SF mayor-elect London Breed urges lawmakers to expand homeless conservatorship laws

london breed

Soon-to-be SF mayor, London Breed

Not sure how I feel about this. Yet something has got to be done for the homeless, especially the ones with mental illness.

Then again I’m reminded of that Reagan quote: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

From SF Chronicle: San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed urged state lawmakers Thursday to approve a bill that she said would give the city more power to help chronically homeless people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse.

In her first trip to the Capitol as mayor-elect, Breed joined state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Supervisor-elect Rafael Mandelman to support a bill, SB1045, that would expand conservatorship laws in San Francisco and Los Angeles County.

“We are talking about people who clearly need help and clearly can’t make good decisions for themselves,” Breed said.

Breed said those include people she has personally attempted to help, such as a homeless man well-known to law enforcement who is schizophrenic and abuses alcohol.

“There is a strong need to do something different that is going to allow us to help an individual like this,” Breed said. “Otherwise, he is going to die on our streets.”

Breed sponsored a resolution before the Board of Supervisors in April to support the measure, but it fell short of passage, with several members of the board’s progressive wing saying they wanted more time to review it.

Wiener said the presence of Breed, a member of the city’s more moderate wing, and Mandelman, considered an ally of progressives, showed there’s broad support in San Francisco for his bill. He noted that it is also backed by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.

“We are all in unity,” Wiener said. “The city is in crisis when it comes to homelessness on our streets. People want us to solve the problem, and this is a tool that will help us get severely debilitated people off our streets and into housing and services.

The bill would allow the Boards of Supervisors in San Francisco and Los Angeles County to create five-year pilot programs that give them more control over their conservatorship rules, including expanding who can be involuntarily helped.

State law now allows county mental health professionals to hospitalize people for 72 hours against their will if they pose a danger to themselves or someone else or are gravely disabled due to mental illness — what is commonly known as a 5150 hold. A county can ask a judge for a 14-day extension to continue intensive treatment and repeat that process every 30 days.

The criteria on who can be stripped of their decision making is strict and often results in chronically homeless, mentally ill and severely drug-addicted people being returned to the streets. Wiener said his bill will apply to only about 1 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population, but that those are the people who cycle from the streets, to jails, to emergency rooms and back to the streets.

City officials said there are 40 to 50 people in San Francisco who fit this description and show no signs of being able to lift themselves out of it. “It’s beyond inhumane to sit back and let these people die when we have the ability to help them,” Wiener said. “Our current conservatorship laws are inadequate.”

The Assembly Judiciary Committee passed the bill Thursday, 9-0. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is expected to take up the bill after lawmakers return from summer recess in August. The bill already passed the Senate in a 35-0 vote last month.

“No public policy failure is more obvious, painful and embarrassing to our city than our inability to provide care to so many obviously sick people on our streets and in our public spaces,” Mandelman said.

Opponents of the measure, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty and American Civil Liberties Union, said they worried that the bill would lead to further criminalization of homelessness and that expanding involuntary holds would affront an individual’s civil rights.

Jen Flory of the Western Center on Law and Poverty said the bill is misguided because it fails to address society’s failures that resulted in a person ending up on the streets in the first place.

“Taking away an individual’s freedom, even if for their own safety, is a serious matter in democracy,” Flory said. “We cannot go there if we are not honestly doing everything we can to avoid such situations.”


25 responses to “SF mayor-elect London Breed urges lawmakers to expand homeless conservatorship laws

  1. Another bill that helps deem anyone mentally ill so the government can steal rights and property. Go to medicalkidnap.com and see how many adults are getting kidnapped by the govt and having their estates pillaged. This will be expanded to all deemed mentally ill, not just homeless. Remember, they’ve now made it easier to deem gun owners a danger to allow the govt to come steal their guns without due process. I had to giggle about the Reagan quote for he is the reason California has a large homeless mentally ill populace.


