Two racial equity-related ballot measures that were approved on election day, according to Brooklyn Councilman Kalman Yeger, may attract lawsuits against the city.
A purpose statement to “advance justice and equity for all New Yorkers” is part of a city charter amendment.
Another establishes an “Office of Racial Equity and Commission” paid by government dollars.
The Racial Justice Commission, which Bill de Blasio formed and is headed by civil rights attorney Jennifer Jones Austin, vice chair of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, was the initial inspiration behind that agency.
“This would produce lawsuits where there’s always a lawyer wanting to make a buck,” Councilman Yeger told the NY Post.
“Regardless of the text’s meaning, there will always be someone who views the city as a source of financial benefit and would employ this amendment’s language to persuade the city to act contrary to [its] best interests.”
The proposals that added new racial equity clauses to New York City’s charter were applauded by Mayor Eric Adams.
In a statement, Adams stated that “equity and justice go hand in hand and are crucial to developing a vibrant city that benefits all New Yorkers.”
“The people of New York have made racial fairness the center of our municipal government.”
The two provisions were initially developed by de Blasio’s previous panel for a charter amendment.
Since there are already numerous civil rights laws, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel told The Washington Post that he doesn’t believe the additional rules would result in legal action.
However, his claim is perplexing because there would be no reason to pass these referendums in the first place if the rights being safeguarded by these measures were already protected.