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About Mental Health

The outcome of Prop. 1., Governor Gavin Newsom’s $6.4 billion mental health bond measure, is nail-bitingly close with 50.1% of voters in favor and 49.9% opposed, according to the latest results provided by the secretary of state’s office Friday afternoon.

At that time, there were approximately 13,000 votes, in a state with 22 million registered voters, standing in between the proposition passing and failing.

See the latest election results.

The proposition is one of the only remaining too-close-to-call races relevant to Los Angeles County voters.

Three Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors incumbents Holly Mitchell, Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger all held onto clear majorities, setting them up to win their respective seats in the primary.

Fourth District Supervisor Hahn declared victory Friday, saying there are enough ballots counted for her to claim an outright win over former sheriff Alex Villanueva and one other candidate.

Hahn held a 27 percentage point lead, with 57% of the vote as compared to 29% of the vote for the one-time sheriff of L.A. County. John Cruikshank, mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes, was in third place, with 14.2% of the vote.

Hahn is winning in 29 out of 32 cities in the Fourth District, according to her campaign consultant David Jacobson. In her statement, Hahn said she defeated “a two-time loser,” referring to Villanueva’s loss of the sheriff’s seat to Robert Luna in November 2022 after serving one term.

Villanueva, reached at his home on Friday night, said he was not conceding and was waiting for all the numbers to be crunched by the Los Angeles County registrar’s office. But making up a nearly 30 percentage point deficit is improbable.

“I am not agreeing with her,” he said. “No, I’m not conceding. She seems very eager to move on.”

In the L.A. County District Attorney race progressive incumbent George Gascon is poised to face off against tough-on-crime former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman.

Several news sources, including the New York Times and Associated Press, have called the U.S. Senate race as a victory for Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, and Republican former Dodger Steve Garvey.

But, when it comes to Prop. 1, a result could take days or even weeks to confirm. The secretary of state’s office will continue to provide periodic updates with the final certification of the election scheduled for April 12.

Newsom pitched the proposition as a means to “fix our broken mental health system and provide those living on our streets and suffering from substance abuse the care they need.”

It has a two-pronged approach. Firstly, it would direct $4.4 billion to fund 10,000 mental health beds and $2 billion for homeless housing projects, half of which would be reserved for veterans with mental illness or substance use issues.

Secondly, it would require counties to spend 30% of revenue from the Mental Health Services Act on housing. This voter approved act generates between $2 billion and $3.5 billion a year for mental health services through a 1% tax on incomes greater than $1 million.

Newsom rallied a great deal of support for his proposition and some $21 million in fundraising to promote it. The bond measure has the backing of the National Alliance on Mental Illness California, California Teachers Association and California Chamber of Commerce.

Nevertheless, voters’ enthusiasm for the bond has fallen short of what he hoped for.

While some mental health advocates oppose the proposition because it could fund involuntarily treatment for people with mental illness, many voters are primarily concerned about the cost, said Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of Political Science at CSU Los Angeles.

If passed, the state would have to repay the bonds at $310 million each year for 30 years — a potentially unpalatable figure when the state is already grappling with a nearly $38 billion budget deficit.

Another factor that worked against Newsom is the demographics of primary voters, Regalado added.

“Traditionally, it’s older more conservative voters — meaning Republicans and those independents who lean to Republican candidates — that turn out come hell or high water,” he said. “Democratic voters are more fickle, they tend to be younger, they tend to be episodic voters.”

The conservative voters were more likely to be averse to increasing government spending.

Matt Lesenyie, assistant professor of political science at CSU Long Beach, concurred, noting that the proposition would have faced better odds in the general election when a broader swath of the electorate turns out.

“Newsom had the option of putting his proposition in November where I think it would have passed more easily, but he chose this thinking he could dominate the airwaves on it,” he said. “That decision almost cost him greatly.”

The remaining ballots will determine whether or not the governor erred in his judgement.