Jason Gibbs | Proposition 1 and an Unusual Group of Foes

Jason Gibbs
Jason Gibbs

The primaries are upon us! In early February, the March 5 primary election ballots hit California voters like a tidal wave! 

With every active registered voter now receiving a vote-by-mail ballot with no stamp being required to return them, and just about anyone can seemingly turn a vote in for someone else, the amount of votes to be cast is expected to be massive. 

Not only are the number of voters expected to be high, so too are the number of voters who will say things like, “Wait, why am I voting for a U.S. senator twice?” or, “How do I find out any information on these candidates for judge?” and perhaps the most frequent question I have received this cycle, “What is a Republican Central Committee”?

Please email [email protected] and the central committee members and volunteers would be happy to answer any questions you have on your current ballot, the upcoming general election, or just political questions in general. 

The more you engage and learn about the issues, candidates, and the process, the greater your impact will be.

This column will focus, however, on the single ballot measure on your primary ballot, which, aside from a single ad with Gov. Gavin Newsom talking about how California has failed our veterans (wait, which political party has held the majority in both houses since 1997 along with the governor’s office for all but nine of those years?) and how “Prop. 1 is for them,” according to his latest political ad. 

But is that a fair statement? 

Well let’s leave behind the political one-liners of promises and fairytale and see what is actually in the proposition.

California Proposition 1, Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure, is a $6.4 billion bond measure (or roughly 9% of the Legislative Analyst Office’s predicted state budget DEFICIT for 2024) that tries to expand the state’s mental health system to target homeless individuals and those struggling with mental illness. 

Of that $6.4 billion in bond revenue that will be issued, up to $4.4 billion will be for mental health care and drug or alcohol treatment facilities and $2 billion for homeless housing. 

Of the current 1% tax on income above $1 million of dedicated funding for mental health, 30% of the funding must now be diverted away to housing intervention programs. 

Finally, the bill also increases the oversight commission from 16 to 27 members.

Spend just a moment in Los Angeles County, and you will see homelessness and people with noticeable and detrimental mental health deficiencies are substantial. 

Back in 2004, California passed, the first in its history, a dedicated funding source for mental health services. The Mental Health Services Act of 2004, 20 years later, gets controlled at the county level, where these funds are used to design programs and involve people living with serious mental illness and their families. 

But now, mental health advocates are joining with groups like ACLU California Action and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and opposing Proposition 1, because it breaks the focus of support on mental illness to now handle even more service focuses without any additional funding. 

It is not every day that Republicans, Howard Jarvis and the ACLU agree on something, but in this modern-day California, nothing surprises me anymore!

Santa Clarita has heard City Council members, including myself, voice our dismay and disappointment in the worsening homeless problem here and in surrounding areas, even as hundreds of millions of dollars a year are sent to L.A. County to address this regional problem, only to see it worsen every year. 

Now, Proposition 1 wants to pull money from established funds for mental health to address homelessness, while a ballot measure is being circulated to more than triple the tax dollars from Measure H to “solve homelessness and affordable housing issues” in Los Angeles is on its way.

The only thing Sacramento and the heavy-Democrat voter base of California has proven good at is increasing taxes, long-term financial obligations, and pushing their policy failures on broader social or constitutional issues beyond their control. 

We have got to get away from more taxes, more bonds, more pulling of established funds that will only create financial and system instabilities that the next generation of leaders will have to shoulder because of those who like showing themselves doing something, instead of doing what is needed. 

The Republican Party, ACLU California Action, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association all oppose Proposition 1. Each has their own path to reach that opposition, but if such a wide breath of organizations opposes Proposition 1, perhaps we should all take notice!

Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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