Governor Gavin Newsom, along with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and other local officials, has officially launched a campaign endorsing a $6.38 billion measure on the March ballot. Advocates assert that this measure will allocate funds for thousands of mental health treatment beds and supportive housing statewide. Addressing the audience at Los Angeles General Medical Center in Lincoln Heights, where the county is working on transforming it into a housing and treatment facility, Newsom emphasized that Proposition 1 aims to realize a vision conceived half a century ago for a comprehensive mental health treatment system that never materialized.
Newsom expressed optimism about making history and fulfilling the vision set forth decades ago. He stated, “We can’t make up the last 50-60 years, but we can finally fulfill that vision that was set forth a half-century ago. This initiative, Proposition 1, promotes a number of things. It does not, however, promote the following — and that’s the status quo. If you’re for the status quo, vote no on Proposition 1.”
According to Newsom’s office, if Proposition 1 secures approval from the majority of the state’s voters, it would create 11,150 behavioral health treatment beds and 26,700 outpatient treatment slots across California. Approximately $1 billion of the bond measure would be specifically allocated for veterans. Mayor Bass emphasized that the measure would address years of failure in tackling the state’s mental health crisis, echoing sentiments shared by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna during the event.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, present at the campaign kickoff, referred to Proposition 1 as a “beacon of hope” for thousands of Angelenos and a resource that could transform the iconic L.A. General Medical Center into a nationwide model.
The measure is scheduled for a vote on March 5. However, opponents, grouped as Californians Against Proposition 1, criticize it as “huge, expensive, and destructive.” They argue that it would cost taxpayers more than $9 billion over the bond’s lifespan, redirecting $30 billion from existing mental health services funds in the first decade and potentially harming currently effective programs.