The city of Austin once again made national news for all the wrong reasons.

On Monday, Fox News reported that the city’s Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) “invited employees to racially segregated ‘anti-racist’ meetings where ‘white folks’ were asked not to attend a meeting that was only for ‘people of color.’” Soon after Austin’s race-based struggle sessions were exposed, PARD was shamed into apologizing. In a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, department leadership said in part:

“The email was not vetted, did not reflect the Department’s values, and, within 24-hours, the Department issued a retraction email apologizing for the exclusion of employees in any space…While the original email identified separate racial groups to encourage participants’ comfort and willingness to share personal experiences, the intent of the email/groups was not to be exclusionary, but rather to provide a supportive environment for sharing their lived experiences and identify ways to improve the Department’s relational culture.”

While PARD’s apologetic statement is a welcome one, it does not atone for the broader deficiency—which is that the entire city bureaucracy is infected with a social justice mindset. The whole system seems obsessed with dreaming up and chasing after the twin phantoms of racism and discrimination, despite failing in its most basic of duties.

All of which raises the question: What is pushing the city in such an activist direction? The answers are no doubt many, but they would almost certainly include as a source the city of Austin’s Equity Office, which bills itself as: “tackling tough issues such as institutional racism and implicit bias.” This is no small enterprise either.

In addition to a $3 million annual budget, the city’s equity office has a staff of “13 people,” as pointed out by Save Austin Now’s Matt Mackowiak. This team of taxpayer-funded grievance specialists don’t appear to be up to anything good either, at least based on their organizational chart.

Given all of this, it’s reasonable to wonder whether the city’s Equity Office played a part in PARD’s recent debacle and, if so, whether it might be prompting other departments to engage in similar race-based antics.

But even if not, we should question why any Texas city should be permitted to create and fund an equity office. The justification for such a leftwing initiative is clearly opposite the ethos of Texas and what’s more, there is no obvious gain to anyone outside of a small ideological faction. It’s a waste of money, an unnecessary growth of government, and likely the source for radical schemes imposed from within.

It makes for a prime candidate for state legislative preemption.