As the initial Chair of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness, I have a concern about this critical topic. Remember, I was sworn into the California State Senate last March at the Orange County Rescue Mission.
As the Chair of the Orange County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee for most of my eight years as a County Supervisor, I had a keen interest in Prop. 63 (2004), the Mental Health Services Act, and how it interfaced with our public safety efforts.
And, having successfully worked with former Sen. Darrell Steinberg to see the passage of SB 585 in 2013, giving counties the ability to fund for assisted outpatient treatment, I helped make Orange County the second to adopt Laura’s Law in 2014.
When Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon invited me to attend his press conference to repurpose some of the Prop. 63 tax revenues as security for a bond to immediately build housing for the mentally ill, I said I would. I also said I would like to drill into the details and, hopefully, find a bipartisan solution that makes good fiscal sense. Now that we have been provided with all of the details, my staff and I are doing a review to see if all of the components are supportable. As a conservative, I want any solution to actually solve the problem, and I want any monies spent to be efficient and effective, without adding to California’s already high tax burden nor contributing to the state’s spending excesses.
The connection between chronic homelessness and mental illness is agreed to by most. And, California municipalities are spending a considerable amount of funds for incarcerating the homeless or paying for their medical care in our already busy emergency rooms. In fact, the largest housing provider of the mentally ill in Orange County is the Orange County Jail. Consequently, looking at alternatives is something that I am prepared to do. As a conservative, I want any solution to actually solve the problem, and I want any monies spent to be efficient and effective, without adding to Californian’s already high tax burden nor contributing to the state’s spending excesses.