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Gainesville equity fetish infects Alachua County

Dr. Diedre Houchen

OPINION

BY LEN CABRERA

The anti-liberty virus infecting the City of Gainesville has metastasized and spread to the county commission. The County’s new Equity and Community Outreach Director, Dr. Diedre Houchen, openly admitted during the August 24 Alachua County Commission meeting that the County’s equity plan is about equality of outcome and treating citizens differently.

Three hours into the eight-and-a-half-hour county commission meeting, the commission pulled the expected bait-and-switch from last year’s “equity” charter amendment (start 3:05:40 in this video). Many who voted for the charter amendment probably didn’t realize they were authorizing redistributive Marxist policies.

What did voters approve?

Here is the question that voters saw on the November 2020 ballot: “Shall the Board of County Commissioners annually examine policies for all County operations and endeavor to eliminate all elements of racial and gender bias in both the design and delivery of County programs and services?”

The amendment passed with almost 74% of the votes, adding the following language to Alachua County’s charter: “The Board of County Commissioners shall examine policies for all County operations for elements of racial, economic, and gender bias in the design and delivery of County programs and services. The County will identify and act to mitigate and improve upon the effects, patterns, and disparities imposed by said biases.” (Both the ballot question and the charter amendment language are found in the minutes of the June 9, 2020 meeting of the Alachua County Commission.)

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Houchen included the following quote in her presentation of the Alachua County Equity and Community Outreach Plan: “The County officially acknowledges existence of potential racial and gender bias in County policies and the delivery of programs and services the impacts of racial and gender bias are pervasive and increase disparities and inequality to the detriment of the citizens of Alachua County; and the elimination of racial and gender bias in County programs and services will demonstrate the County’s leadership in treating all of its citizens fairly; and, racial and gender bias particularly disadvantages low-income communities, communities of color and other vulnerable populations that have fewer resources to withstand negative impacts of such bias; and the County officially acknowledges the need to annually examine policies for all County operations and endeavor to eliminate all elements of racial and gender bias in both the design and delivery of County programs and services.”

The source of this passage is uncertain; the footnote says it comes from Alachua County’s Charter Amendment ballot submission, but that language is above and does not match the language in the presentation. We requested the source of the quote from Alachua County’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, but we did not receive a response.

Comprehensive Plan 2019-2040

Even before the Charter Amendment was passed, the County had already approved a new Comprehensive Plan in 2019; according to Houchen’s presentation (page 2), that plan defines “social equity” as a “principle of fairness, with attention to provision of opportunity to those portions of the community that are less well off; as applied to Comprehensive Plan, related issues include the provision of affordable housing, economic opportunity, and choice of living environments for all members of community without regard to sex, race, age, religion, ethnicity, national origin, etc.”; “health equity” is defined as “everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”

So we went from a charter amendment authorizing the elimination of “all elements of racial and gender bias” to a goal of actively providing “affordable housing, economic opportunity, and choice of living environments” and removing “poverty, discrimination and their consequences.” In short, the County switched equality before the law to equality of outcomes. In addition, “policies related to reducing disparities” already exist within the Land Use, Solid Waste, Capital Projects, Economic, Energy, and Community Health Elements of the Comprehensive Plan.

Strategic Guide

The County’s new Strategic Guide FY 2022 says “Equitable means striving to treat everyone justly according to their circumstances, providing opportunity and access for everyone, while focusing on closing existing equity and access gaps.” So we will deliberately treat people differently, which likely means differentiating by skin color. The federal and state constitutions and civil rights laws, of course, prohibit any discrimination based on protected classes, meaning that these policies must be written very carefully to avoid violating the law. That ends up looking like preference systems that give “extra points” to certain vendors in winning contracts, for example. The very people complaining about systemic racism are actually inserting racism into the system.

Houchen warned that “the majority of the plan is going to sound very technical,” but it just reads like a Dilbert jargon generator sprinkled with obligatory equity terms like racism, privilege, intersectionality, and environmental justice. It includes mandatory indoctrination for employees, all provided by “professional services contracts” (i.e., grift). It’s the same method the City of Gainesville used to install “equity officers” throughout the government. In the Soviet Union, they were called political officers, but they serve the same function: enforced loyalty.

At least Dr. Houchen gave a statement of faith at the start of her presentation: “I absolutely believe that equity ultimately means improving the life outcomes of the individuals in our community who are most in need.” Nothing like belief as a basis for the remaking of all of County government.

The meaning of “equality” has changed over time

This bait-and-switch talk about equity has been around for years. In the 1980 book, Free to Choose, Milton and Rose Friedman dedicated an entire chapter to the evolution of the term “equality.” They argued that the concept meant “equality before God” at the start of our republic. That concept resulted in equality before the law, so that no individual or group could impose their will on another individual.

It was not lost on our country’s founders that this view of equality was directly contradicted by slavery. That’s why one of the original grievances against King George in the Declaration of Independence was “He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their Transportation thither. This piratical Warfare, the opprobrium of infidel Powers, is the Warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.” Sadly, this section was removed in order to get a unanimous vote from all 13 colonies; two colonies had balked because their economies were so dependent on slavery.

