By Sherman Frederick/Battle Born Media

After decades, and hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain, our touchy-feely neighbors in California are now talking about a “new” solution to chronic homelessness. Although leaders there shroud the concept in euphemistic language, it is actually a very old idea: Incarceration.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he is calling for the mentally ill and drug abusers who refuse help in getting off the streets to be compelled by courts into treatment.

He’s calling it the “Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court. It would provide a framework for the so-called CARE courts to compel people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders into treatment, while also providing participants with supportive housing and wrap-around services.

I’m pretty sure what that means is incarceration, but, you know, in a California sort of way.

Frankly, I think Gov. Newsom is on the right track. You’re never going to clean up homelessness without dealing with drug abuse and mental illness. And you’re never going to get druggies and the mentally unstable to do what is best for themselves unless you make them.

It would work like this: The court orders a tailored plan involving some combination of housing, medication and services, and would offer the support of a full clinical team, as well as a public defender and a “supporter” who could help a participant make care decisions and prepare advanced mental health directives.

Unlike with conservatorships, which can be indefinite, participation would be time limited – one year, with the possibility of an additional one-year extension.

OK, it’s not a gulag system per se. But let’s not kid ourselves, if CARE Courts are going to work, a large number of the homeless now inhabiting California streets will be incarcerated.

I’ll be interested to see how that plays out.

COVID TWISTS AND TURNS

Less than a year ago, our fumbling president misled us when he said we are living in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” but if you get vaccinated you won’t get the COVID.

Yes, he actually said that … and everyone who knows anything about viral infections cringed at his simple-minded – and false – statement.

I won’t beat that dead horse today, because the Biden Administration’s flawed handling of the pandemic is a matter of record for which the Democratic Party will pay dearly in this fall’s midterm elections.

It is important, however, to periodically circle back on the facts as we know them. The key fact this week is that  as good as the vaccines are, they’re not 100% protection.

\That’s a quote from Santa Cruz County Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci, who after a recent study of the Omicron wave uncovered an unsettling trend.

An analysis showed that of COVID-19 deaths in the four deadliest weeks of the Delta and Omicron surges, the number of unvaccinated people who died were nearly identical, and far higher than the totals for the vaccinated. Even so, three times more vaccinated people died during the Omicron peak than during Delta’s peak.

This means that we’re seeing, as one health official said, “some chinks in the armor of vaccines that we didn’t see before.”

This is something you should know.

ONE MORE THING

– You know we live in a madly decadent world when “vanilla” means “plain.”

– If you don’t hear from me, I gave you up for Lent.

– The fact that my entire body cracks like a glowstick whenever I move and yet refuses to actually glow is very disappointing.

That’ll do it for today. Until next week, avoid soreheads, laugh a little and always question authority.

Sherman Frederick is a Nevada Hall of Fame journalist and co-founder of Battle Born Media, a news organization dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. You can reach him by email at shermfrederick@gmail.com.