Newsom: “We could hold hands, have a candlelight vigil, talk about the way the world should be, or we could take some damn responsibility to implement our ideas and that’s what we’re doing differently here.”
I have frequently reported on the homeless crisis in California, much of which is driven by mentally ill and/or drug-addicted individuals who cannot or will not adhere to crisis shelter rules.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is now proposing a new system that could place some people with severe mental illness or substance use disorders under court-ordered care, calling it Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court. It’s a move that suggests that polls are so bad for Democrats that they must address issues of fundamental importance to their constituents.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference that he has no intention of rounding people up and locking them away. Instead, he said his plan would offer a way for people to get court-ordered psychiatric treatment, medication and housing, preferably before they are arrested.
Under the plan, which requires approval by the Legislature, all counties would have to set up a mental health branch in civil court and provide comprehensive and community-based treatment to those suffering from debilitating psychosis. People need not be homeless to be evaluated by a court.
But if approved, they would be obligated to accept the care or risk criminal charges, if those are pending, and if not, they would be subject to being held in psychiatric programs involuntarily or lengthier conservatorships in which the court appoints a person to make health decisions for someone who cannot.
“There’s no compassion stepping over people in the streets and sidewalks,” Newsom told reporters at a briefing at a mental health treatment facility in San Jose. “We could hold hands, have a candlelight vigil, talk about the way the world should be, or we could take some damn responsibility to implement our ideas and that’s what we’re doing differently here.”
Newsom sounds like he may have taken a red pill, even though it may be a low dose version. I strongly suspect the slayings in the elite enclaves in the Los Angeles area have inspired this shift. When liberal Democrats start funding the ouster of a super-progressive district attorney, a clear message about priorities has been sent.
Newsom’s proposal is awaiting approval by the California Legislature. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria chimed in his support.
It’s time we face the painful, but obvious truth: our behavioral health system in California is broken. All of us see it every day on our streets — and it’s long past time we fix it,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria in response to Newsom’s plan.
“Governor Newsom’s CARE Court…will provide individuals who are struggling with behavioral health issues a pathway to the housing and health services they need and give those who encounter these individuals a real way to get them the help they need.”
How much would the program cost? That part still has not been determined.
That’s also unknown. But the new program would probably require a blend of existing and new funding, and what Newsom described as “unprecedented investments” in setting up the necessary clinical infrastructure and workforce.
Billions are already on the table from recent investments for mental and behavioral health services, along with supportive housing. But new dollars would be needed to support the courts’ implementation of the programs and to finance the public defenders and so-called supporters who would accompany a court-ordered treatment plan.
The administration said it still needs to work with the Legislature and Judicial Council to crunch the numbers and determine how much this new plan would cost.
However, “homeless advocates” have complaints.
…[A] advocates like attorney and organizer Ricci Sergienko said that this program will only further criminalize the unhoused.
“There’s also a level of criminalization with the Governor’s plan,” he said. Just like his other solutions, it seems like he wants to reinvest in the carceral state an in punitive solutions.”
Supporters like Bales said that measures like these are desperately needed.
We’ll see if it even passes through the Legislature. Meanwhile, somewhere in San Diego:
Sure. Meanwhile this afternoon in Northridge, CA on Balboa. Tent developments going up daily. Homeless urinate on the sidewalks. pic.twitter.com/TTt7tHkbC6
— Alexandria Savvas☦️🤍☦️ (@Kefalonitissa) March 5, 2022
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