PV Dems June 25 Meeting

The theme for this month’s meeting:  Is involuntary psychiatric treatment the solution to the intertwined crises of untreated mental illness, homelessness, and addiction?

Join us for our in-person June club meeting.  PLEASE NOTE, this meeting is a week later due to Father’s Day.  Our meeting starts at 2:30 pm, but join us at 2 pm to chat with other Democrats.  

We are meeting in-person at the Peninsula Center Library Community Room.  Zoom access will be provided for those who cannot attend in-person.  

Our featured speaker is Alex V. Barnard, an assistant professor of sociology at New York University, is the author of Conservatorship:  Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness (expected to be published Sept 2023).  He is often quoted in the LA Times about new legislation, like state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman’s SB 43, which expands the criteria by which people in extreme psychological distress can be detained against their will.

In recent years, politicians and advocates in states like California and New York have sought to expand the use of conservatorships, a legal tool used to force someone deemed “gravely disabled,” or unable to meet their needs for food, clothing, or shelter as a result of mental illness, to take medication and be placed in a locked facility. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with professionals, policy makers, families, and conservatees, Barnard’s talk examines California’s conservatorship system, tracing the conservatorship process from the streets where police encounter homeless people in crisis, the locked wards where people receiving treatment are confined, and the courtrooms where judges decide on conservatorship petitions.  He argues, California’s state government has abdicated authority over this system, leaving the question of who receives compassionate care and who faces coercion dependent on the financial incentives of for-profit facilities, the constraints of under resourced clinicians, and the desperate struggles of families to obtain treatment for their loved ones.


Joining us to speak is Ronson Chu, Senior Project Manager for Homeless and Senior Services at the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG), who is responsible for coordinating the South Bay regions homeless response.  Ronson prioritizes the funding for innovative programs in the South Bay, like the Homeless Court Program, a pilot program that launched in Redondo Beach in 2020, and Client Aid, which supplies motel vouchers, transportation and back rent to prevent evictions.  He’ll be sharing his experience working to house the mentally ill and creating the support programs to keep them housed.

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