While the liquor industry continues to spend millions on an ad campaign to defeat Prop. 134, I grow more and more apprehensive. I refer to your article concerning the current preparations by Los Angeles County officials to close four more clinics serving more than 4,000 mentally ill patients. I am continually frustrated and angry at the blatant disregard for our county's seriously mentally ill.
My oldest daughter has been mentally ill since she was 16. I cannot adequately describe in this space what serious mental illness does to the victim of this brain disease. Any disease that attacks one in the prime of youth is sad; one that arrests capacity for productivity and basic functioning and relegates one to a stigmatized life of misunderstanding and confusion is tragic. One of the very few programs available to my daughter is one offered at a community mental health center. Now, once again, after closing 10 in the last two years, more are threatened to close.
Community programs can make a difference. They help people gain confidence and learn independent living skills. With well-developed programs, some people recover substantially, hold a job and achieve a satisfactory life.
The governor has cut $61 million from the mental-health budget this fiscal year. The system is in dire need of funding to hold off a complete collapse. And don't forget the other trick, Prop. 136, the so-called taxpayers "right to vote." If it passes, it nullifies Prop. 134 because it calls for an almost impossible two-thirds vote to increase any state or local taxes. We need a no in 136 and a yes on 134.