SACRAMENTO, Feb. 12 -Davis Administration representatives yesterday told Prop. 36 supporters that they plan to proceed with "realignment" of funds and programs begun by the initiative, effectively ending voter-guaranteed funding levels and state oversight of the program.
Bill Zimmerman, executive director of the Campaign for New Drug Policies, said, "Whether or not the governor made a mistake in proposing realignment of Prop. 36 is no longer the issue. It is clear that his administration is moving ahead with this plan despite the many obstacles we have made evident."
Zimmerman continued, "We will now organize a coalition to fight this threat to Prop. 36, and will pursue every avenue available to us to prevent this plan from going forward. The integrity of the voter-approved initiative is at stake."
Prop. 36, which requires drug treatment instead of jail time for first- and second-time nonviolent drug users, was enacted with 61% of the vote in November 2000. To pay for treatment, the measure guarantees $120 million per year from the state general revenue fund, for five and one-half years.
Under the existing budget proposal, state funding would evaporate, to be replaced by unknown amounts of money at the county level from new sales taxes, tobacco taxes, and other revenues. Also, oversight and auditing of local programs by the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) would end, along with required long-term studies of the successes and impacts of Prop. 36.
Whitney Taylor, director of Prop. 36 implementation for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, "Without state oversight, we will soon see Prop. 36 become a third-tier, underfunded local program. A dropoff in treatment quality and diversity is guaranteed. We were disappointed that the governor's staff did not appear to grasp the severe threat their plan poses to a successful, popular, voter-approved law."
Last week, Prop. 36 supporters notified Gov. Davis in an attorney's letter that realignment would violate the ballot measure and "frustrate its implementation."
For more on Prop. 36 see www.prop36.org