensive fix, he said.

An even more recent move last week Tucson’s City Council to subject potential social equity licensees to a special exception zoning process could be a game changer for both the city and state, according to Berekk Blackwell, COO of Zoned Properties, a real estate services company that specializes in the cannabis industry.

“The news out of Tucson, or I guess the rhetoric that was used, was very surprising,” Blackwell said. “I think it was a really, really strong statement and it’s going to be really interesting to see if any of the other localities in the state of Arizona follow suit.”

Blackwell was referring to a unanimous decision during the last Tucson City Council meeting, where the council moved to create a special exception zoning process for social equity licensees. The zoning process will take six months to complete and will go before mayor and council for approval.

That move is not good in Blackwell’s eyes, or the eyes of some potential social equity dispensary operators. First, as stipulated by Prop. 207, social equity licensees must have the retail portion of their operation up and running within 18 months. That clock started April 8.

“If you aren’t able to start that process for another six months, you might be in a situation where you actually can’t look at Tucson as an option anymore,” he said.

That 18-month window was written into the law to ensure new retail dispensary locations opened and to prevent licensees from sitting on the license, something that happened when medical licenses were first issues nearly a decade ago, according to Richard.

One social equity applicant, Ariana Munoz — who between herself and her mother had four applications in the pool of nearly 1,300 — solidified Blackwell’s point about Tucson’s new zoning rule.

“Due to the zoning specifically in the city of Tucson, unless they do an emergency hearing to rush the process, I probably will not look into that city because I wouldn’t get anything really going for six months,” Munoz said.

Although Munoz did not win one of the coveted 26 licenses, she said she believes others like her will look at Tucson the same way due to the special exception process.

This six-month special exception process can’t be rushed, according to Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik, not necessarily because of any state law or statute, but because of precedence.

“If we ease it up for one, then we’re pretty much on the hook to ease it up for everybody who participates in that process,” he said. “I don’t think we can cherry pick the equity licenses and say, ‘You get a streamlined path through the special exception process. If we do that for them, then TEP is going to ask for the same thing.”

Kozachik insisted the special exception process wouldn’t restrict potential dispensary operators and will in fact open up more appropriate and “better” spaces for dispensaries to locate. He also said he believed that even with a six-month wait, the potential market share in Tucson would be too great a pull for operators to resist.

“I don’t think it’s as onerous as people are making it out to be,” he said, adding that he believes large dispensary conglomerates, or MSOs (short for multi-state operators) are the driving force behind many social equity licensees.

“So tacking on another, you know, pick your period of time — three months or whatever — it’s not going to break their bank.”

According to Demitri Downing, CEO and founder of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association, Kozachik’s understanding of who applied for social equity licenses is incomplete.

Downing called the idea of social equity programs “nebulous,” and countered Kozachik’s argument that only those with money applied.

“Half of the applicants are normal people who scratched together $4,000 and are hoping to win the lottery,” he said. “The other half are normal people who own 51% of enterprises that were paid for by existing dispensary, MSOs, intelligent people, investors, but they’re still half owned by them.”

While a significant number of applicants were either backed financially or in some other way by already established dispensary operators or other big cannabis corporations, Downing believes that now that the state has issued the licenses, it’s up to cities and other jurisdictions to decide on time, place and manner of where a social equity dispensary can go.

He sees Tucson’s special exception zoning as not just a bad idea, but one that could be disastrous for future potential dispensary operators and consumers. And he doesn’t think the city should be in the game of deciding just who is truly benefiting off social equity licenses.

“It’s just wrong,” he said. “First of all, it’s none of the city of Tucson’s business, it’s the state’s business to decide eligibility. Tucson’s there to regulate time, place and manner. But they’re confused.”

For his part, Kozachik said he sees the special exception zoning process as a way to open up more areas of eligible real estate within the city for dispensaries to operate.

He also disagreed with Downing, asserting the mayor and council do play a role when it comes to social equity licenses.

“Is it the city’s role by statute? No. But but nothing prevents us from seeing holes in the statute, the state statute, and pointing to them and indicating to the state government that you’re not achieving the goals that the voters voted for,” he said.

Edward Celaya is a breaking news and marijuana reporter. He has been on both beats since May 2021.