By the 1860s, “equality” began to mean “equality of opportunity,” which the Friedmans said “is not inconsistent with liberty; on the contrary, it is an essential component of liberty.”

By the start of the twentieth century, however, equality began to mean equality of outcome. The Friedmans warned: “Government measures to achieve ‘fair shares for all’ reduce liberty… If all are to have ‘fair shares,’ someone or some group of people must decide what shares are fair–and they must be able to impose their decisions on others, taking from those who have more than their ‘fair’ share and giving to those who have less.”

“Equality of outcome” never leads to equality of outcome

Not only is equality of outcome contrary to the concept of liberty, it does not work. The Friedmans described how British “domestic policy [had] been dominated by the search for greater equality of outcome.” Instead of achieving equity, they developed a new class of people in the bloated bureaucracy that were required to manage all the new laws so that there was “a vast redistribution of wealth, but the end result [was] not an equitable distribution.” The new class created by the equity plan will include the new equity officers and equity trainers, money spent that will not benefit those “most in need.”

The Friedmans’ conclusion was dire: “A society that puts equality–in the sense of equality of outcome–ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

Alachua County citizens were duped into voting for the pleasant-sounding charter amendment that talked about eliminating bias, but they opened a Pandora’s Box to radical activists with redistributionist, utopian ideals. Sadly, we will learn the hard way that “equity” will not help those “most in need” but will further enrich those with political power while reducing liberty for everyone else.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
-George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)

  • All this talk about “equity” is just camouflage for communism where the bosses get the prime cuts and everybody else gets the dregs. An honest look at what Gainesville really is reveals the dark, soulless communism at work in this town. The place is, to put it mildly, a hideous abortion. Butler Plaza is a grotesque monstrosity, as is the industrial looking Celebration Pointe. The new retail and residential buildings on Tower Road across from Oak Hall are a hideous joke. Gainesville and Alachua County in general have all the miserable architectural deformation characteristic of all the behind-the-iron-curtain bleak structures banged up by the communist commissars in East Germany, Russia, etc. They were all soulless tyrants just as the cretins who manage Gainesville are. Oh, and what about our lovely downtown? It is best described as a s**thole. Take a look at the renovation of downtown Inverness in Citrus County, or the beautiful work done in the Spanish Villages at Lady Lake and see what people who have a soul can do. The people running Gainesville and Alachua County have no vision of beauty and all they can do is hide behind hackneyed cliches such as “equity,” inclusiveness, blah blah blah while they burn up tax dollars to further wreck the city and the county. We don’t need commissars of “equity” milking the taxpayers’ teat. We need the hard-earned dollars of the taxpayers to be allocated to real needs such as road repairs!

    • Well if it is equity outcome, blacks would be 13% of all jobs and Hispanic 18% since that’s what the US population is. Maybe that’s why white Gainesville city commission AdrriAnne self identifies as Hispanic after his step dad to be a minority but the group with the biggest slice. Gov-Mint jobs 4ever without skills or actual experience.

  • The reason it was approved is because not only is the majority of registered voters in Alachua County democrat, the majority of voters are also highly uneducated. Simply put… they’re brainwashed idiots!

    If Dr Houchen wants to whore out the county, maybe she should move to Las Vegas where it’s legal. What am I saying, it won’t be long till it’s legal here.

    They do as they’ve been trained – they’ll always believe…

  • San Francisco’s budget more than doubling since 2010 while the population rose less than 9% (Economist, Aug 27, 2021)
    Gainesville & Alachua County seemingly aspire to be a California style city / county government!
    But there’s a major difference! State government in Florida doesn’t aspire to be anything like California’s state government.

  • Operation Repatriation occurred in September 2020 when I moved from the Peoples Municipality of Gainesville back to the United States (Gilchrist County). God Bless America.

    • Good for you. Many others likely to move. Seen a tax bill and fire assessment lately? Through the roof. Not to mention GRU rates up and continues with their very negative credit trend. We are suckers! Need to sell and move. Don’t try to rent out with their new extreme permit inspection requirements required every year. Just dell and get the hell out! Let’s Move now all current suckers!

  • Unfortunately this is what happens when apathy sets in. You now have a Marxist woke government both in Gainesville and Alachua County. The marxists always overreach and when the people start feeling it in their pocketbook they will wake up and kick the bums out.

        • It’s EZ to spot a commie because most wear the
          Face mask. And anyone pro clot shot is probably a brainwashed commie Covidian.( it’s your choice if you want it, but I don’t want it, no global mandate)—-.”.never
          Waste a good crisis!!!”…perfect time to implement
          The great reset….they are changing people’s perception of reality….psychological operations,
          Brainwashing, indoctrination…we may be doomed
          With the youth of today…freedom & liberty are just one
          Generation from being lost forever…”just when life looks like EZ street, there’s danger at your door”…was Freedomfest2021 just a dream?
          “Row row row your boat..”…

        • Got that right!

          It’s FAR worse than the COVID virus and the damage it will cause will be far worse and have a greater impact to the world for years to come.

