Prop. 1 Succeeded Thanks to Gov's 'Endless Manipulations'

- Narrow Win Raises Doubts About Prop. 1's Legitimacy

- Delays in Homeless Audit Saved Newsom's Pet Project

SACRAMENTO, April 12 – Final election results will be certified today by the Secretary of State, showing that Proposition 1 succeeded by a margin of just over 26,000 votes.

According to Ballotpedia, it's the 8th-closest proposition vote in California since 1908. The principal opponents of Proposition 1 issued the following statement today:


Proposition 1 won in a squeaker of a victory that raises doubts about its overall legitimacy. Throughout its implementation in coming years, there will be questions about the actual desire of Californians for the kind of difficult change it represents.

As counties are asked to shut down community-based mental health programs, they will be right to ask: Are we really sure this is what voters intended?

Our group will monitor implementation at the state and local level, and we will fight where we can. We are actively examining litigation options to stop some of the worst parts of the measure.

It's worth recounting how Prop. 1 succeeded. It was thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom's endless manipulations from the very start of the process to the end, even post-election:

Clearing the Ballot – The governor made clear that he did not want any other propositions to appear on the March ballot, pushing other potential legislative measures to November.

Controlling Legislative Drafting – The governor's administration, principally staff of Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of Health and Human Services, drove the process of drafting and amending both bills (AB 531 and SB 326) that became Proposition 1. They treated legislators as handmaidens.

Intimidating Legislators – The administration made it plain to legislators that they needed to vote for the bills to create Prop. 1, and there was no room for dissent. During live legislative hearings, they told members who had expressed misgivings to quit speaking up and vote yes.

Lying to Mental Health Advocates – Knowing that "locked" mental health facilities are controversial, the governor's administration repeatedly assured mental health care advocates that the bonds they were pushing for in AB 531 would be for only "unlocked" community-based care. Then, past the 11th hour, they orchestrated changes that allow funding of "locked" facilities, when it was too late for any objection, pushing that into Prop. 1's final language.

Raising Special Interest Millions – The governor made plain to a wide range of special interests that they needed to pony up for his pet project, Prop. 1. He raised over $13 million, including many $1 million chunks, from a strange collection of groups with business before the state or favors owed to the governor, including prison guards, tribes, unions and healthcare interests.

Starring in His Own Show – The governor made sure the campaign was about him. Video of Gov. Newsom himself was featured throughout the campaign to promote Prop. 1. He traveled the state to push for it. It was a vehicle to promote Gavin Newsom's brand.

Delaying Damaging Homeless Audit – Just this week, a hugely damning state auditor report revealed that the state has failed to track or evaluate tens of billions of dollars in spending to address homelessness. The audit was reportedly due in October last year and reset for February this year, but was delayed until after the election, conveniently for the governor. There is no doubt that this audit would have damaged Prop. 1 and probably killed it, given the extremely close vote totals. The full story of the audit's delay awaits.

Post-Election Vote Shenanigans – After the election, as results were shown to be extremely close, the governor's team launched a "rescue operation" seeking to get Democratic voters' ballots counted, if they had been rejected due to signature mismatches. The key: They only wanted Democratic voters' ballots counted, not all – a bad look for a governor.