Letters to the Editor: My son is in jail again. Please, pass Prop. 1 for mental healthcare

Gov. Gavin Newsom in front of a Yes on 1 sign
Gov. Gavin Newsom kicks off his campaign for Proposition 1 at Los Angeles General Medical Center on Jan. 3.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: You ask how much Proposition 1 will cost for mental health. What about the costs of doing nothing?

What about the costs for a person with mental illness who has been engaged with the police and fire departments or has undergone mandatory hospitalizations? What about individuals wasting away in our jails waiting to be adjudicated? There is the prosecutor’s time, the court’s time and the public defender’s time.

Finally, an individual deemed unfit for trial must be assessed and possibly sent to a state hospital. Where is that cost analysis?


I can assure you that these costs are high. My son has been hospitalized more than 10 times and treated in state facilities so he can become competent to stand trial.

My son has had numerous interactions with police and fire departments. He is currently sitting in our local jail.

Our lawmakers have finally put a measure on the ballot to address this crisis. I am tired of waiting for Godot.

Jamie Harvey, Ventura


To the editor: We are told that Proposition 1 could cost the state up to $14 billion. But I see no estimate of the savings for the state if the funds are put to good use.

We could get the following:

Fewer expensive emergency room and other urgent healthcare visits. Fewer costly and damaging fires ignited in homeless encampments. More people who become employable, tax-paying citizens. A decrease in crime and its attendant monetary and personal costs.


So let’s remember there are two sides to the Proposition 1 ledger.

Alan B. Posner, Santa Barbara