          You can’t teach stupid, they still believe…

  • Len Cabrera: “The very people complaining about systemic racism are actually inserting racism into the system.”

    Good point, Len Cabrera!

  • Excellent points Len. Marxism is achieved by promising that all will be equal with implementation of their ideology. It is easy to get people to vote for you when they are destitute and you are offering them free everything.

    • I am so glad you put your money where your mouth is. Like small government, no taxes, pull yourself up by your John Burch commie hating bootstraps.
      .
      Oh, wait. You get Covid and first thing you do is go let the Big Government welfare state fix you. You let the Federal Government pay $2000 for your monoclonal treatment. Effing hypocrite. Pray, pay for your own treatment, or let nature take its course and let Covid off you if it is God’s Plan. I am sick that my tax money paid $2000 to fix Lil Timmy the Hypocrite Welfare Queen. At least send a Thank You card to Joe Biden.

      • Dumb@rse is back!!!

        I’ll send Biden a thank you note but he would have to get someone to read it for him🤣

        Really unfortunate that you still acknowledge your own acceptance for communism by chastising those who are in opposition to it.

        You’re still California dreamin’ cause you’re one of the idiots still believin’…

        • Lil Timmy needs to treat himself the Republican Conservative Approved way. Jennifer used to run a feed store, probably has an old left over bottle of Ivomec in the back room. A slug of Ivomec, a Clorox gargle, and a UV light inserted up the Bircher hole to activate the “cure” is what Dr. Donald Trump says to do. All Loyal Trumpkins must Obey. Not get an Experimental treatment paid for by Pelosi’s CARES Act.

          • MOOVing in the direction government tells you…

            What ever they’re doing it beats what you’re sucking on and/or letting them shove up your @rse.

            Keep on believing…

        • Are they using citizens for this study? Are they infringing on privacy rights to get what they want?

      • O.W…getting a little emotional with the ad hominem there…I don’t get sick, so your monoclonal argument
        Means nothing to me…I don’t mind gov, good gov. I don’t mind taxes, reasonable taxes. I love the USA,
        The US constitution and my unalienable rights. Only
        A tyrant would want to take my freedom & liberty away…Don’t tread on me! The devil is about control.
        You sound very unhinged with your John Burch rant.
        You sound like a miserable F that wants everyone to
        Be miserable like you. Such a wonderful world & life
        And you spend it being a pathetic commie control
        Freak…freedom & liberty will prevail.

    • It’s brilliant work! you don’t get the title or headline if you’re a brainwashed member
      Of the commie covidian control cult…commies think a one world
      Totalitarian regime is utopia… It is utopia for the devil..

  • The insecurity of this author is clear through the absolutely ridiculous title and the fact he is threatened by giving minorities an opportunity. Any idiot who thinks this is communism or Marxism has no idea what those two words actually represent. Quoting “Animal Farm” is grasping for straws where there are none. Vulnerable individuals and minorities deserve rights in Gainesville too. It’s incredibly sad this community doesn’t think so.

    • The lazy / entitled (and criminal) class needs to straighten up and “get with the program” if they want to get out of their ghettos, especially their mental ghettos. A magical speckled woman with big hair and a fancy consulting company is not the answer. It’s yet another part of the dog and pony show put on by the city (and now the county) to pay lip service to the black community and spend a minimal amount of money instead of actually doing something to really help. In terms of their racism, Democrats are just the same as they were in their KKK days. Hold everyone to the same standards, period. Work hard, PLAY BY THE RULES, and stay out of trouble if you want to succeed.

    • Kaye…why don’t you enlighten us with the rights minorities are being denied in this community and other communities throughout this country? While you’re at it, tell us why so many people are paying “mules” hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to illegally enter this country if they are denied those same rights?

      The author isn’t illustrating any insecurities other than the facts that in this community in particular, the pretext of equity is being substituted for equality. If you have any semblance of an education you would recognize that.

      This country was founded on the belief that “all men are created equal,” not “all men need equitable places in life to succeed.” Are we there yet? Of course not but we are far closer than other countries around the world. Given your argument, as well as many other liberal individuals, people are destined to fail unless you give them a prop. What’s your contribution going to be? Are you going to give them, if you work, a portion of your wages to bring them to your income level?

      Even in today’s environment, one of the largest liberal leaning organizations in this state, the Florida Education Association, isn’t happy that some first year teachers are being paid salaries equivalent to teachers with ten years experience. Talk about hypocrisy.

      Don’t know if you’re familiar but just in case…you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

      Here’s another…If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

      You have a choice, keep believing what they’re feeding or don’t.

  • Public skools were supposedly the way toward equal opportunity. There are plenty of Black students who choose to take advantage of that, and succeed in life — but the Dems and CRT pushers choose to side with the few students who chose NOT to use opportunities. Are they really that important a voter bloc, the ones who chose to fail?

  • One thing to note. This amendment was submitted to the 2020 Charter Review Commission. After discussion, they decided it was too ambiguous and a bad amendment and voted to not put it on the ballot. The BOCC placed it on the ballot on their own. Many like to bash the work of the CRC, but on this amendment they got it right.

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