Prop. 1, passing narrowly, sparks blowback from Calif. cities

The mental health measure’s ability to force locked and unlocked mental health facilities on communities is causing panic among California municipalities.

Proposition 1, the mental health ballot measure championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, appears to be on the road to approval as ballots continue to be processed. 

But the fallout of the measure has already begun, with one Southern California city deciding to leave the powerful California League of Cities organization over the issue. 


The big picture: As of Thursday morning, Proposition 1 was passing by over 24,000 votes, quite a slim margin considering nearly 6.7 million votes have been counted so far. 

  • Proposition 1 will approve a $6.4 billion bond for 10,000 mental health treatment and housing beds. It will also shift tax revenue from counties to the state for drug and alcohol treatment services. 

Conceding defeat: Californians Against Prop 1, the opposition group to Newsom’s measure, conceded defeat earlier this week despite the close race, saying the measure was “almost certain” to pass. 

  • “We almost took down the bear, but it looks like we will fall short,” the group said in a statement. 

City fallout: The California League of Cities, a powerful lobbying organization that represents nearly 500 cities, endorsed Proposition 1 with an overwhelming majority of its Board of DIrectors. 

  • On Tuesday, the Newport Beach City Council voted to leave the League of Cities, which Mayor Will O’Neill characterized as a decision which was, in part, in response to the group’s support of Proposition 1. 
  • O’Neill said on X that the tipping point was the League of Cities’ decision to support Proposition 1 “despite knowing how much harm would come to cities due to the ballot measure’s ‘by-right approvals of unlocked and locked behavioral health facilities, sober living homes, and recovery housing.’” 
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