A Week Out from Election, Prop 1 Opponents Are Hopeful

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Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – Citing the state’s $73 billion deficit, opponents believe this will be a problem for the measure with a $9.3 billion price tag.

Proposition 1, the two-step initiative aiming to improve mental health service access, will be before the voters March 5.

The act would improve California’s behavioral health service at the state-wide level, according to the CBPC by providing $6.38 billion in general obligation bond funding for treatment and residential facilities, amendments to the existing Mental Health Services Act, as well as housing support for veterans and those who are at risk of homelessness due to mental health concerns.

However, some oppose the measure because they say it “represents a significant regression in the treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders,” especially for communities of color and LGBTQ+.

The opposition campaign notes that the measure’s chief sponsor, Gov. Gavin Newsom, has been traveling to appear on national TV shows, and is now pushing TV ads related to abortion in several southern states rather than focusing on pushing for Prop. 1.

Paul Simmons, a director of Californians Against Proposition 1, said, “It looks like the governor has lost focus and is taking the voters for granted on Prop. 1. That’s good for us. In a David-versus-Goliath fight like this, you love to find out that Goliath has left the field to travel and pursue his hobbies.”

The latest publicly released poll on Prop. 1 contained a clear danger sign: Only 51% of voters thought now was a “good time” for a pricey bond like Prop. 1 contains. (Public Policy Institute of California, Feb. 23.)

The survey was conducted before last week’s announcement by the Legislative Analyst that the state’s budget deficit is now $73 billion, which can only raise voters’ concerns about the cost of Prop. 1.

It’s an interesting split, with the PPIC poll showing Republican voters opposing the governor’s Prop. 1 by a 2-to-1 margin, and a substantial drop in support among Democratic and liberal voters, compared to a December survey.

Simmons said, “The arrogance and hubris of the governor began with the way he and his administration jammed this legislation through the capitol, and it continues now. He’s collecting donations by the millions,  splurging on a garish Super Bowl ad buy and ads featuring him personally. He tried to ‘hide the ball’ on the size of the budget deficit, only for the legislative analyst to confirm it’s $73 billion. Informed voters know that means now is a terrible time for Prop. 1.”

Simmons concluded, “Our job for the final week is just to continue getting the facts out about the cost and damage threatened by Prop. 1. If Prop. 1 does go down, as we hope it will, the reasons why will all come down to poor strategy and decision-making by the governor.”

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