Darrell Steinberg Wants California Taxpayers to Pay for Same Mental illness Program Twice

On December 19, 2013, California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg asked for more money for Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grants. This is a good program that deserves funding. But If Prop 63/MHSA funds were spent as legislatively required, no new funds would be needed. MHSA already specifically earmarked funds for this. MHSA Sec. 5813.5 (f) says:

Each county (MHSA) plan and annual update pursuant to Section 5847 shall consider ways to provide services similar to those established pursuant to the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Program.

The problem, as we revealed in MHSA: A 10 year bait and switch, is that MHSA promised funds for serious mental illness. But once the bills passed, the funds went elsewhere.

Yesterday’s press conference announcing he is seeking funds to pay for something MHSA was supposed to, is another example of how Steinberg and the MHSA Oversight Commission ignore the parts of the legislation that require funds to reach the most seriously mentally ill. They fund mental ‘health’, but starve “mental illness”.

Our op-ed in todays San Diego Union Trib calls on Brown to replace MHSAOC commissioners as only way to end mission-creep in the program. 13 of 16 Commissioners come from within mental health industry and therefore foster, rather than reign-in mission creep. As long as fox rules hen house, our attempts at change will continue to fail.

Darrell Steinberg can not charge taxpayers twice for the same program. MHSA funds must go to seriously mentally ill. The State auditor found there is no MHSA oversight that assures they do. If Steinberg isn’t clueless, he must be complicit.