  2. My only comment is, California HAD a working mental health establishment until Ronnie Ray-Gun destroyed it. We didn’t have mentally ill people camped on the streets. So, it’s been done already. All they need to do is put it back.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Lop, Reagan signed a bill passed by the Democratic Legislature after a law suit by the ACLU forced the issue of holding mental patience against their will.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sure he did. I don’t care who claims responsibility. The question (to me) was what to do about the homeless, especially the ones with mental problems.

      I lived through that time and I remember what it was like before they closed down the mental support system and before. It was NOT an improvement. So, I’m saying that it worked once, it can work again. It wasn’t perfect but its orders of magnitude better than what we have at present.

      Those of us who are Christian have a choice. We either recognize some responsibility for our fellow man and act accordingly, or we revert to pre-Christian jungle morality. I’m not saying that any of this is “our fault”, I’m saying there is an obvious problem.

      I read Dr. E’s comments to mean that she didn’t want government help but maybe its needed. I agree. It may not be “ideal” but something must be done. This IS one of the government’s functions, to do for the society what we can’t do as individuals.

      There’s a lot more to this than my comments. At one time California had the best roads in the nation, low unemployment, free tuition to California natives, health care, both mental and physical for the indigent and no state taxes other than a low sales tax. What happened?

      I could tell you in detail but some would get mad. The truth is that it worked and the quality of life for all concerned was immensely better. They already know how to do this. They should never have destroyed what they had in the first place. It wasn’t that nobody predicted this. We did.

      Liked by 3 people

      • “I read Dr. E’s comments to mean that she didn’t want government help”


        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t like the idea of the government deciding “mental fitness”, but SOMETHING has to be done, and locking crazies in institutions seemed to work before.

        My (young adult) kid works in an area simply overrun with (crazy/addicted) homeless and street-walking prostitutes. He says, “They’re a menace…lock ‘em up!” No soft touch, that one. 😏

        Liked by 2 people

        • When California’s mental health services were up and running if they found someone who appeared to be in need of help they would put them under observation for a period of time. Depending on how that went they might be released with meds or confined.

          I don’t “like” it either but I don’t have another solution to offer. I completely remember what it was like before. You might see the occasional wino wandering in the park. The cops would stop them and, if they didn’t have any money or a reason to be there they might arrest them for vagrancy.

          Bottom line is, they didn’t just squat down and camp on the streets. If we don’t preserve some order as a society we won’t have one. We shouldn’t be sending a signal that its OK to do drugs on the street and use the sidewalk as a bathroom.

          I realize that there are other factors at work here as well. There is a lack of jobs. All of that contributes to the problem. However, I think the trick is to offer alternatives. “Do you want to go to work or go to jail?”. “Do you want to take your meds or go to the looney bin?”.

          What isn’t working is just staring at the problem. This isn’t going to fix itself.

          Liked by 3 people

        • The gumment can fund it. but they should never be allowed to run it. Give it to charity/ies with a record of success with the broken and homeless. Let them find the customers. The gummunt could only refer. And funding should expire with no method of renewal other than going through the whole process again. A sunset clause.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. How do we stop a disease when the disease-causing fungi, bacteria, and viruses are continually being brought in?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Only a narcissist who really isn’t phenomenal (whatever that word means) would wear a t-shirt identifying herself as a “phenomenal woman”.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This “money saving move” began in New York under its infamous Governor, Nelson Rockefeller. Old Rocky began closing the mental hospitals and putting mentally ill people in halfway houses and apartments.
    Make No Mistake: This IS NOT compassion, of any sort: It is utter cruelty, to society at large and to the mentally ill, also.

    At this point, I am glad that London Breed wants to do something, but, like all hemophiliac liberals, will wind up doing more harm than good, if I know anything about how bureaucrats work. (In the meantime, I wish London would STOP sending its “breed” over here: Hey England, we had a Revolution! YOU LOST!)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I wonder if we can get them to take in Aunty Maxine. Now that’s a head case.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To be played by Cuba Gooding Jr………..

    “Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.” Geo. Orwell

    Liked by 1 person

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