Democrats and Republicans find middle ground in California’s Prop. 1 to fund mental health care

(Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

Democrats and Republicans find middle ground in California’s Prop. 1 to fund mental health care

California politics, mental health, 2024 elections

Taryn Luna

January 31, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom has an unusual ally on his Proposition 1 ballot initiative


to boost mental health funding: an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and Kern County lawmaker who co-chaired the committee that led the failed 2021 recall


against the governor.

Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) voted in September to place Newsom’s plan on the March 5 primary ballot. She recently wrote an op-ed advocating for his proposal to address the state’s mental health crisis and supported the California Republican Party’s decision to remain neutral on Proposition 1.

“It’s not often that I agree with the governor, I mean, let’s be honest,” Grove said. “But I think this is something that we really need to do because the bottom line is that there are people on the streets who really need this help.”

Grove’s support for Proposition 1 is emblematic of one

greater phenomenon shift

in California politics: To solve a serious homelessness and mental health crisis, Republicans and Democrats are leaving their ideological corners and stepping into an unfamiliar, bipartisan middle ground. In a deeply divided nation, the measure offers a rare glimpse of compromise on a policy led by one of the most politically polarizing figures in America.

Proposition 1 asks voters to modernize California’s aging mental health system to increase care for drug addiction


and provide more than 10,000 new treatment beds


through a $6.4 billion bond. Newsom describes the measure as part of a “larger constellation” of his efforts to tackle the most vexing problem of his governorship.

The bills that put


measure before voters received sweeping bipartisan support in the Legislature;


one passed unanimously in the Senate.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll in December showed that two-thirds of likely voters support the measure. The ‘Yes on Prop. 1’ campaign of the governor has received more than $10 million in contributions from a mixed bag of political players, including Native American tribes, hospitals, firefighters, correctional officers, construction unions and Uber.

Newsom said bipartisanship is rare

in a

response to ‘universal frustration’.

When it comes to the issue of mental and behavioral health, broadly defined as substance abuse, it affects everyone in a very personal, profound and consequential way.”


said in a recent interview. “It’s not just the blight on the streets and sidewalks and the frustration we have there. It’s in your house. It’s your children. It’s your mom and dad. It’s the person in the mirror when you brush your teeth. It’s a unity agenda if there ever was one.

Statement 1 is the linchpin of Newsom’s response to a complex homelessness crisis

that witch

is intertwined with mental health


and substance abuse.

in a state where

More than eight in 10 homeless Californians have experienced a serious mental illness, and nearly two-thirds have


uses illegal drugs

on regular basis

according to research by UC San Francisco


The Governor’s solutions aim to increase mental health facilities and treatment beds, provide more funding for substance abuse health care, and make it easier for families and authorities to ask courts to mandate treatment for people with serious mental illness to set. Increasing the availability of housing, in the form of temporary and permanently affordable housing

unit housing

and greater state oversight of local government plans are also crucial parts of his solution.

“My frustration is palpable,” Newsom said. “We’re giving cities and counties the tools. I want them to use them, and it’s time to move.”

Newsom’s impatience stems from the fact that he has since spent more than $28 billion on reforming the state’s mental health system.

take, he is taken

office, and the


the homeless population has only grown.

Fox News repeatedly denounces the governor

California belongs to the state

homelessness crisis, and, during a primetime debate in November, Florida’s Republican governor. Ron DeSantis taunted Newsom with a card of


the public places in San Francisco where human feces had been reported.

Newsom has repeatedly criticized local governments for not taking a more aggressive stance in addressing the problems

housing and mental health care

needs in their community as he does


progressives in his own party


a more moderate approach to the problem then


any other policy problem.

Last year,

he signed Senate Bill 43,

last year that something

expanded the criteria for the detention, treatment and protection of people with serious mental illness, against the wishes of human rights and disability activists on his party’s left flank. CARE Court, a system that could mandate treatment for drug addiction, has faced similar criticism

in 2022

of the American Civil Liberties Union,

which who

concerned that it might be possible to allow families, doctors and authorities to petition the court to demand treatment



Newsom also urged the Supreme Court to take up a case

until and

decide whether people have a constitutional right to camp on public land if they have no other place to sleep.

This month h

e called

earlier this month

for the Supreme Court to correct course and end the costly delays caused by lawsuits that have plagued our efforts to clear camps and provide services to those in need.

It’s an unusual move by the Democratic governor, who routinely criticizes the court’s conservative majority for its stance on abortion and guns.

Statement 1 is another example of the governor resisting pressure from the left.


Advocates took issue with a last-minute change that would allow Proposition 1 funding to be used


mental health institutions

that patients cannot leave voluntarily


Rachel Bhagwat, a legislative advocate for the ACLU California Action, said the organization shares the governor’s concerns about the need for additional services for people with serious problems.

and life-threatening

mental health and behavioral health needs. The ACLU, which has not


taken a position


on Proposition 1 is also concerned about the approach the state is taking.

Our California ACLUs believe that these involuntary and coercive methods, all involuntary and coercive methods, should be used only in the most limited circumstances, Bhagwat said.


an extension of extension

voluntary treatment services, community care and supportive housing, she said:

there is a state in charge

There is a risk that people end up in forced treatment simply because they were allowed to deteriorate without previously receiving support.

Formal opposition

Statement 1st measure largely



from a group of mental health advocates and some Republican lawmakers who have opposed the bills in the Legislature and have struggled to raise money for their campaign against the measure.

Taking a more centrist position with Proposition 1 could give Newsom broader appeal as he expands his profile beyond the Golden State. Although the governor is not a candidate for the 2024 presidential election


As he travels the country as a surrogate for the Biden-Harris campaign, he is repeatedly mentioned as a potential 2028 candidate.

“I think so many Americans are really hungry for some sign of a functional political system where the parties make compromises,” Kim said


a professor of political science at Sacramento State.


“And if he can be seen as providing a bipartisan solution to a major problem, then so be it

that is it

a huge victory for him.”

Newsom said his desire to solve the homelessness crisis transcends politics and is about his pride in California. According to his senior staff, he regularly sends photos of encampments

to them

from his travels around the state as a reminder that they can all do better.

Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Newsom’s opponent in his 2022 re-election bid, voted for SB 326, which reconfigured California’s 20-year-old Mental Health Services Act.

in the Senate

and declined to vote on AB 531, the bond component of the measure. He said homelessness and mental health

being is one



through California and into his


rural northern district, where


Residents live on the sidewalks of

the small town

Burney Falls

who has with

a population of 3,000.

It’s not really a partisan issue, Dahle said. We don’t have the power in our party to go ahead and just reduce regulations and reduce the cost of housing, but we do have the ability to come across the aisle and say, Hey, we’re going to work together, and I think we need more of that rather than less. I would like to see many more of them come our way.

Newsom is ramping up his campaign on Proposition 1, releasing a new 30-second ad on Tuesday with a bipartisan message that focuses solely on benefits for veterans. The measure divides

more than over

$1 billion in grants and loans for housing for veterans.

Grove said she is the first female veteran to serve in the California Legislature.

‘He wasted a lot of money’



from Newsom

in an interview. “But if this allows us to create 10,000 beds to house these chronically ill individuals, including U.S. military veterans who have protected and served this country, we must do what we can do and hold him accountable to ensure the money gets to where it is going. spent correctly.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles