Orange County will become the first large county to implement Laura’s Law, a California statute that allows for the forced treatment of people with severe mental illnesses. California lawmakers passed Laura’s Law in 2002. It’s named for mental health worker Laura Wilcox, who was killed by a patient who had refused psychiatric treatment. The law gives courts the power to order anti-psychotic drugs or outpatient treatment for mentally ill people who are judged unable to take care of themselves. Individual counties must implement the law locally, but only Nevada County near Lake Tahoe had done so until Orange County Supervisors acted unanimously this week. Supervisor John Moorlach says mentally ill homeless man Kelly Thomas might not have had a violent run-in with Fullerton police that led to his death in 2011, if he’d been taking medication. Thomas’ father agrees.
Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a $156 billion spending plan for the state’s financial year that starts in July. That’s up $11 billion over last year – and Brown is reluctant to spend more. Brown is projecting a roughly $4.5 billion surplus. But he points out that California has had just three surpluses in the past 15 years. He says history shows the state will probably find itself facing a deficit again unless it keeps a lid on spending. Brown does propose setting aside more money for schools, Medi-Cal and paying off the state’s debt. And he wants to spend an extra $142-million dollars to help the state deal with the drought.
A bid to change Proposition 13 is getting a boost from an unlikely source. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association – which has been the staunchest defender of the landmark property tax law – says it won’t oppose a bid in the Legislature to alter Prop. 13. But we’re talking about a minor alteration…The change would crack down on companies that avoid higher taxes when they purchase property by taking advantage of a loophole in Prop. 13. The anti-tax group says the change won’t threaten the 36-year-old law. The bill needs two-thirds support in both houses of the state Legislature to pass.
The Clippers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory – losing in agonizing fashion to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night in the teams’ second-round playoff matchup. Clipper guard Chris Paul fouled the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook on a three-point shot with six seconds to play and the Clippers leading by two. Westbrook sank all three of his free throws to seal the win. The Clippers had been up 13 points with a little more than four minutes to go. Oklahoma now leads the series three games to two. Game 6 is tomorrow at Staples Center.
The drama and recrimination continues off the court for the Clips and their embattled owner, Donald Sterling. Yesterday, former basketball great and businessman Magic Johnson responded to critical comments made by Sterling about him. Johnson told CNN he was shocked to be dragged into the Sterling mess and that contrary to Sterling’s claims – the 80-year-old billionaire never apologized to him for racist remarks captured on a secretly recorded audiotape. Johnson says Sterling is “living in the Stone Age” and he feels sorry for him. Sterling’s interview with CNN was the first time he has spoken publicly since being banned for life by the NBA.