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A Mental Health Board update!

*Bonus material: If you want to check out an interview with Supervisor Kennedy where he discusses his views on homelessness - click here - thanks to Robert Hansen from Newsbreak for bringing us this piece!

Today we are breaking down the following:

Consent Item 25: Adoption of the Amended Sacramento County Mental Health Board (MHB) Bylaws (click here for meeting page) from the Sac County BOS meeting on 2/15

This item was brought to the BOS in order to amend the MHB Bylaws for the purpose of establishing a subcommittee of the MHB to serve as an advisory board for the newly developing Wellness Crisis Call Center (formerly known as "Alternatives to 911").

Supervisor Desmond pulled this item off consent (meaning he brought it before the Board to discuss)

I want to understand the nature of this request, the MHB wants to find members to be part of advisory committee to oversee Wellness Crisis Call Center (WCCC)

To which Supervisor Kennedy replied,

words count

saying that this advisory committee is not an overseeing body.

Desmond, apparently still confused, then said,

Ok, I’m just trying to understand the relationship of this body to the WCCC. Bruce [Wagstaff] or Chevon [Kothari] do you have anything?

*Bruce Wagstaff is Deputy County Executive of Sac County, Chevon Kothari is the Director of Health Services for Sac County

Mind you, these local electeds get debriefed on all items from staff in advance of these meetings. So trying to look all cute and confused is really just showing yo’ ass….jus’sayin….

Chevon Kothari did a fine job representing what the Mental Health Board had put forward:

  • Extensive public input into this process

  • How to develop a subcommittee of the MHB that could make recs to MHB & ultimately to the BOS

  • Create a subcommittee which would serve as an advisory board for the WCCC made up of 6 community members & 3 MHB member reps

Community members will be intentionally overrepresented in the advisory board. This will be done in order to bring voices to the table that aren’t typically heard in planning processes such as these.

We want to lift up that there is a lot of planning going into this program, but that it's not just staff & community partners that need to be involved in various parts of the system. We want to make sure that we are developing a non-law enforcement involved response to behavioral health, and this advisory board would bring the much needed community voice into that conversation. It should be noted that the other stakeholders that are looked to include: law enforcement, fire, other public safety…

(see below, a great example of Desmond

reppin' his law enforcement roots)

Desmond, always comin' in hot for law enforcement,

I’m also most interested in making sure we develop a program that helps the most number of people. I’m glad you’re talking to law enforcement, that’s good that you’re also talking to fire & traditional partners that have responded to behavioral health crises in the past.

Chevon replied,

We think most of the crises that we’re going to respond to will not require a law enforcement approach

To which Desmond CONTINUED,

I know that there times in my past when a joint approach would have been very effective, but I know that you’ll be working through that …


Choosing to also emphasize his disregard for community involvement, Desmond said,

Our MHB is large, is there a reason the MHB can’t just select members from the Board for this committee? They have other committees

AKA why even bother with community involvement if we already have the MHB?

Chevon Kothari explained,

We have a very busy Mental health Board – the goal [of pursuing community involvement] is to seek out voices that aren’t currently at the table; voices that we don’t hear from. Those voices are meant to be diverse, in lived experience, community composition...

Desmond reminded us of his good intentions,

I too am very concerned that all the voices are heard, a diverse group


I want to make sure we have good geographical representation throughout the county, not just the City


Kennedy gave us the following, somewhat confusing, statement,

The City of Sacramento is 1/3rd of the population of the County. As the supervisor on the mental health board, you have my commitment moving forward to ensure that we do everything we can to recognize that


Clearly there were lots of great thoughts on this item from Kennedy and Desmond. But, we need to ask an important question.

Why is Ritchie D so interested in this Advisory Committee?

Because it’s an Advisory Committee for a Behavioral Health Crisis Response Program that does NOT include Law Enforcement. Ritchie D’s got three decades of being deep in Law Enforcement, specifically within the California Highway Patrol. Ritchie D also made three appointments to the MHB at the same time that this Alternatives to 911 program started gaining traction.

One of those appointments is a dude who worked in Law Enforcement for almost 20 years (surprise surprise) & who also worked as Ritchie’s campaign assistant. Another appointment is RG who y’all read about in December’s blog - you know, homie dressed like a Proud Boy in his yellow and black plaid who was arguing that the exclusion of law enforcement from the advisory committee for a program that is specifically a non-law enforcement response program for behavioral health crises is “undemocratic”.... Ritchie D’s third appointment to the Mental Health Board is an attorney whose last name is just 1 letter different from Sacramento County’s Deputy County Executive for Social Services, Bruce Wagstaff - any correlation? (insert eye roll here)

When the application for the Advisory Committee becomes available, it will be found on the department’s website (along with monthly updates on program planning) - click here.

Updates will also be reported out at the general Mental Health Board meetings, held the first Wednesday of the month from 6-8pm. Check the Mental Health Board website (click here) for agenda & meeting info.

And as always, stay plugged in to SJPC for the latest & greatest…

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