The right prop

That shuffling sound you hear in Sacramento is the loafers of political consultants running around the city looking for backers of controversial initiatives that are trying to gain traction. The proposed propositions are sitting at the starting gate, anticipating that the governor will call a special election to get his so-called reforms passed in the fall. It looks like he may see a flood of other propositions thrown onto the ballot to confuse the matter.

These initiatives waiting in the wings reportedly will take on a number of hot-button issues, from parental permission for abortions to increasing the minimum wage.

Most of the attention so far has focused on Schwarzenegger and his ridiculing of the all-powerful teachers and public-employee unions as he fights to reduce education spending and cut retirement benefits. But dozens of other initiatives will be filed with the hopes that enough citizens will sign before April to get them on the ballot, but only if a special election is called because the governor can’t convince enough Democrats to support him in his budget fight.

One proposed initiative would try to rescind a proposition that passed just last year. We think this one is flawed and premature and shouldn’t get on the ballot. It would repeal Proposition 63, which is just now getting going on providing mental-health care to needy Californians suffering from mental illnesses.

If you want to see the need for Proposition 63 improvements, simply walk the streets of downtown and Midtown Sacramento and see the homeless that struggle with reality (see “From homeless to hopeful”). Brand-new programs in each county could address some of these troubling and visible problems created by a system that sets the mentally ill adrift. We think voters should give 63 a chance to work before we start dismantling the prop.