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12AD.3.6 Yes on Proposition #14

This flyer describes the position of a political advocacy group that supported CA Proposition #14 in 1964. This proposition, placed on the 1964 election ballot, was intended to strike down the anti-housing discrimination legislation enacted by AB 1280 (The Rumford Fair Housing Act). A “Yes” vote on Proposition #14 by the majority of California voters would also amend the state constitution to prevent similar legislation from passing in the future.  
Committee for Yes on Proposition #14 to abolish Rumford Forced Housing Act

Yes on Proposition #14,1964; American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California records; MS 3580; Carton 22, Folders 450; California Historical Society.

In 1964, Californians who believed that the Rumford Fair Housing Act limited their freedom introduced legislation that would reverse its impact. Led by the efforts of real estate lobbyists, Proposition 14 appeared on the ballot for statewide vote. If the majority of California voters chose “yes” on Proposition 14 the constitution of the state would be changed, and the Fair Housing Act would be reversed. Proposition 14 also meant to protect property owners from any legislation similar to AB 1240 being introduced in the future. If passed, this proposition would grant property owners the right to choose who they sold or rented to, regardless of whether that decision was made on a discriminatory basis. The introduction of Proposition 14 revealed the conflict between those who feared it would codify racist practices and those who believed it would preserve a person’s right to free choice.

Do you think the people in favor of Proposition 14 considered themselves to be racist? Why might someone in favor of Proposition 14 believe that their “yes” vote was not based on racial discrimination? Why would the real estate industry want Proposition 14 to pass? If Proposition 14 passed, what would be the consequences for people who wanted to rent or own homes wherever they chose? What do you predict was the outcome of the vote on this legislation? Why?

This source can help students understand how people who opposed fair housing legislation organized against it. Teachers who support their students by using this source should consider introducing the concept of “racial threat theory.” In terms of race discrimination the support for Proposition 14 aligns with the idea that the greater the agency experienced by members of a minority race, the greater the effort made by the dominant race to impose higher levels of social control. This imposition of social control is generated from fear of the subordinate race's potential political, economic, or criminal threat. Teachers should also consider presenting to students the idea that some who supported Proposition 14 wanted to protect the individual liberty of Californians. By using the language of “liberty” and “freedom,” the majority used coded ways (sometimes referred to as “dog whistle racism”) to discriminate against racial minority groups without using explicitly racist language. Those who advocated for the legislation on these grounds believed that housing equality should not come at the expense of another basic human right. Be sure to connect Proposition 14 to the broader question about the dangers of majority rule by posing the question, If Proposition 14 was voted on by a majority of voters, would a dangerous situation arise, and for whom?

Your YES vote on Proposition # 14 will...
Restore your freedom to sell or rent your residential property to anyone you choose
Abolish the Rumford Forced Housing Act that deprives you of the right to the purchaser or lessee of your property under threat of paying damages or facing jail
Amend the California Constitution so this freedom to sell or rent can never be taken from you again without approval by a vote of the people

YES on prop. #14
Committee for Yes on Proposition #14 to abolish Rumford Forced Housing Act
609 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles 17 * 703 Market St., San Francisco 5
Howard L. Byram, State Chairman