It’s not about civil rights. He’s all over that map. It’s not about the rule of law or court settlements. It’s not about getting people out of large institutions, since the child and adolescent funding is designed to keep them at home as much as possible. Without it they get stuck in locked adult wards, stuck kids in inappropriate hospital settings. It’s not about preferring older people or minorities, since he is split on the elderly people with developmental disability, and takes the most negative position on the children and adolescent mental health situation — where demographic changes in the state mean that the highest proportion of minorities are being shortchanged.
It’s not even about the money, since the Fernald closure is supposed to be “revenue neutral,” and the Rolland Settlement funding is about triple what he vetoed out of the Rosie D. budget.
It’s not about triage, because many of the people with developmental disability are arguably safer where they are, whereas the children and adolescents with untreated mental illness are a serious risk to themselves and others.
It’s not even about choosing among disabilities, since his budgets which shaped the legislative budgets contained other through-the-bone cuts on both developmental disability (day and respite programs for people living at home) and mental health (clubhouses, really everything for adults but housing and Medicaid matches).
My involvement in these issues really limits my politically acceptable vocabulary for mental failings, but knowing that the governor’s advisors are reasonably well-versed in these issues — other than perhaps Secretary Bigby — I have to think that he is really acting like a… clod! If any of the three potential challengers could get a grip on these issues… the disability community is not huge but we are very highly motivated and spread throughout society, and we have a lot of friends.