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Proposition 63 Pays Off At Last

Friday March 6th, 2015   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 6:22am PST   •  

UCDavis_200As we recently noted, California’s Little Hoover Commission, a state watchdog, reported that the state cannot even document whether or not the $13.2 billion raised by Proposition 63 improved Californians’ lives. That is of interest because the 2004 measure, sponsored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg, was supposed to keep people off the street, out of jail, and out of the hospital. Steinberg was never up front about how much of the $13.2 billion went to salaries for government workers and well-connected mental health providers. But now Proposition 63 has come through big-time for its sponsor.

As David Siders reports in the Sacramento Bee, Steinberg will become director of policy and advocacy for the new $7.5 million UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, “an institution funded by a measure he championed while in the Legislature.” That would be Proposition 63, which Steinberg authored. The position is unpaid, “which allows Steinberg to lobby the Legislature on behalf of the center without violating California’s revolving-door law.” Not to worry, because, as Mr. Siders explains, “Steinberg will be a visiting professor at Davis’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.” How convenient, given that Steinberg is neither a psychiatrist or a behavioral scientist.

He’s the politician who wrote Proposition 63. It raised $13.2 billion, but soon after Steinberg leaves office, a state watchdog says can’t determine how it helped anybody. Taxpayers know it funded the $7.5 million UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, and now Steinberg has a job there, and he will be a visiting UC Davis professor as well. As this caper confirms, for ruling-class high-rollers California will always be the Golden State.

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March 2015